With most of the eastern side of Australia being blasted from an arctic freeze, one of the biggest things venues now have to worry about is frost damage.

Most turf used on sporting fields is tolerant to some degree, but when extreme weather conditions hit, it is worth understanding the cause and effect when grass starts to look damaged.

Frost itself is caused when the ground cools down to a temperature lower than the air next to the surface.  The moisture or dew that blankets the turf is caused by the water vapor in the air. When this water vapor turns into ice crystals on the grass, it causes the photosynthesis to slow down which dehydrates and damages the cells.
When turf is frost damaged it will be very obvious through the appearance of yellow or brown patches throughout the turf. 

How can you prevent frost damage?
There is not much you can really do to prevent frost damage unless you blanket the entire area.  However, you can help your lawn by making it as healthy as possible to increase it’s chances of a full and speedy recovery. Here are some tips:

  • If you are aware of a cold front coming through, heavily water your turf to help it’s hydration.
  • Ensure you have a proper maintenance plan in place including regular fertilising and mowing – the healthier the turf the better it will fair throughout frost.
  • If a heavy frost has appeared overnight and has turned ice-like, turn a sprinkler system on to help the frost in dissipating throughout the lawn and not in concentrated patches.
  • Keep off the grass when there is a frost coating the surface as the blades are frozen and this causes damage.
  • If you are in an area that is prone to seasonal frost, chose a turf that is suitable and resilient for that climate.