Your Lawn and Freezing Temperatures

January 15th, 2021

Florida doesn’t experience cold weather very often, so you may not be familiar with the lawn care necessary in the face of freezing temperatures. 

If the low temperatures hitting the Sunshine State have started to impact your St. Augustine lawn,  it’s important to learn how to address. You may have noticed your lawn browning at least a little and reverting into a dormant state. This is all normal for this time of year and to be expected when experiencing the low temperatures we have had recently. Come springtime, your lawn should rebound and begin producing new green growth. But when hard freezes hit, your turfgrass may be injured. If temperatures suddenly fall below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, your lawn may be permanently damaged. The grass may initially appear wilted and then turn to a whitish-grey or brown color. It may mat to the ground and smell putrid. 

Excess foot and vehicle traffic may worsen the effects of cold damage, so stay off damaged turf until the soil and plants have completely thawed. 

Wait for the sun to rise high in the sky and the temperature to rise before stepping on the grass. Frozen blades are brittle and bruise or break easily. Water the lawn to the depth of one inch in a day or two, as it dries out. Freezing crystallizes moisture that carries the carbohydrates produced by photosynthesis in the leaves. Hydration plummets because those crystals sit on leaf surfaces and evaporate in the warming morning air. 

Give your lawn some time to recover before mowing. When you do mow, be sure to cut the grass to the highest recommended height for your specific type. Cutting the grass too short could make it harder for your lawn to recover from cold weather damage.