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The P&PDL Picture of the Week
for 21 October 2002

Frost Damage on Turfgrass

Glenn Hardebeck, Turfgrass Research Agronomist, Agronomy Department

Pictures provided by Zac Reicher, Turfgrass Extension Specialist, Agronomy Department

Our first frosty mornings have arrived this fall and with them come the yearly ritual of bringing potted plants in or covering frost sensitive plants at night. Luckily there is no need to cover the entire lawn. Our cool season turfgrasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, etc. are able to cope with the morning frost as long as we stay off of the frosted turf until the sun has melted the frost. Any traffic on frosted turf, whether wheel or foot, can cause the turf leaves to blacken and eventually brown out. It is commonly believed that ice crystals are forced into the leaves under foot and in effect poke the plant cell walls full of holes. While spring frost damage will usually recover after several mowings, fall damage may sometimes be visible into the early spring making it wise to use the sidewalk and driveway during the chilly fall mornings.

Click on the small image to view a larger image.

Golf cart traffic before the frost has melted off

Footprints from the morning paper delivery

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Last updated: 18 October 2002/amv
The Plant & Pest Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University