Summer Dormancy FAQs
If you have questions about summer dormancy in lawns, you’re not alone. Keep reading to find answers to some frequently asked questions about summer dormancy.
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.
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, which can get pricey quickly. 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. Cool-season grasses slow down their growth in the summer months. Letting them go dormant will save you money and water on grass that isn’t growing anyway.
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 also fertilize, but not excessively. Keep up with weed control and make sure there is no foot traffic on a recovering lawn.
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.