Cold injury to warm season turf (01-09-06)
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Many of us enjoyed rather mild temperatures through the holidays, but we may experience some harsher weather over the next couple of months. What will these temperature changes do to our lawns and other managed turf areas established with warm season turf species?
To this point I am optimistic that the turf had, or has, a good chance of going dormant before extremely severe temperatures do much permanent damage. Some above ground plant tissue may be lost, but roots and rhizomes, or stolons, will remain alive and healthy.
The danger of winter kill is more critical in early spring if we have severe low temperatures after the turf has broken dormancy.
I would focus my attention now on plans to eliminate poor drainage areas, new landscaping, etc. and think about the benefits this cold may bring in regards to insect, disease, and weed control. If you do experience times of frozen turf it would be best to avoid any excessive traffic on it until it thaws.
Published January 9, 2006
Dr. Wayne Wells is an Extension Professor and Turfgrass Specialist. His mailing address is Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mail Stop 9555, Mississippi State, MS 39762. email@example.com