Frequently Asked Questions on Lawn Summer Dormancy

Frequently Asked Questions on Lawn Summer Dormancy

Frequently Asked Questions on Lawn Summer Dormancy

Now that summer is officially here, landscapers and homeowners must start to watch their lawns for summer dormancy. This summer seems to be less dry than last, but we are only in the first month of it. As a top northeast grass seed supplier, our location managers are often answering frequently asked questions on lawn summer dormancy. Usually extended hot and dry weather cause lawns to go dormant. Dormant lawns can often survive this harsh onslaught of weather and grow back when the conditions improve.

Frequently Asked Questions on Lawn Summer Dormancy

Question 1 – Should I let my lawn go dormant?
There are several reasons why some homeowners are willing to let their lawns go dormant. You will have to be the judge of whether you want to let your lawn go dormant but here are some common reasons why people let it happen. The cost of water is too much. If the summer ends up dry, you will have to water more and if you have a water bill to pay, that can get pricey quick. Some people also choose convenience and let their lawns go dormant. When the lawn goes dormant, you do not have to mow. If the conditions are right, you can keep your lawn looking manicured simply by trimming the edges and tall spots. You should also consider the types of grass you have growing. Many of our customers choose cool-season grasses and these slow down their growth in the summer months. Letting these grasses go dormant will save you money and water on grass that isn’t growing anyways.

Question 2 – Does dormant grass grow back?
It can grow back if it is not too far gone. Grass that is dead will not come back but if the grass is dormant, you can take steps to refresh your lawn and have it turn green again. If you are unsure if your grass is dead or dormant, try the “tug test”. Find a section of the lawn that has turned brown; if the grass comes out easily when you tug on it, it is likely dead. You’ll have to reseed that area. If your lawn is only dormant, remember that dormancy often looks worse than it is. It is a defense mechanism to lessen the blow of stressful conditions on the grass. To speed up the process of recovery from dormancy, wait until the stressful conditions lessen and then water to rehydrate the grass. Try to wet the soil down to a depth of five inches. You should fertilize too but do not do it excessively. Keep up with weed control and make sure there is not foot traffic on recovering lawn.

Question 3 – What conditions cause a lawn to go dormant?
Keeping a close eye on the weather will help you determine when your lawn may go into dormancy. Usually, intense heat and dryness will bring on the first stage of dormancy. These conditions usually must occur for a period of three or more weeks. The temperature will be consistently above ninety degrees, but it is important to mention that grass can go into dormancy in colder periods as well. Spring weather below forty degrees can cause cool season grass dormancy.

Question 4 – How do I prevent the dormant grass from dying?
If the conditions are bad enough, dormant lawns may die and will not be able to grow again. If you cannot supplement sufficient watering with rainfall, you will have to water the lawn on your own. Water deeply in the early morning. You can also fertilize it with a water-soluble fertilizer that contains aluminum sulfate or urea. Don’t let pets or people walk on the grass while it is dormant. Foot traffic can compromise the already vulnerable root systems. You’ll also want to refrain from mowing your lawn as longer grass blades will shade the roots from the harmful rays of the sun.

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