Why Is My Lawn Brown? Lawn Dormancy Explained

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Photo of grass with half brownA beautifully green lawn makes your home look even better, and just begs for some barefoot lounging, especially in the summertime. But what about when your lawn goes brown, either completely or in certain areas? Don’t panic—brown grass isn’t necessarily dead grass.  

What is Dormancy in Grass?

Dormancy is how your lawn manages to survive periods of stress—cold winter temperatures, for instance, or a lack of water. It’s basically your lawn’s built-in defense mechanism, in which the grass “goes to sleep.” Much like bears hibernating for the winter, grass goes dormant in order to conserve nutrients and water. Instead of using energy to grow and create chlorophyll, it goes into dormancy until the conditions are more hospitable. If your lawn contains a warm-season grass like bermuda or zoysia, it will likely turn brown during the winter.

Dead or Dormant? How to Tell if Your Grass is Alive

There are several ways to determine whether or not your grass is dormant. 

  • One of the simplest ways to tell if grass is dead is to try the “tug test.” As the name implies, simply grasp some of the brown grass and give it a tug. If the grass is dead, it will come right out with even a gentle tug. If it’s still alive, you’d know because it would take more pressure to pull out. 
  • Another easy way to determine if your grass is dead or just dormant is to look at the brown areas. Is the brown across your whole lawn, or just in parts? If the grass is dormant, then all of the areas with the same type of grass will be uniformly brown. However, if the brown areas are irregular or appear in patches, you may have another problem on your hands.
    Other causes of brown grass include (just to name a few):

    • Root rot
    • Slime mold
    • Blight
    • Grass rust
    • Leaf spot
    • Dollar spot
    • Fairy rings
  • Of course, the easiest way to keep your lawn healthy and looking great is to hire a lawn care company. At Simply Green, we make it easy to keep your yard looking top-notch with seasonal weed control and fertilization service tailored to your lawn’s unique needs. If the brown spots are caused by a turf disease, fungus, or infestation, we can treat the problem and help you restore your lawn to its former glory with aeration and seeding. In fact, your lawn will be better, healthier, and more attractive than ever. 

To set up a free lawn analysis and get an estimate on residential lawncare services, head over to our website and fill out this form. You can also give us a call at 770-923-0387 to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!

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