The Difference Between Dead and Dormant Grass

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So, you come home from vacation and find your lawn looking brown, dull, and lifeless. Before you take drastic measures and resod your entire lawn, learn the differences between dead and dormant grass. It could save you hours of work and thousands of dollars!

Dormant Grass

Grass goes dormant when it is stressed and needs to conserve energy to stay alive. Instead of using its energy to produce lush and green grass blades, all of its energy is focused on the roots and crowns. This leaves the grass looking, well, dead.

Extreme temperatures is typically what cause the grass to go dormant. Here in Florida, it rarely gets cold enough for lawns to go dormant for more than just a few days, and they quickly revive once the temp rises again. However, the extreme heat of the summer here can make even the most heat-tolerant grass variety go dormant.

Think your grass has gone dormant due to excessive heat and/or drought? The remedy is simple… just add more water! Increasing the amount of water you’re giving your lawn should quickly bring back its green color and a healthy luster.

Grass can stay dormant for about a month before it starts to die off. Since our summers here stay hot for well more than a month, plan on extending your lawn’s watering duration during the spring and summer to compensate for the heat to keep your lawn looking good. However, don’t forget to follow all local watering restrictions when planning a lawn watering schedule!

If you’ve upped the water intake for your lawn for several days and see no improvement, then you may be dealing with…

Dead Grass

Grass dies when it is stressed and deprived of nutrients for too long. It usually takes about a month for grass to die off completely. During that month, it will go dormant and look quite bad and must be attended to quickly.

If your grass is dead, the only option is a complete replacement. You may want to consider a different grass variety that can better stand up to your lawn’s conditions.

Help! I can’t tell if my lawn is dormant or dead!

Here are a few quick tips to know for sure what issue you’re dealing with:

  • Lawns typically go dormant in a uniform manner, so the entire area that is stressed will appear uniformly brown. The easiest way to revive a dormant lawn is to give it more water and you should see improvements in just a few days. In times of extreme heat and drought, more than a few days of extra watering may be needed.
  • If you are seeing brown patches instead, check your irrigation system first. Is it reaching every part of your lawn? If not, make adjustments, wait a few days, and recheck the brown areas for improvement.
  • If the issue is not irrigation, then check for other issues that cause brown patches, such as weeds or pests.
  • If no weeds or pests are present, then you may be dealing with dead grass. Wait until the weather improves to know for sure, but if it doesn’t come back with the falling temperature and extra water, you’ll need to completely replace the dead areas.

Resod your lawn with premium sod grown in Tampa Bay

If you are dealing with dead grass, Council Growers Sod in Hillsborough County is here to help! We have all of the sod varieties you need for the ultimate Florida lawn, from St. Augustine to Bermuda to Zoysia and more. Contact us today and speak with a sod expert that can help you choose the perfect sod variety for your property, soil conditions, and budget.