How to Tell if My Lawn is Dead After a Freeze?

If the temperature dips down below 32°F, you may be concerned that your lawn won’t survive. Some grasses will turn brown and look lifeless after a freeze, but don’t worry! Chances are that your lawn is just fine.

Warm-Weather Grasses Go Dormant After a Freeze

Most of the lawns here in sunny Florida are warm-weather grasses, like St. Augustinegrass, which do not like being exposed to cold temperatures. When it gets too cold, warm-weather grasses respond by going dormant. When grass is dormant it looks brown and dead, but it’s not. The brown grass blades are actually insulating the roots and crown beneath, conserving resources until the temperature rises again.

Dead vs. Dormant…How Can I Tell?

To check if your lawn’s grass has died or is just dormant, simply pull up on a patch of the grass. If it comes up easily with almost no resistance, it may be dead. If it holds firm in place, it’s probably just dormant.

If your grass is dead, replace the affected patches with the highest-quality sod in Tampa Bay, direct from the farm. Call Council Growers Sod at (813) 633-8665 or order your replacement sod online today!

How Should I Care for Grass That Has Gone Dormant?

When caring for dormant grass, make sure that you:

  • Keep the grass adequately watered
  • Keep the grass blade tall enough to properly insulate the roots beneath

And always avoid:

  • Overwatering, which promotes fungal growth
  • Mowing, raking, dethatching, or aerating
  • Fertilizing
  • Traffic on dormant areas, including foot traffic
  • Mowing shorter than 4”

How Long Will it be Before My Grass Turns Green Again?

How long your grass stays dormant depends on how long the temperature stays low. Grass can stay dormant for up to six weeks with no ill effects, but anything beyond that can cause permanent damage, and eventually, death. The temperature in central Florida rarely dips below 32°F anyway, and when it does it’s only for a few days, so there’s no worry about grass staying dormant too long. Once the temperature starts to rise, expect your dormant lawn to wake up.