Your Lawn and Morning Frost

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How to Protect Your Lawn Once Morning Frost Has Hit

Fall is winding down in the northeast, which means homeowners will soon be finished tending to fall leaves. With cold temperatures already arriving in New Jersey and winter only a few short weeks away, waking up to a morning frost will soon become a daily occurrence. At first glance, the frost offers a serene backyard view, but it can be detrimental to your lawn.

When Does Morning Frost Occur?

Morning frost happens overnight when the temperatures drop to dew point, and water condenses on the grass blades. When the temperatures near the ground fall below 32 degrees, the condensation or dew freezes and transforms to frost. This occurrence is referred to as a light frost because the ground isn’t frozen yet, and grass can still grow at this time.

How Does it Affect Grass?

Morning frost is pleasant to look at, but it does damage the grass. Grass needs water to survive and move moisture through the blades to the root on typical days. When a frost occurs, this water is frozen inside the blade, expanding and causing damage to the cell walls. After several light frosts, a lawn can begin to show damage in the way of brown or yellow patches. If warm temperatures don’t return, these patches can die or turn to thatch that needs reseeding once spring arrives.

Tips for Minimizing Lawn Damage from Frost

Luckily, there are steps homeowners can take to minimize damage from a morning frost.

Don’t step on frosty grass.

The grass is at its weakest point when frozen and walking on frosted grass can break the blades, causing permanent damage. If you walk your pets in the morning or go for a walk, check both sides of the house. Check to see if the sun has melted the frost on one side and use sidewalks or a driveway to stand when possible.

Mow later in the day.

If the ground isn’t frozen yet, the grass is still growing and may need to be mowed. Avoid mowing in the hours after a morning frost to prevent further damage to grass blades.

Remove unnecessary items from the yard.

Large items like outdoor furniture or garden hose containers cast a shadow on the grass. In these shaded areas, frost can last for most of the day and prevent the blades from fully recuperating.

Create a windbreak.

The wind is chilly this time of year in New Jersey. When the wind hits frosted grass, it removes any moisture on the blades. When this happens after the ground has frozen, roots don’t have access to water again until spring. Create a windbreak by planting a hedge or building a retaining wall to protect your backyard.

 

Year-round lawn treatments customized to your needs can help your lawn survive through frost and winter weather. Contact a lawn care professional, like Perennial Lawn Care, to learn more about personalized plans that help keep your grass looking its best.

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