Will frost damage fresh cut grass if I mow right before the season’s first frost? Many of you will face this conundrum at least once in your turf maintenance career.
What to do when your grass has grown long enough to irritate you, but the weather forecast predicts a spell of frost within the next week? Find the answer to this question in this well-written and thoroughly researched guide right underneath.
Will Frost Damage Fresh Cut Grass?
Yes, frost will damage freshly cut grass whenever it comes within a day or two of cutting grass. Grass blades naturally undergo a lot of stress when they are mowed and shortened, in addition, frost does not allow them to recover from this stress and grow back as needed.
– Cutting Before Frost
Whenever your grass blades, you are essentially wounding it in the process. The remaining grass blade is responsible for closing the wound and regrowing the cut part back again. Remember that it needs water and food from the soil, the right soil, air temperature, and plenty of sunlight to heal itself and recover from being cut.
Mowing right before frost is bad because your grass blades will need help to heal themselves. They will undergo additional stress because of the harsh weather conditions. All grass types become dormant at sub-zero temperatures that occur during frost. This means that they barely make the amount of food needed for survival.
In addition, the frost freezes the soil up to a few inches from the surface. Consequently, the grassroots also freeze over and cannot absorb the necessary nutrients and water.
Freshly cut grass during frost is damaged grass at an increased risk of all types of fungal and bacterial infections. The moist and frosty conditions turn the roots rotten, and the blades become badly discolored.
– Reasons To Obstain from Mowing
Winter is the worst and the most useless time to mow the grass. Warm-season grasses go dormant as early as late summer and do not grow any further.
You will not need to mow these grasses, such as Bermuda or Centipede, all through winter until next spring. Cold-season grasses only become dormant if frost arrives and continues to grow, albeit at a very slow pace.
Even if you feel like your cool-season grass needs a cut down in winter, we urge you to wait. This is especially of the weather forecast predicts frost anytime within the next week. If you must, give your overgrown lawn a quick cut at least one week before the first winter fall is predicted.
Keep the mower blades at higher settings because cutting grass too low during a period of dormancy is harmful too. Only cut off one-third of the whole length of the grass leaf during a single mowing. The remaining grass blades need at least two-thirds length to survive and regrow.
– Consequences of Frost To Freshly Cut Grass
Frost can not only harm the grass, but it will for sure kill freshly mowed grass when temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, as the grass cannot function and develop itself in these cold conditions. Note that the water running through the grass roots and blades will also freeze over.
The freezing conditions will cause the cells to rupture and die. However, the damage is more severe if the frost lasts more than a few days making a recovery difficult, because the grass is too weak and fragile to get the energy and grow.
Note that you will be able to see your grass turning dormant or dying right in front of your eyes. The affected grass loses its green color and turns yellow or brown. Instead of plump, the grass blades and leaves turn wispy and dry. Brown patches of dead grass from all over the turf, indicating how easily the grass pulls up through the roots.
In addition to the given, the frost will also damage fresh cut grass by exposing it to fungal or bacterial rot. Your grass continues to rot under the frost all winter long. However, when the frost thaws in late winter, you will be greeted by an entirely rotten and dead turf.
– Protecting Grass from Frost
If frost arrives soon after you have cut your grass, then there is little you can do on an immediate basis. Since your grass will be covered by frost, the least you can do is leave it undisturbed. Try not to walk over it, nor allow any other person or pet to enter your lawn and turf until spring.
Even healthy grass becomes dormant during winter and should not be fertilized. Give your lawn a thorough inspection as soon as the frost period is over, beginning of spring. All dead patches must be pulled up by roots using a hand or any appropriate hand tool.
You can distinguish between dead and dormant grass by how difficult it is to uproot it by hand from the ground. For the rest of the frost-damaged grass, you will need a fertilizer high in nitrogen. Go for a liquid fertilizer because you want to kickstart the growth and healing as soon as possible.
Remember to dilute the liquid fertilizer to at least one-third of its strength to protect your already fragile grass from getting chemical burns. Always water the grass first to hydrate it, then pour fertilizer over the whole lawn as evenly as possible.
– Lawn Care During Frost
Just because your lawn has frozen over doesn’t mean you can leave your frosty grass alone. You will still have to take some important care steps to ensure the grass grows back healthier than ever in the spring.
The first thing to do is to aerate the soil because the soil becomes compact over time due to frequent use. The additional layer of frost that forms over the soil surface during winter reduces airflow to the grass and its roots even more. Frozen soil will be hard to aerate by hand, so it’s best to borrow an aerator from your handy neighbor.
Adding salt to the snow build-up in the driveway and the sidewalks makes sense from a practical point of view. There is no need to use salt on frozen grass because this salt will seep into the soil with water and mess with the pH of the soil.
When it’s cold but not frosty enough, winter is the ideal time to lime your grass and adjust its pH when needed. Grasses naturally need a pH around neutral to slightly alkaline to grow to their maximum potential.
When To Mow The Grass In Spring After Frost?
To start mowing grass in spring once the temperatures consistently exceed 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Overall, to elaborate, this means you must wait for a couple of weeks after the frost has thawed before cutting, and the weather has gotten warmer.
The grass must be allowed to recover from the winter frost by consistent watering, applying fertilizer, and exposure to warm sunlight before you cut it short.
Timing is the key factor that many tend to overlook when mowing grass. You cannot cut your grass any time of the day or year just like that. The right temperature to cut grass is anything above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
When the mercury dips below 40 degrees in your region, you must know it’s time to pack up your mower. You will experience a rapid growth spurt for warm and cold grass, mostly in spring and early summer. Warm-season grasses carry on growing taller even during the hot summer months.
This means that mid-spring to late summer is when you will carry out the most mowing without any damage. If your region receives harsh cold winters, watch the weather forecast from mid-fall onwards. The time of the day when you cut grass is of utmost importance as well.
In addition, wet grass blades should never be cut because this only damages them and prevents healthy regrowth. It would be optimal if you waited until the grass was completely dry and no remains of dewdrops were present. Noon or late afternoon is the best time to carry out a grass mowing session, but remember to wear sunscreen while at it.
– When Is Temperature Too Cold For Mowing Grass?
40 degrees Fahrenheit is the lower limit of temperature when it comes to mowing grass. Many experts claim that you need to wait until temperatures rise upto 50 degrees Fahrenheit daily for several days at least. At temperatures below 32 degrees, the grass will not even survive.
Here is a brief conclusion to this article regarding damage to frozen grass after mowing.
- Yes, frost will surely damage freshly mowed grass if it occurs within a week of mowing.
- When the frost is over and spring arrives, the damaged grass will appear yellow and wispy with patches of brown dead grass.
- Winter is the worst time to mow any grass because cutting grass below 40 degrees Fahrenheit harms regrowth.
- If the grass has been damaged by frost after cutting, you must wait at least a week into spring and then water and fertilize it to revive it.
This article covered extensive ground on how frozen grass gets damaged when mowed right before the frost. After going through this, you will always avoid mowing your grass at the wrong time.
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