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: How were fossil tracks made by Early Triassic swimming reptiles so well preserved?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

In Lebanon, a garden blooms on former 'trash mountain'

Dec 11, 2014

Lebanon's southern city of Sidon is best known for its Crusader castle and ancient market, but a more modern landmark has marred its Mediterranean shoreline for decades—a towering "mountain" of trash.

Climate capers of the past 600,000 years

Nov 17, 2014

If you want to see into the future, you have to understand the past. An international consortium of researchers under the auspices of the University of Bonn has drilled deposits on the bed of Lake Van (Eastern ...

Recommended for you

Predicting human crowds with statistical physics

Feb 27, 2015

For the first time researchers have directly measured a general law of how pedestrians interact in a crowd. This law can be used to create realistic crowds in virtual reality games and to make public spaces safer.

Bribery 'hits 1.6 billion people a year'

Feb 27, 2015

A total of 1.6 billion people worldwide – nearly a quarter of the global population – are forced to pay bribes to gain access to everyday public services, according to a new book by academics at the Universities of Birmingham ...

Broken windows thesis springs a leak

Feb 27, 2015

The broken windows theory posits that minor misdemeanors, like littering or graffiti spraying, stimulate more serious anti-social behavior. LMU sociologists now argue that the idea is flawed and does not ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.