Frost is inevitable at temperatures below 0 degrees. Whether you experience a little snowfall or just extremely cold weather, your lawn can still experience light frost. Light or heavy, frost can bring damage to your lawn. It makes the grass brittle thus, making it susceptible to damage. The question is will frost damage fresh cut grass?
After an artificial freeze testing conducted at Oklahoma State University, grasses vary in their freezing tolerance not only between warm-season and cold-season species but also on how they were propagated.
This means there is no telling whether your lawn can protect itself from frost damage or not based on what specie it is. The bottom line is, frost will eventually occur in your grass since it depends on the weather and temperature rather than the grass type.
Frost can be a problem when it comes to mowing. There is a lot of debate on the perfect time to mow before winter and after the cold season. Cutting your grass too late before the winter or too soon after can have a negative impact on how your lawn will grow in spring.
In this article, we give you a quick rundown on the best time to mow your grass, how frost can damage your turf, and how to lessen frost damage as much as possible.
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What’s the Best Temperature to Mow Grass?
Proper grass care doesn’t only mean what you need to do to maintain it. You also have to consider when. The appropriate timing in cutting grass could spell the difference between a lavish lawn to a dead one. So, make sure that the time and temperature are right before you trim your lawn.
The best temperature to mow grass is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Aside from the temperature, you also have to make sure that the grass is dry – not wet or too damp or moist – so it won’t get damaged when you mow.
Never trim your lawn when the temperature is too rigid and when the grass is wet, especially from melted snow. Grass blades can easily break when you do so.
Will Frost Damage Fresh Cut Grass?
We mentioned above that cutting the grass right after winter can damage it. But will frost damage fresh cut grass? Yes, it does, and it can be as damaging as cutting right after winter.
While cutting your grass before winter can be helpful, but it shouldn’t be directly right before the first frost falls. Check on the weather forecast on when you’ll possibly start to experience snow and schedule your last mow of fall a week before that.
Just imagine that fresh cut grass is like having an open wound. When cut grass is more susceptible to damage that way. When frost starts to cover freshly cut grass, expect that it will become damaged especially in colder months.
So, make sure you cut your grass a few days or up to a week before you are aware of potential warnings of the first frost.
Is It Okay to Cut Grass After Frost?
There is no specific time frame as to how many days after frost, it’s safe to cut grass. Partly, it’s a matter of judgment. Primarily, it’s on the temperature and weather.
As mentioned earlier, the best temperature to mow grass is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. You can wait at least when the ground temperature is above the freezing point already.
Aside from the temperature, you would have to use your judgment and check your turf’s condition for mowing. Make sure that it has thawed and that the snow has completely melted. If you are not quite sure about this, then wait a bit longer and see if the turf is almost back to normal.
Also, check the grass blades. Not only should it be ‘unfrozen’ or without snow, but it should be dry enough for mowing. Wet grass is not a good time to mow grass for a number of reasons.
How to Protect Grass from Frost?
Frost forms when the moisture on the grass’s blades starts to freeze because of the air temperature. When this happens, it dehydrates the leaves and makes them brittle. This is why it is not advisable to mow the lawn when there’s frost.
So, how can we protect grass from frost?
As mentioned, the grass is brittle during the frost. To prevent any frost damage, reduce physical trauma. Don’t step on it or let anything pass through it.
You can also fertilize your lawn in late fall. You can use Safer Brand Lawn Restore. This can give your grass’s roots more strength and can nourish your lawn long enough to sustain the entire winter. The last bit of nutrients you give your yard before winter must focus on strengthening the root system since it is responsible for absorbing and distributing nutrients to the grass.
Aerate your soil before winter. It can help in water distribution and irrigation during the cold weather.
It also helps if you remove weeds from your lawn before winter starts. This includes grass clippings from your last mow. Any organic material left on your lawn only makes it susceptible to fungi.
Caring for Your Lawn in Winter
When you live in a place where you experience extreme cold, your lawn will experience frost. There may be ways to protect the lawn from it, but it’s not a 100% assurance that your grass will be unharmed after the winter.
Just make sure to have it trimmed before winter comes and not too close to the first snowfall. Then, it is best just to leave your grass as it is during the winter. After all, your lawn has its natural mechanism to protect itself during the harsh cold when they go dormant. Plus, grass usually grows slower in cold temperatures, so you won’t have to worry about it becoming too long.
Be patient and wait for the cold season to be over. After that, you can tend to your lawn and make it look good again for spring.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.