Deciphering Between Dead and Dormant Grass

Deciphering Between Dead and Dormant Grass

You have done everything for your lawn, from mowing to fertilizing, and there are still brown spots on the grass. When the turf starts to brown, it could signify that there are problems retaining nutrients and water in the soil. In some cases, your grass is not getting enough water or food. However, brown grass is not an automatic death sentence for your lawn. It might be entering a dormant stage, especially if you are in the middle of a hot summer season.

Does Grass Go Dormant?

Plants, trees, and grass can all enter a period of no growth. That is known as the dormant stage. When it becomes too hot, cool-season grass will start to go dormant to protect itself from droughts. On the opposite end, warm-season grasses enter their dormancy when the weather turns colder. During these stages, the grasses will “die” and then start to “green” when the optimal growing conditions have returned. You should think of dormancy as the grasses’ natural way to prevent actual death.

While the grass blades might look dead, an area known as the crown resides deep inside the plant. When that area gets the much-needed moisture, the grass will come to life and start to turn green in two weeks.

Grass is pretty resilient, and it can stay in a dormant phase for six weeks without any permanent damage. After that period, your lawn could experience turf loss. In some cases, you might lose about 25 percent of your turf for every week of limited water and nutrients.

Try the Tug Test

When you look at dormant grass and a dead lawn, they will have a similar appearance. However, there are few ways to distinguish these lawns. You can perform the “tug test.” With that, take a handful of the turf and quickly pull it. If the blades pull out easily with little resistance, you have a dead lawn. Any resistance to a tug is a sign that your lawn is just dormant.

You might also want to take a look at the entire lawn. If the whole area of your lawn is brown, that is a good sign the grass is in a dormancy stage. A mixture of green and brown areas could be an indication of dead spots in your yard.

Causes for Dead Grass

Now that you have conducted a simple test on your grass to determine whether it is dead or dormant, you want to find out the reasons behind it. With some information about the causes, you can find effective ways to keep your grass from dying. If you are looking for expert help, think about asking a company that specializes in commercial lawn care services for assistance.

Droughts are the top reason for dead turf. In the summer, some people think that rainfall is enough to hydrate the blades. However, most grass needs about an inch of water per week for optimal health. Compact lawns are the most susceptible to deadly droughts.

Speaking of compacted lawns, thatch is another grass killer. Over time, decaying debris can build up and choke out the healthy grass in your lawn. You can easily break up that thatch with a few tools.

You probably already know the importance of fertilization, but overfeeding your grass can be as dangerous as having no nutrients. You might want to stop with any fertilization treatments in the summer since that process can cause brown patches in the hot weather.

It is important to check the blades of your mower. Sharp blades are the best to keep your lawn in top shape. With a dull blade, it can cause damage to the grass, leading to brown spots. Plus, the right height makes all the difference in the health of your grass. Make sure to keep those blades about 3 inches from the ground in the summer.

In the summer, you need to watch out for under- and over-watering. If your grass is not getting enough moisture, it will start to have a straw-like appearance. On the other hand, you will leave soggy footprints on the grass when you walk on an overwatered lawn. When you need water, make sure to accomplish this task in the early morning hours to allow for proper evaporation.

Pests can be the bane of existence for many homeowners. They leave behind chewed grass blades and brown spots on your lawn. If your lawn can be easily pulled up, then you might have a grub infestation. Chinch bugs, mites, leafhoppers, and mole crickets are other insects that can create havoc in your lawn.

If you have a dog, you know that those pet spots are unsightly. However, don’t just blame Fido. Other animals, like rabbits and birds, can leave urine spots on your lawn. Animal urine can cause a lot of damage, turning a bright green lawn into a yellow eyesore.

Finally, your dead grass could be the result of a fungus on the lawn. There is no shortage of diseases that will damage the lawn, leaving you with dead brown spots. In the summer, hot and humid conditions can be a breeding ground for grass fungus. During that time, you might notice brown spots that reach several feet in diameter.

Prevent Dormant and Dead Lawns

You might think that brown grass is a lost cause, but there are ways to revive it. When you have a better understanding of the issues, you can take steps to resolve them. A healthy lawn needs to be seeded, watered, and mowed throughout the spring, summer, and fall. If you notice that your grass is showing signs of dormancy, make sure to take appropriate steps to keep it healthy. With a little help, you can keep your grass looking great throughout the year.

Professional Commercial Lawn Care

If you need help with lawn care around your property, reach out to the team at Charlestown Landscaping LLC. We can take the necessary steps to prevent brown spots throughout your yard. You can learn more about our services by calling us at (610) 608-3965.

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