Spring Frost Damage

“What are those yellow spots in my lawn?”

This is a question I have heard a lot in the last few days. At first, these yellow spots look very concerning. However, I can easily explain that it’s a simple act of nature and that any discolored turf will soon recover.

So, what exactly is going on? Just last week we had a quick cold spell and hopefully the last snowfall of the season. The temperatures in Canton, Ohio dipped down into the upper teens and this caused a hard frost on the turf. This has resulted in some areas of turf being burnt, creating yellow and even white patches in the lawn which appear over the next few days. The damage resembles that of a disease or fungus but is actually caused by cold nighttime temperatures in the 20’s and teens.

‘Is this a common issue in this area?” 

Actually, yes. Here in northeast Ohio we usually experience a few hard frosts later in the spring after our lawns and landscape plants have begun to put on new growth. This new, immature growth is more susceptible to such damage than if the lawn had been actively growing for a few weeks. Freshly mowed turf is also prone to such damage. Chances are we will see at least one more frost this spring. If you have mowed your grass just before one hits it is likely you will see some discoloration. Grass that has full sun exposure is more likely to be burnt as well. We usually see a harder frost in these areas versus places in the lawn where there is tree cover that helps block some of the cold moisture in the air from reaching the turf. 

‘What can I do to fix it?” 

The good news is, that, while a bit unsightly, no permanent damage has been done to the lawn. Only the blades of the grass have been harmed and not the roots. These burnt patched should grow out over the course of the next few weeks. As the grass begins to grow and you mow your lawn a few times these spots will lessen until ultimately they have disappeared.