When winter arrives, the grass in our lawns often turns brown. But why is this? While some species of grass are naturally adapted to survive cold winters, other types of grasses will turn brown as part of their natural life cycle. Different types of warm-season grasses may also become dormant and turn brown during the colder months. What grass turns brown in winter? In this blog post, we’ll explore what causes warm-season grasses to go dormant and turn brown in winter, and how you can prepare your lawn for a full recovery when spring returns.
What Is a Warm Season Grass? What Grass Turns Brown in Winter?
A warm season grass grows best in warmer climates and typically requires more water than cool-season grasses. Examples of warm-season grass include Bahia, Bermuda, Centipede, St. Augustine, and Zoysia grass. These are all popular options for lawns in southern states, as they’re better adapted to withstand heat and drought than cool-season grasses.
The Gulf States has mostly sandy soil and salty air, where Bahia grass and St. Augustine grass can be found. St. Augustine grass also grows in Southern California. Bahia grass is commonly found along the Gulf Coast and Southern Atlantic coastline. Bermuda grass and zoysia grass are prevalent in the South and the Transition Zone. Centipede grass, which needs little care, is primarily found in the Southeast.
What Causes Warm Season Grasses To Go Dormant In Winter?
The main cause of dormancy in warm-season grasses is cold weather. Typically, when temperatures drop below 60°F for several days in a row, the grass will become dormant and its leaves will start to turn brown. In areas where winters are particularly cold or dry, warm-season grasses may remain dormant for several months until temperatures rise again in spring.
How to Prepare Your Warm Season Grass For Winter
Before winter arrives, it’s important to prepare your lawn for dormancy. The most important step is to mow your grass regularly, as it helps to keep the leaves from becoming too long and blocking out sunlight.
Additionally, be sure to water your lawn at least once a week throughout winter, and fertilize it in late autumn or early winter to ensure that the soil has enough nutrients to support the grass when it emerges in spring.
What Grass Does Not Turn Brown in Winter?
Winter can be a difficult time for lawns, with warm-season grasses turning brown and the cold weather making it harder to keep up with regular lawn maintenance. However, some grass types are better adapted for surviving winters and may stay green all year round. They are called cool-season grasses, and they include species such as rye, bluegrass, fine fescue, and perennial ryegrass.
How to Revive Your Lawn After Winter
Once spring arrives, you’ll need to take some steps to revive your lawn and help it recover from dormancy. Begin by mowing your grass regularly, as this will encourage new growth and promote a healthy green color.
Additionally, apply fertilizer to the soil and water your lawn deeply once a week for at least an hour. This will ensure that your grass gets all the nutrients it needs to start growing again.
What Diseases Are Common In Warm Season Grasses?
Like any type of grass, warm-season grasses are also susceptible to certain diseases. Common problems include brown patches, dollar spots, and red thread. To reduce the risk of these diseases, be sure to water your lawn deeply but infrequently, and avoid overwatering or mowing too low.
Additionally, practice good lawn care habits such as aerating and dethatching regularly, and fertilizing at least twice a year. With proper care, your lawn can remain healthy and vibrant throughout the year.
What Other Maintenance Tips Should You Consider For Warm Season Grasses?
In addition to regular mowing, there are several other maintenance tips you should consider for your warm-season grass lawn. It’s important to aerate and dethatch your lawn at least once a year, as this will help to relieve soil compaction and encourage new growth.
Additionally, you should fertilize your lawn twice a year—once in the fall, and again in the spring—to ensure that it has enough nutrients to thrive.
FAQs about What Grass Turns Brown in Winter
Q: What type of grass turns brown in winter?
A: Warm-season grasses such as Bahia, Bermuda, Centipede, St. Augustine, and Zoysia are all prone to turning brown in winter due to cold weather.
Q: How often should I mow my lawn?
A: The frequency of mowing depends on its type and size, but in general it’s best to mow at least once a week during the growing season. For warm-season grasses, mow regularly to promote healthy growth and vibrant green color, and avoid cutting more than one-third of the grass blades in each mowing session.
Q: How do I know if my grass is dying during winter?
A: Signs of a dying lawn can include yellow, brown patches throughout the grass and thinning or balding spots. If you notice these signs, contact a lawn care expert to help diagnose any potential issues so they can be addressed as soon as possible. Additionally, mow your lawn regularly to promote healthy growth and vibrant green color, and fertilize it in late autumn or early winter.
Q: How do I protect my grass from snow and ice damage in winter?
A: To protect your warm-season grass lawn during winter, mow it regularly to promote healthy growth and vibrant green color, fertilize it in late autumn or early winter, and water it deeply at least once a week for the cold months. Additionally, avoid walking on your lawn when there’s snow or ice, as this can cause compaction and damage to the grass.
Q: What should I do if my grass turns brown in winter?
A: If your warm-season grass turns brown in winter, there are a few steps you can take to revive it. Mow your grass regularly to encourage new growth and promote a healthy green color. Apply fertilizer to the soil and water your lawn deeply once a week for at least an hour. Additionally, aerate and dethatch your lawn at least once a year to relieve soil compaction and encourage new growth. With proper care, your grass should remain healthy and vibrant throughout the winter months.
What grass turns brown in winter? Bahia, Bermuda, Centipede, St. Augustine, and Zoysia grasses are all prone to turning brown in winter due to cold weather. To keep your warm-season grass healthy during the winter months, it’s important to mow regularly, water deeply at least once a week, apply fertilizer in late autumn or early winter, and aerate and dethatch your lawn once a year. Following these tips will help your grass stay green and healthy all year round!
I’m Violet Hopkins. With a passion for plants and nature cultivated in childhood, I have devoted the last two decades of my life to gardening to become a garden expert as today. I believe taking part in the art of gardening is one often overlooked joy we can experience.
By leveraging extensive experience with gardening and plant care products, I hope to help you to appreciate all that comes from caring for your own garden!