Winter Kill - 2018

January 22, 2018

University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture 
Turfgrass Science Program ( – Turf Tips


The winter of 2017-2018 has been one of the coldest in recent memory and could impact warm-season turfgrasses across the state come spring. Normally, we are most concerned about winter injury in the northern half of the state, but extreme low temperatures have been experienced across the state this year. Even as far south as Texarkana, minimum temperatures in the single digits were observed over the last month and those extreme low temperatures were present for several consecutive days.

Temperature minimums across Arkansas


December 2017

January 2018


minimum air temperatures

Bella Vista

7 °F

-2 °F

Little Rock

15 °F

7 °F


13 °F

7 °F


23 °F

6 °F


These extreme low temperatures are likely to cause some winter injury on many of our warm-season grasses, especially in areas that are most prone to winterkill. This includes areas being maintained at very low mowing heights (ex. - putting greens, collars, tees), north-facing slopes, high-traffic areas, and areas that are experiencing some shade stress.

Back in 2010, Drs. Richardson and Patton put together a very nice, comprehensive, four-part Turf Tip  on winterkill:

Part I: Predicting the damage: What causes winterkill and how can we estimate our losses?
Part II: Preparation and recovery: What should you do or not do this spring to help your turf?
Part III: Planning and planting improved cultivars for a better future.
Part IV: Practices to enhance winter survival.

Those tips will are still relevant today and I encourage you to read through them.  Let’s hope things warm up soon and that our warm-season grasses come through okay.  However if they don’t, those tips will help you deal with the consequences of this severe winter weather.

Here’s to warmer weather!

Doug Karcher and Mike Richardson