Did Frost Really Cause That?
We experienced our first significant frost overnight last night. Frost forms when the temperature of the grass surface cools to a temperature that is below freezing, and is colder than the dewpoint of the air. Water vapor in the air provides the moisture needed for the frost to form. The thickest coating of frost typically occurs when temperatures are closer to 32 degrees, because colder air cannot hold as much moisture.
Tender plants need to be protected from the frost, particularly any of your summer blooming plants that you may be attempting to keep through the winter. What about your lawn? Is there a danger to our warm season grasses such as bermuda, zoysia, centipede and St. Augustine? Our impending frost is not a danger to your grass, but it will leave a lasting effect.
Depending on the severity of the frost, you will notice either a leopard print coloration, or most of your turf will be brown following the frost. This is normal for our warm season grasses. During colder weather, our lawns go dormant which we notice as a brown color. When the first frost is light, you sometimes see a leopard print across your turf, which may make you think some strange disease has attacked your lawn. Do not be alarmed as the pattern is normal.
As an extra precaution, it is good to stay off your lawn until the frost dissipates. Following a heavy frost, the grass blades can become frozen and brittle. Walking across the lawn or driving any sort of equipment across it can break off the leaf blades. That is extra stress that your turf does not need. Hopefully, you have allowed your grass to grow a little bit taller as the temperatures have dropped. The extra leaf blades can have an insulating effect for your grass and its root system.