Frost on the Pumpkin

www.killdeerfarm.com
I worked at a club a few years back in Sun City and the Pro, Tom would call me up in the mornings when it would actually get to freezing and say, "There's a little frost on the pumpkin, huh."  I always think of that saying as the weather begins to get a little colder.

During the times of cold winter weather we will need to delay traffic on the turf until frost is melted. We want to avoid frost damage, because recovery is very slow this time of year. Damage from a cart or a walker can take weeks to recover. The damage will start out purple in color and turn to a straw brown as the leaves begin to dry.

www.villagelinksofglenellyngrounds.blogspot.com
I like to use the analogy of a piece of glass shattering, when I explain frost damage. When the leaf blade of the plant is frozen and becomes crushed by a tire or a shoe it is basically like a piece of glass shattering into many pieces. Microscopically when the leaf blade sustains the damage the cells shatters into pieces. The pieces move through the plant destroying cells in its path. Once the plant begins to thaw the plant fluid leaks out and the leaf blade and will look water soaked and purple. This is the grass basically bleeding out.  The leaf blade is now dead and will turn brown. Rarely does this damage affect the crown of the plant so the plant itself is not dead. The problem is that growth is slowed during cold weather, which makes for a slow and painstaking recovery.

With that being said with my turf nerdy twang, we ask that walkers and cart traffic avoid turf while it is frozen to protect the grass. If there are any questions about frost and how we make the decision to delay golf please contact me.

Justin C. Ruiz, CGCS
justinr@indiansummergolf.com

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