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How Long Does Dormant Grass Take to Turn Green? (2023)

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how long does it take dormant grass to turn greenDo you have a brown, lifeless-looking lawn that just won’t turn green no matter what you do? It’s possible your grass is dormant. Dormancy is the process where grass redirects vital resources to its roots and crown in order to protect itself from unfavorable conditions like cold temperatures or lack of water.

To revive dormancy, there are steps that must be taken such as adequate watering, limiting foot traffic and mowing, removing weeds, and more.

In this article, we’ll answer the question: how long does it take for dormant grass to turn green again? We also cover different factors influencing recovery time so you can quickly get back a lush-looking lawn!

Key Takeaways

  • Dormant grass can be revived through adequate watering, limiting foot traffic and mowing, and removing weeds.
  • Factors like water availability, grass length, aeration, fertilizer, and traffic can affect how quickly grass turns green after dormancy.
  • Patterns in brown patches can indicate the cause of grass death, and dead grass cannot be revived and must be replaced.
  • Deep watering prior to summer dormancy and light watering during winter can help maintain healthy grass blades and develop strong root systems.

Why Does Grass Go Dormant?

how long does it take dormant grass to turn green 1
You may have noticed your lawn looking a bit brown and lifeless in the cold months – that’s because grass goes dormant when temperatures drop too low or it lacks adequate water. Dormancy triggers for cool-season grasses include temperatures below 56 degrees Fahrenheit, while warm-season varieties go dormant at 65°F or lower.

Winter dormancy is caused by cold weather, whereas summer dormancy occurs due to prolonged heat and drought periods without sufficient water. Dead grass cannot be revived, but deep watering prior to summer dormancy can help maintain healthy blades during hot spells as well as resource access for roots during wintertime.

However, most types are able to survive 3 – 4 weeks of dryness before needing extra hydration again.

Warm-season grasses need light watering even in their dormant stage so they develop strong root systems.

How to Tell if Your Grass is Dormant or Dead

How to Tell if Your Grass is Dormant or Dead
If you’re noticing brown, lifeless-looking grass in your lawn, it’s important to figure out if it’s dormant or dead. To determine this, conduct the tug test: try pulling a blade of grass and see how much resistance you get — dormant grass will show some resistance while dead blades come out easily.

Additionally, look for patterns in any patches of browning; uniformly brown lawns indicate dormancy whereas patchy areas can signal something else entirely is going on with your turf.

Brown, Lifeless-looking Grass

When temperatures drop too low or you don’t give your grass enough water, it can become dormant and take on a brown, lifeless appearance. To tell the difference between dead and dormant grass, conduct the tug test. If it shows resistance when pulled out, then it is likely in a dormant state.

Brown patches indicate dead grass, while uniformly brown lawns signify dormancy.

Summer dormancy occurs due to prolonged heat and drought. Deep watering prior to this period helps with blade greening in the fall. Winter brings cool-season grasses into dormancy below 56°F, while warm-seasons go inactive at 65°F or lower.

Careful mowing also aids root development for both types of grass before their respective periods of rest.

Conduct the Tug Test

Pull on some of your grass to see how easily it comes out – if there’s resistance, you’ve got a dormant lawn. Dormancy in cool-season grasses is triggered by temperatures below 56°F, while warm-season types go inactive when soil temperature drops to 65°F or lower.

Mowing both types of grass carefully before their respective periods of rest helps them return strong after breaking out from the hibernation phase as well.

Uniformly Brown Lawn Vs. Patches of Brown Grass

Take a look at your lawn – if it’s uniformly brown, you’ve got dormant grass. However, patches of brown indicate dead spots. The tug test can help differentiate between the two states: pull on some grass and see how easily it comes out.

Dormant vs. dead also depends on soil temperature. Cool-season grasses go inactive below 56°F, while warm-season types do so below 65°F. Summer dormancy is caused by prolonged heat and drought, whereas winter dormancy occurs when soil temperatures drop too low.

Patterns in Brown Patches

Look for patterns in the brown patches to get a better idea of why your grass is dead. Deep roots are key for reviving grass, so deep watering and aeration can help break dormancy quickly. Dormant signs like vertical blades and brown blade tops signal cool-season or warm-season needs differently.

