Can you mow the lawn when it is frosty?
We are all aware of seeing 'Jack Frost' on the lawns in the winter mornings. Usually we are freezing our little fingers off whilst scraping it from the windscreen of the car. Frost is actually frozen droplets of 'dew' that has frozen over night on a cold surface.
What you may not be so aware of is that following continued nights of sub zero night time temperatures that this 'air frost' will actually get into the soil making it hard to walk on becoming 'ground frost'.
Despite common belief, turf grasses are tough little plants that are able to usually withstand the severity of the winter and the stresses that this period brings with it. If you have fertilised your lawn throughout the year to give it a fighting chance over the winter months, then give yourself a pat on the back. If you have not, be kind to your lawn and plan to follow this advice next year, your lawn will become so much better.
Winter time is a taxing time for lawn care when careful consideration whould be given to winter foot traffic and winter lawn care techniques.
If the frost has gone into the ground - this is where the natural soil moisture in the root zone and sub soil is freezing. Try to keep people off the lawn because as at the point where the frozen root zone meets the non frozen soil underneath, your pressure on the soil can cause a shearing effect of the frozen/not frozen meeting point. The two layers of soil will be moving left and right against each other like two sheets of glass moving against each other, and it is common to cause 'root break' where the deeper roots in the non frozen part of the soil get broken off when the upper soil profile slides around.
Professional Turf Managers are fully aware of the problems associated with root break and frost in the ground. This is why if you are a golf player, you will suddenly find yourself on a 'winter green'. It is not that you are unable to go on the surface of the normal golf green as the night time frost will be off the grass surface by around 10.00am if in a sunny position - it is because the ground is frozen and the Course Manager does not want to cause untold damage to the playing surface as no grass roots equates to shallow rooted grasses and no grass.
Over the winter months, do not neglect the lawn. Make sure that all leaves are cleared up so that they do not smother the turf grasses and keep an eye out for lawn diseases such as Fusarium Disease.
A little glimmer of hope that spring will soon be around the corner and then you must consider getting a lawn out of winter. In the meantime, I am off for a Mince Pie!