A question from a client this week, relative to the uncommon snow and freezing temperatures and potential harm to lawns. “Will it hurt?”
Well, it is a good question because we’re not accustomed to this much snow and 8 degree temps before Thanksgiving.
The answer: Typically, no. It will send a signal to the plant to stop growing and go into dormancy, but as far as damage to the plant…none!
Except…try not to walk, or drive equipment, on areas where you don’t want “winter burn” marks for the rest of the dormant season. Until the ground underneath actually freezes, and hardens, the “green” in your lawn will still be there until the typical winter “frost line” despite the effects of a short-term freeze.
In addition, when the snow leaves and temperatures moderate next week, if you haven’t given your lawn a fall feeding of nitrogen now would be an even-better-than-normal time to do it.
That nitrogen will soak in and be absorbed by your plants’ roots, stored over the winter, and they will come out stronger and healthier next spring, despite the impact of an early pre-dormant freeze.
So no, there is no danger of permanent damage from this week’s snow and cold. Just tell your mailman not to make a path from the sidewalk to your front porch.
And if you haven’t fed your lawn yet this fall…next week would be a great time to do it.