Warm-season requires light water during winter dormancy, while cool-season needs more prior to summer drought periods.

How Long Does Dormant Grass Stay Brown?

How Long Does Dormant Grass Stay Brown?
When it comes to dormant grass, there are a few key things to consider. First off, the tug test is essential in determining if your grass is truly dormant or dead. Dormant blades will have some resistance when pulled while dead ones come out easily.

Additionally, take note of any uniformly brown lawns or patchy areas; this can help you determine what triggers the dormancy and how best to address them.

Lastly, pay attention to the location of the brown patches: high foot traffic areas may indicate lawn pests, so be sure to treat accordingly with that knowledge in mind for a successful revival process!

How to Revive Dormant Grass

How to Revive Dormant Grass
Reviving dormant grass can be a challenging task, but with the right knowledge, it is achievable. To successfully do this, you will need to ensure adequate watering of your lawn and minimize foot traffic and mowing as much as possible.

Additionally, removing any weeds that may have sprouted up during the period your grass has been inactive will help give it the best chance for revival.

Adequate Watering

Adequate watering is key to reviving dormant grass, so be sure to give your lawn plenty of H2O! Aeration effects should also be considered when attempting a successful revival.

Watering tips include deep waterings prior to summer drought periods and light waterings during winter dormancy for better root development. Fertilizer timing is important too; avoid adding fertilizer if there isn’t enough moisture in the ground, but use it sparingly after dormancy breaks as it can speed up the greening process.

Heavy traffic areas may need extra attention due to possible pests or compaction damage that could prevent resources from reaching roots – aeration helps with this issue! Appropriate watering schedules and yearly summer droughts are essential for the development of deep roots, which provide protection against fungal diseases common in dry soil conditions.

With these tips, you’ll have lush green grass all year round!

Limiting Foot Traffic and Mowing

To keep dormant grass alive, limit foot traffic and mow only when necessary to prevent irreparable damage. Watering tips, such as deep waterings prior to summer drought periods, can be helpful for root development.

Aeration of the soil is important too. A lawn rake or core aerator helps ensure resources reach roots during harsh winters and late fall droughts.

Longer grass lengths in cool-season varieties also offer protection from fungal diseases common in dry conditions, while warm-season types should be kept at 2 inches before winter dormancy sets in.

Finally, large tufts of grass indicate much water has been used. Excessive watering can lead to disease issues, so use with caution!

Pulling Weeds

Pulling weeds from your lawn helps keep it healthy and looking its best. Weeding should be done regularly, but a late October weeding is especially important before grasses enter dormancy. Aerate the soil to break up compacted areas that prevent resources from reaching roots and use a fertilizer type suitable for green lawns.

Water deeply prior to summer dormancy or winter freeze. Warm-season varieties need light watering during winter in order for deep root development. Mowing height is also key. Cool season types should be kept at 4-5 inches while warm season grasses are better off at 2 inches when going into winter sleep mode! Remove old clippings every couple of weeks as part of normal care of lawns routine to avoid creating a matted look with dead clippings.

Can Dead Grass Be Revived?

Can Dead Grass Be Revived?
Unfortunately, dead grass cannot be revived and must be replaced. To help determine dormant vs. dead grass, it’s best to conduct the tug test. If there’s resistance when pulled, it indicates that the lawn is still in a dormant state.

However, if it comes out easily, then this means that your lawn has died and needs replacing.

Factors such as soil temperatures or lack of water can vary depending on the type of grass you have and where you live, such as the east coast. The exact dormancy period also varies for different types of grasses. Generally, cool-season varieties go into dormancy below 56 degrees Fahrenheit, while warm-season ones do so at 65 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

Strategies such as deep watering prior to summer dormancy can help with root development. It’s also important to limit foot traffic during periods of drought. Fertilizer should only be added after breaking out from its inactive stage, preferably once a thick layer has formed across the entire surface area again for maximum effect.

Ultimately, understanding how long your particular variety takes to come back from dormant periods will depend on many factors, including weather patterns over time specific to your region at different times throughout the year.

