frost turns grass yellow

Why Does Grass Turn Yellow In Winter?

You meticulously look after your lawn all year making it a beautiful lush green that is the envy of your town.

Then every year the leaves start to fall off the trees and the dread kicks in, winter is coming why does grass turn yellow in winter ‘I look after my lawn perfectly all year’ you say.

The same happens every winter you see all the hard work you have put into your lush green lawn count for nothing as it deteriorates during the winter months.

Grass will turn yellow in the winter due to lack of sunlight and cooler temperatures. This can be especially bad if you live in an area where the grass is under snow for weeks or months over winter. Yellowing will be especially bad if you have warm-season grass but the temperature gets below optimal conditions.

The decline is slow but steady during the winter and you know it’s going to take months to get your lawn back into the condition you love it in which is more lush and green than everyone else’s in the street.

There must be a solution to this constant cycle of working all year to make my lawn beautiful and green only to watch it deteriorate and turn yellow during the winter.

I have investigated this problem so read on to find out what I discovered…

How Much Sunlight Does Grass Require To Stay Healthy?

The answer to this question depends very much on which variety of lawn grass you grow.

For a healthy and vibrant lawn, the grass should receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight however, there are some varieties that can stay healthy with as little as 4 hours direct sunlight every day.

Lots of lawns do have different amounts of shade on them from surrounding trees etc. grass can still grow healthy if the shade on it only limits the direct sunlight by 20% but any more than that and you may have a struggle to keep your lawn growing healthy especially during the winter.

Shade can be a problem because if you have trees surrounding your yard and it isn’t shaded right now it could become too shaded to grow healthy grass in the future.

If you own the trees around your yard then it really isn’t a problem you can simply just prune them or chop them down completely.

If you don’t own the trees around your yard then the only solution is to negotiate with your neighbor or the landowner so that you are able to prune the trees and maintain a healthy lawn.

Check out this article I wrote on 9 reasons and solutions for yellow grass.

Does Frost Turn Grass Yellow?

If you live in an area that has frost during the winter months then I am sure you already know that frost is not good for plants in general.

There are two different types of frost you need to be concerned about light frost only freezes the surface compared to a heavy frost that will freeze the surface and the soil.

When a light frost occurs it will freeze the surface of your lawn and because grass leaves are actually made up mostly of liquid the grass will literally become frozen, this means you should avoid walking on grass that is covered in frost because the grass blades will literally snap and you will damage your lawn.

After a light frost, the roots are still healthy and growing so your lawn should recover quick enough from any damage.

A heavy frost will do more damage to your lawn, this is because it will freeze the roots and if you have the wrong type of grass like a hot climate grass, persistent frost could damage the roots and cause yellow/ brown patches that will eventually die and leave bare patches.

The best tactic is to nurse your lawn through the winter so that you can start to repair it when the spring weather comes back.

Check out my article on the last mow before winter to keep lawns healthy.

Should I Use Fertilizer On My Lawn During The Winter?

If you love your lawn as I do then you will worry about how much damage your beautiful green lawn is going to suffer during the cold winter months.

During the winter months, your lawn will definitely suffer from lack of light and lack of nutrients, especially if you live in an area that will get heavy deep frost or even be under the cover of snow for weeks or months.

Depending on what type of grass you are growing, using fertilizer is not just a good idea but I would highly recommend it.

If you are growing a warm season grass then you definitely should not use a winter fertilizer as during the winter months this type of grass goes dormant, so you don’t want fertilizer to spur new growth just when it should be going to sleep for the winter.

If you are growing a cool season type of grass then using a winter fertilizer is definitely a good idea.

Winter fertilizers are high in potassium as potassium makes plants more tolerant of cold and stress.

The best time to prepare your lawn for winter is during a fall and this is when you should apply the winter fertilizer so you have peace of mind knowing when your lawn is under snow the fertilizer will still be giving it nutrients and your lawn won’t be a sheet of yellow when the snow melts.

What Type Of Grass Is Best For A Long Winter?

If your grass turns yellow during the winter, you may have the wrong type of grass for the area you live in.

If you live somewhere that has a cold and long winter then the only option for you is to grow a cool season grass as these grasses do not need hot weather and can survive a cold winter.

Cool season grasses grow best in areas where the temperature is 60 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 – 24C) most places will have winter weather that is cooler than this but a cool-season grass is really the only option.

Cool season grasses include creeping bentgrass, fine fescue, tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, annual ryegrass, and perennial ryegrass.

Whatever climate you live in and whichever grass you grow on your lawn, like all plants grass does prefer hot weather and lots of sunshine so your grass more than likely will deteriorate during the winter months, this is normal so don’t panic.

The best tactic is to prepare your lawn as best as possible for the winter months and when spring arrives you can put some work into your lawn to make it the lush green grass you want to see.

If you want to know the reasons for grass turning yellow after you cut it check out this article I wrote.

Long Term Solutions For Yellow Grass In Winter

if your grass turns yellow every winter and you are completely fed up with it, there is one long term option you can go for as long as you currently have warm season grass growing on your lawn.

You can overseed your lawn with a grass that will grow during the winter months and help to hide the yellowness of your warm season grass.

The best time to overseed your grass with a cool weather grass seed is during the fall as this will give the seeds some time to sprout before the cold weather hits.

Overseeding your lawn is a simple process, all you do is evenly sprinkle seeds all over your lawn.

After you spread seeds all over your lawn you don’t want them sitting near the surface so take a garden rake and use the flat end and brush it all over your lawn.

This process should make the seeds sink down into the grass near the thatching area and this is where you want the seeds to sprout and start growing.

The cool season grass will cover your hot season grass that turns yellow during the winter months when it doesn’t get enough light or the temperatures drop too cold for it to stay green.

I hope this article will help you out in your quest for green grass all year long.

Leave a comment and let me know if you have any other suggestions.

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