Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How Does Turfgrass Prepare For Winter?

All plants develop a tolerance or hardiness to cold temperatures. That hardiness serves as a defense against freezing. Turf plants develop hardiness by storing carbohydrates in cells found in crown and root tissues. The higher concentrations of these materials act as antifreeze that prevents ice crystals from forming within the cells. Moisture content in the plant tissues also decreases during the hardening process, and cell walls and membranes undergo changes that improve their ability to tolerate ice crystals. The hardening process begins in late summer with the onset of cooler temperatures and shorter days and can continue through early winter. Maximum cold-temperature hardiness is obtained after the turf has been exposed to sub-freezing temperatures.