When to Call a Lawn Pro

When to Call a Lawn Pro
Calling a lawn care service can help you assess and address any issues with dormant or dead grass, saving you time and effort in the long run. Lawn pros can provide personalized advice to ensure your entire lawn remains lush and green throughout winter dormancy or summer dormancy.

They have access to call centers that offer simple ways of diagnosing browning patches or lifeless-looking grass, so they’ll be able to give specific instructions on how best to revive your turf using their years of experience.

The experts will come up with tailored strategies for each type of lawn, including warm-season varieties like Bermuda grass, cool-season types such as fescue, annual ryegrass, etc.

Factors That Can Affect How Long It Takes for Grass to Turn Green After Dormancy

Factors That Can Affect How Long It Takes for Grass to Turn Green After Dormancy
Reviving grass from dormancy requires a combination of the right conditions and specific maintenance techniques. Water, grass length, aeration, fertilizer, and traffic can all affect how quickly your lawn will turn green after going dormant.

To ensure that your turf recovers as fast as possible with minimal damage to the roots or blades of grass, it is important to understand how each factor affects recovery time.


You need to make sure that your grass is getting enough water during its dormancy period, especially if it’s been unusually dry or hot. The watering frequency and amount of soil moisture will vary depending on the species of grass and the unique lawn conditions.

Drought stress can be avoided by ensuring adequate root depth, while blade health can improve with slight variations in exact regrowth speed between different classes of grasses.

Grass Length

Maintaining the ideal length for your lawn during dormancy can help encourage faster regrowth when conditions improve. Different grass types in the United States require varying levels of maintenance depending on climate type and variety.

For example, cool-season grasses should be mowed to 4-5 inches before summer drought to protect their roots from heat and drought stressors. On the other hand, warm-season grasses need light watering during winter dormancy to promote root growth and prevent fungal disease buildup.

Giving your lawn a deeper water prior to summer dormancy also helps with blade greening at the end of its dormant period.


Rejuvenate your lawn quickly and effectively by aerating it – making sure resources can reach its roots!

Core aeration is a key benefit, as it reduces soil compaction allowing for deeper watering.

Raking away thatch will also help promote root growth after dormancy.

Aeration breaks up the compacted soil so essential nutrients and water are readily available to dormant grass in springtime, speeding up regrowth time from late fall or winter dormancy.

Deeply watering prior to summer drought helps with blade greening when temperatures rise again, while light irrigation during winter prevents fungal disease buildup in warm-season grasses.

Aeration benefits all types of turfgrass—especially those experiencing extended periods of heat or cold stressors—helping revive them faster than ever before!


Fertilizing your lawn after dormancy can help it burst to life with vibrant hues of green faster than you ever thought possible! Soil temperature is the key factor in determining when to apply fertilizer, as cool-season grasses need deep watering prior to summer drought and warm-season grasses require light irrigation during winter dormancy.

Fertilizer should be applied at least two weeks before temperatures rise above 45℉ for cool season species or 55℉ for warm season species. Don’t forget that timing is crucial: applying too early may cause premature growth while waiting too long will delay regrowth.

Properly fertilizing dormant grass will revive its color, texture, and health with remarkable results!


Avoid walking on your lawn when it’s dormant, as this can cause irreparable damage and slow the greening process. Traffic effects on dormant grass include compaction of soil, which prevents resources from reaching roots.

It also disrupts fertilizer uptake and results in physical wear, leading to thinning or bald spots. To ensure a healthy lawn after dormancy, limit foot traffic to prevent compaction and other damage. Regularly aerate to help break up compacted soil caused by traffic. Avoid fertilizing during summer dormancy when water is unavailable or low-quality grass seed may be used instead of turfgrass varieties with more durability for frequent foot traffic areas such as walkways and play areas.

How Long Do Different Grass Types Take to Come Out of Dormancy?

How Long Do Different Grass Types Take to Come Out of Dormancy?
Now that you understand the factors that can influence how quickly your grass comes out of dormancy, it’s important to consider how long different types of grass take to come back.

