October 23,
  With the Maryland SoccerPlex 
A weekly newsletter to keep you informed about EVERYTHING Turf at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
This week we will discuss a nightmare in the turf world...frost!
Winter is coming....
Normally when you hear the worst frost around this time of year you grab a sheet to cover your flowers, but don't normally do anything for the grass. Well here at the SoccerPlex the grass is our flower! While we would love to be able to put turf blankets out every time a frost is expected, it's just not possible with the vast number of fields we have. So, what do we do when a frost hits? It really depends on the amount of frost we get, and the type of field we are dealing with. Being a warm season grass, fields 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17 are all susceptible to more damage from even a light frost because they need the warm soil to thrive. The worst thing to do when there is frost, is walk and run on the grass. This can damage and break the leaf of the grass, which is why often we have to delay games in the morning due to frost. Plant damage is also possible on cool-season fields which is why they too, should not be walked, or played on until the temperatures have risen and the frost is gone.
How do you prepare for it?
Often times when there is a frost warning we know we will have to delay games to allow the air to warm. However, throughout the week there are tactics that are used to help protect turf and prepare for the impending frost. The most obvious is cover a field in turf blankets. The turf blanket approach is used mainly for warm-season grasses due to their higher sensitivity to cooler temperatures. The blankets are able to keep the heat and moisture in the plant to prevent the frost from building on the turf plant. But this tactic can be extremely time consuming as it takes about an hour depending on weather conditions to put out turf blankets. With 21 total grass fields, that can add up rather quickly!  One tactic that can be used is running our irrigation as the sun is rising in the morning.  The water is warmer than the frost and air, and assists in getting the frost knocked down sooner.  This strategy needs to be closely monitored, though, because if soil and air temperatures are low enough, the water can freeze and make things worse.
Frost or freeze - what's the difference?
Often times the words frost and freeze are used interchangeably, however they are two very different things. A frost only affects the plant above ground, while a freeze can freeze the ground itself. A frost can happen when the air temperature is above freezing still. A freeze happens when the temperature drops below freezing and it is possible to have a freeze without a frost! Freezes can be much deadlier to plants because it can freeze even the root of the plant, which can kill the plant completely off. In the turf world, a frost is much better then a freeze!
Next Week
Tune back in next week for another round of Turf Talk!
Ask Us Your Questions
Do you have a burning turfgrass related question? Ask us! We will be happy to answer it in future iterations of Turf Talk - just email us at info@mdsoccerplex.org, subject line Turf Talk Question.
Many Thanks to Fine Earth Landscape, Inc. for 
Their Continued Support of the Maryland SoccerPlex.

Learn more about Fine Earth here.