Freeze Damage and Grass

News flash, we're in the middle of winter. Which means there's not much to do outside. However, it's never too cold to learn about your lawn and landscape. This blog goes over, god forbid, what happens if we ever hit freezing temperatures in Central Florida and what that would mean for our lawns.

Your lawn is probably brown right now, which is no big deal. It's normal. Turf grass goes dormant in the winter. However, if we get a hard freeze, your grass may not come back.

A hard freeze is when temperatures are under 28 degrees for at least three hours. Lucky for us, they are rare. It's been three years since the thermometer hit that low in Tampa Bay, and before that, it last happened in 2011.

A hard freeze can damage turf grass. Blades may initially appear wilted and then turn to a whiteish or brown color. After that, your lawn may look more like a mat and smell bad.

Excess foot and vehicle traffic worsens the effects of cold damage, so stay off damaged turf until the soil and plants have completely thawed.
Give your lawn some time to recover before mowing, and when you do mow, be sure to cut the grass to the highest recommended height for your specific type. Cutting the grass too short could make it harder for your lawn to recover from cold weather damage.

If you think you may have cold damage, take the plug test. Dig out small plugs of grass with roots and plant them in a pot. Place the pot in a warm area that gets lots of sunlight and wait. If you see growth, you're fine. If not, you may have cold damage to deal with in the spring.

Luckily, a hard freeze rarely destroys an entire lawn, just sections. You can fix that by planting plugs in the damaged areas.

Remember, not all brown grass is dead grass. Keep an eye on the weather, and hope the temperatures don't drop below freezing. If they do, don't worry too much. A healthy lawn can take it.

Speaking of a healthy lawn, how does your lawn look? ELT Landscape services dozens of homes and businesses across Central Florida. The best defense against cold temperatures, weeds, and pests is a well-maintained and healthy lawn. We do that by caring for your property all year long. Our professional crews will take care of your lawn in the spring, summer, and fall, so it's prepared for winter. Contact us today for a free estimate.
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