Dormancy in Winter Lawns

Jan 20, 2023



What is dormancy?

In more southern regions, dormancy is very common and happens to most lawns during the winter. When the cool temperatures arrive, many homeowners start to notice their lawns turning brown or patchy. You may be wondering why. Well, just like any other species, grass plants must adapt to survive. When the winter hits, your grass doesn’t die but instead becomes dormant to preserve resources.

To recognize winter dormancy in your lawn, you should understand why and how it occurs. Dormancy is a term used to describe your lawn when it enters hibernation mode. Your lawn needs important nutrients to survive and without valuable resources such as sunlight or water, your turf will enter this stage. While dormant, your lawn is conserving moisture which protects the grass from seasonal damage and allows it to cope with extreme temperatures and conditions. Dormancy is a natural part of the turf growth cycle. If the grass remains healthy, your turf will return to its lush, green state come spring.


How to care for your lawn while dormant

With warm-season grasses, it is important to keep watering your turf even though it is dormant. However, this is only necessary if there has been a lack of precipitation. To keep your roots active and assist in the revival of your turf come spring, supplemental watering is recommend with warm-season grass types.


With cool-season grasses, your lawn may be blanketed by snow and while it may be a pain to shovel, snow is the best thing for your lawn in the winter. The snow acts as a protective shield from the dry winds and assists in the survival of your turf by keeping the grass plants insulated. During the winter, homeowners with cool-season grasses will not have to do much for upkeep as once spring is in full force, your turf will come out of hibernation on its own!



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