CO-Horts Blog

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Mysterious Turf Color: The Cause!

Tony Koski, Extension Turf Specialist

So many good guesses! Deicing salt injury is a very logical guess. It's not the cause of the present injury, but is likely to show up later in the spring - depending on how much more snow we get, and how much more salt is applied to the sidewalks on campus.

The guesses about snowplowing are darn close. This is turf injury that didn't happen recently however - and perhaps I could have been nice and told you that. I saw this late last year, probable in late November?

It is injury caused when the snow on sidewalks was BRUSHED from the walks - not plowed. The turf was a very healthy green when we had our first snow last fall - measurable in depth enough that brushing was used to clear the sidewalks. The brushing of the frozen green turf damaged the leaves to the point that they turned brown within a day of brushing - and have remained so to this point in time.

Excellent guesses everyone! Thanks for playing!


  1. Wow. I didn't realize brushes were used but that makes sense. Great teaser!

  2. Well, we all learned something new! And this was fun!

  3. Is it true that the grass will recover?

  4. Ken....yes, the turf will recover. The discolored leaves are dead, but new leaves and shoots will be grow from the crowns once we get warmer weather. Turf injured by excessive salt accumulation (which may closely resemble the injury seen in my photos) may NOT recover, since high levels of salts in the soil can kill roots and crowns. The bruising caused by brushing of snow and the desiccation caused by salt stress are two totally different types of turf injury.