The timeline for recovery varies depending on the type and condition of your lawn. Cool-season grasses typically require 2 to 4 weeks after a fall rain event before they are no longer dormant, while warm-season varieties need 3 or 4 weeks with warm soil temperatures before they turn green again.

Root growth will be boosted by deep watering prior to summer dormancy, as well as light watering during winter, in order for blades and roots alike to benefit from blade greening in fall and spring respectively.

Furthermore, cool season turf should be grown up at least four inches, whereas mowing two inches shorter helps with root development when dealing with warm-season species.

Will Dead Grass Grow Back?

Will Dead Grass Grow Back?
Unfortunately, dead grass cannot be revived and must be replaced – leaving you feeling frustrated with the state of your lawn. Dormant grass can still have a chance at recovery, but it requires extra care to bring it back to life.

Different types of grasses enter dormancy at different times based on temperature triggers. Cool-season varieties go dormant in winter when the temperature drops below 56°F, while warm-season plants go dormant in late fall or early spring when the temperature falls below 65°F.

In drought conditions, most grasses will remain dormant for up to six weeks without harm if adequate water is applied afterwards.

To determine if the brown patches are dormant or dead, pull a small amount of grass from the ground. If there is resistance, it indicates dormancy. If it can be easily removed, it means death has already set in.

Maintain good care by watering during summer drought and providing light irrigation during winter dormancy. Aeration can also help break this cycle more quickly. However, fertilizing should only occur when there is no shortage of moisture, as too much fertilizer may cause further damage.

Remember to avoid traffic on the lawn so that any new growth won’t suffer permanent damage.

How to Speed Up the Greening Process

How to Speed Up the Greening Process
To get your grass green again quickly, aerate the soil and consider light fertilization when there’s enough moisture.

To ensure a quick recovery from dormancy, you’ll need to take into account various factors. Deep watering prior to summer or winter dormancy is important. Also, maintain an appropriate grass length for protection of roots in summer drought conditions.

Additionally, mow warm-season grasses at 2 inches for root development before winter.

Aeration is key as it helps break up compacted soil that prevents resources from reaching the roots.

You can also add fertilizer after breaking dormancy, but make sure there’s adequate water available first.

Lastly, avoid traffic on dormant lawns to prevent any permanent destruction of new growth once it has started appearing again.

With these tips in mind, you should have no trouble bringing your lawn back in shape soon enough!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often should dormant grass be watered?

Water dormant grass deeply and infrequently to help revive it. Cool-season grasses can typically survive 3-4 weeks of drought, while warm-season varieties need light watering during winter dormancy.

What is the temperature threshold for warm-season grasses to go dormant?

Warm-season grasses go dormant when temperatures drop below 65°F. To ensure healthy growth, avoid watering and traffic on the lawn until conditions warm again.

What is the tug test for determining dormant vs. dead grass?

The tug test is an effective way to identify dormant versus dead grass. To do this, firmly pull a blade of grass; if it resists, the lawn is likely just dormant. Dead grass comes out easily and won’t revive – so replace it! Meanwhile, with adequate watering and warmth, you can bring your dormant lawn back to life.

How can aeration help grass break dormancy?

Aeration loosens compacted soil, allowing oxygen and resources to reach grass roots more easily. This helps break dormancy quickly by providing the necessary nutrients for growth. Irony adds depth and complexity to aerating dormant lawns; it’s not just about opening up pathways but also giving them a chance to thrive.

What is the best way to fertilize dormant grass?

Fertilizing dormant grass is best done sparingly and with the right type of fertilizer. Avoid adding it during summer dormancy, as water may be scarce. Instead, choose a slow-release fertilizer in spring or fall to help break dormancy quickly while protecting roots.

Aeration can also speed up greening by allowing nutrients to reach the roots more easily.


Your lawn is an asset and can increase the aesthetic value of your home, so it’s important to stay on top of it. Whether you’re dealing with dormant or dead grass, you now understand the difference and how to revive it.

With the right care, your grass will soon be back to its lush, green state in no time. Now, with your newfound knowledge, you can take control of your lawn and show it off with pride. So don’t wait any longer, take action and watch as your lawn is transformed into a beautiful, healthy masterpiece.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.