As the unpredictable great British weather is in full swing throwing up snowstorms and freezing temperatures at the drop of a hat, it is more important than ever to be prepared to avoid sporting pitches becoming frozen and the disappointment of cancelling fixtures.

Frosted GrassWhat is frost?

Ground frost occurs when the water vapour in the air freezes and condenses onto the surface of grass.  During situations when the ground cools quicker than the air, a ground frost can occur without an air frost.  A grass frost is when surfaces such as concrete or road surfaces don’t experience a frost, due to their better ability at holding onto any warmth but the more fragile structure of grass courses it to freeze. According to the Met Office “It is possible for a grass frost to occur in late spring or even early summer when the risk of more wide-spread frosts has disappeared”.

Damage caused by frost

If you walk on a frosted grass surface you can damage the grass by shearing the individual blades. The frozen outer coating will break and in doing so the softer material within becomes damaged. A fungal disease called snow mould can also occur once snow that has settled on grass starts to thaw. “This disease is caused by the fungus Microdochium nivale (formally Fusarium nivale). It is one of the most damaging diseases of turf grasses” The Royal Horticultural society

Prevention

Frost covers are the most effective way of protecting against ground and grass frost. The covers work by trapping warm air under them to raise the temperature a few degrees which prevents frost from forming.Roller Frost Sheet

Stuart Canvas frost covers can be manufactured as a single skin, double skin or even as a triple skin depending on the level of protection required.  They are manufactured from a 130gsm material and have reinforced hems and eyelets to give the cover longevity.  The covers are available as ‘flat sheets’ or can come on an ‘inflatable roller’. The rollers require less labour and allow the frost covers to be deployed quickly and easily.  These frost covers also help to retain heat when used on a heated pitch system.

As well as supplying frost covers to many of the top football clubs across the UK, Stuart Canvas also supply made to measure covers to racecourses and equestrian centres. Stuart Canvas have developed an equestrian frost cover that allows the grass to breathe while the cover is on the ground and will protect the grass from around -4°C.