The grass is greener after a cold winter

Jan 25, 2006

We may well be shivering through an unusually chilly winter, but the dip in temperature is not all bad news, at least for your lawn. Researchers at Harper Adams University College, Shropshire, believe a cold winter leads to a better crop of summer grass.

Dr Peter Kettlewell, a crops specialist at the university college, says grass growth in the summer varies greatly from year to year because of differences in the amount of water in the soil. The team he has headed has discovered that a cold winter produces higher levels of moisture, leading to a better crop, while warm winters reduce levels and create a less lavish lawn.

Dr Kettlewell has produced his findings in the latest edition of Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences, alongside fellow team members Jenny Easey, David Stephenson (Reading University) and Paul Poulton (Rothamsted Research).

He said: “Recently, summer weather over much of the UK has been shown to be linked to a climate pattern the previous winter, known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). After studying a long term field experiment at Rothamsted in Hertfordshire, we have discovered that this winter climate pattern is correlated with grass growth the following summer. This is because the higher the NAO index in winter (which gives a warm winter), the drier the soil in summer, leading to less grass growth.”

The findings will be of direct interest to farmers, gardeners, landscape designers and householders.

Source: Harper Adams University College

Explore further: More than half of biology majors are women, yet gender gaps remain in science classrooms

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fear not the Moon, Perseids always a great show

Aug 11, 2014

Get ready for the darling of meteor showers this week—the Perseids. Who can deny their appeal? Not only is the shower rich with fiery flashes of meteoric light, but the meteors come in August when the weather's ...

ESA image: Mount Kenya from orbit

Jun 06, 2014

Mount Kenya, the second-highest mountain in Africa, is pictured in this image from Japan's ALOS satellite from 25 February 2011.

Recommended for you

Modern population boom traced to pre-industrial roots

5 hours ago

The foundation of the human population explosion, commonly attributed to a sudden surge in industrialization and public health during the 18th and 19th centuries, was actually laid as far back as 2,000 years ...

Researcher looks at the future of higher education

5 hours ago

Most forecasts about the future of higher education have focused on how the institutions themselves will be affected – including the possibility of less demand for classes on campus and fewer tenured faculty members as ...

Now we know why it's so hard to deceive children

6 hours ago

Daily interactions require bargaining, be it for food, money or even making plans. These situations inevitably lead to a conflict of interest as both parties seek to maximise their gains. To deal with them, ...

User comments : 0