How to Tell If Grass Is Dead or Dormant (4 Signs & Expert Tips to Bring It Back)
Seeing brown grass on your property can be disheartening, especially if you spend a great deal of time maintaining it. Fortunately, brown grass isn’t always dead. Sometimes it can just be dormant. If you are having difficulty figuring out what is going on with your lawn, keep reading as we list several signs that will enable you to determine the health of your grass, as well as a few tips to help bring it back.
The 4 Signs to Tell if Grass Is Dead or Dormant
1. Resistant or Brittle Blades
A tug test is the simplest and most effective grass testing method. To perform it, grab a few blades of the brown grass in your hand, and try to pull them out. If there is no resistance, the grass is dead. However, it’s likely dormant if the grass is resisting and snapping.
2. Whole Sections or Patches of Brown Grass
Examining your property is an easy way to check for dead grass. You want to determine if the entire yard is brown or only small patches. If the entire yard is brown, it is more likely that the grass is dormant because it’s off-season. However, if only one isolated area is brown, it’s likely that the grass there is dead.
3. Seasonal Grass
Cool-season grass, like Kentucky Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass, can go dormant in the summer when the temperature gets too hot, causing it to become brown. In contrast, warm-season grass, like Bermuda Grass and St. Augustine Grass, will go dormant in winter, when temperatures get cooler.
4. Responsiveness to Water
Frequent watering will help you bring back dormant grass, while dead grass will not respond. Performing routine maintenance on your grass, like scheduled watering, will help the grass better withstand extreme weather conditions and help you notice any problems sooner.
What Causes Dead Grass?
How Long Does It Take Dormant Grass to Turn Green?
If the grass is just going dormant because of high temperatures, watering it might bring it back in a few days. However, even after it comes out of dormancy, it can take 2–4 weeks to turn green again. The roots become active first to hydrate the grass and absorb the nutrients that it needs to turn green and resume growing.
How Often Should I Water My Lawn?
The short answer is that you should water the lawn as often as it needs it, with most requiring about 1 inch per week. However, there are many different types of grass, so following the watering instructions on the seed package will likely yield the best results. If you don’t have these instructions, pay attention to your lawn, and you will likely start to notice slight color variations and other clues, like wilting, that suggest that it’s time to water. Water in the morning, more often when the weather is hot and less frequently when it’s been raining.
The tug test is the best way to tell if your grass is dead or dormant, as dead grass will pull up easily from the ground. You can also usually spot dead grass with the naked eye because it will appear in patches and usually result from drought, bugs, improper watering, or chemicals. If all the grass is brown, it’s likely dormant and will likely return to its colorful self when the weather improves.
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