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Preparing for Early Fall Freeze for Kansas city Landscape

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Frosted Grass and Leaves

For your plants — the transition into winter is a dramatic and often sudden one that is dictated by the first frost or freeze. As the caretaker of plants, there is very little you need to do in order to protect your plants from a frost or freeze unless you are simply trying too eek out a few more days/weeks before the inevitable end.

This may be true if we have a particularly early frost or freeze. Most plants can be best protected by erecting a tent around a plant. The ideal material for the tent is a thick insulating cloth that covers the plant completely all the way to the ground. It is important NOT to use plastic because it does not insulate well and can further damage by trapping moisture close to the plant therefore increasing damage caused by forming frost crystals.

Many of the plants we love to plant in the fall are chosen especially because they are fairly frost tolerant. Flowers such as pansy, kale, ornamental cabbage, Hardy Mums are all frost tolerant and can extend the beauty of your garden by several weeks. A complete list of frost tolerant plants

Your lawn will not be so strongly affected by the frost. Its correlation with lowering soil temperatures will have an effect but the actual grass tissue will likely not be harmed by the frost in any way. The only caveat to this is that if you walk on frosted turf you can damage the grass blades and they will turn brown if conditions are just right. This is because when you step on the turf while frost is on the grass, you can explode the frozen tissue causing it to die away. This is just cosmetic damage but can stay visible for a long time until next Spring when new growth replaces the killed tissues.

My primary suggestion when dealing with fall frost is to allow nature to decide when its time for this years growing season will end — knowing some seasons will be longer and other will be shorter.

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3 Responses to “Preparing for Early Fall Freeze for Kansas city Landscape”

  1. Mike Allmon Says:

    The grass tissue doesn’t”explode” when you step on it, the jagged molecular formation of frozen H2O causes it to tear the tissue. Also frost causes warm season grasses like Bermuda and Zoysia to go into total dormancy and turn brown. I would call that a substantial effect.

  2. Denny Cawhee Says:

    You say “effected” in the third paragraph when it should say “affected”- aren’t you a third grade teacher????

  3. Jeff Hamons Says:

    Thank you both for reading my posts critically and carefully.

    Denny: You are absolutey right — I used the wrong for m of the word and have editied it. As I tell my students often – even teachers make mistakes.

    Mike: I think we are essentially saying the same thing — However, your words are a better description. When I have looked at the cells under a microscope after frost damage they look like popped balloons to me — hence the explosion term used.

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