When drought or hot weather sets in, your lawn might change to color brown, raising the issue of dead grass vs. dormant in many. However, in most cases, the turf is not dead but dormant. Therefore, don’t rush to perform funeral rights to your ‘lifeless’ sod, as it may revive when conditions improve. But how do you differentiate dead and dormant grass? Read on.
If, when pulling, the grass comes up easily from the ground, then that grass is dead; but if there is resistance during pulling, it could be dormant, and you easily restore it with proper and frequent watering.
Also Read: Best Barriers to Keep Cars Off Grass
How To Tell If Grass Is Dormant
Dormancy is plants’ mechanism to conserve energy and nutrients to help them survive during unfavorable weather conditions. If you don’t water your lawn during hot weather, the grass will not utilize these resources to stay green. However, it will use them to keep its roots alive.
There are various ways to tell if the grass is dormant. They include;
1. Watering your sod
One of the main reasons why your sod turns brown and goes dormant is lack of water or drought. Therefore, to check the state of your turfgrass, water it consistently for at least two weeks. Your sod revives and turns green if it’s dormant. On the other hand, dead grass will not revive with watering.
2. Do a tug test
Conducting a tug test also helps you know if your grass is dormant. Here, you pull out a section of grass from the ground. If it comes out easily, it’s time to say goodbye to your lawn. However, if it resists and the roots hold strongly to the soil, your sod is just dormant.
3. Check the browning patterns
Patches of brown grass across your lawn indicate your sod is dead on those spots. On the other hand, if your entire yard appears completely brown, the sod is likely to be dormant.
4. Hire a lawn professional
Both dead and dormant grass appears brown. This makes it difficult to discern if your sod is lifeless or can revive with a bit of care. In this case, hire a lawn care professional to check your lawn and determine the cure.
Related: Can You Lay Sod Over Dead Grass?
Should You Water Dormant Grass?
It’s advisable to water your dormant grass, as dryness might be the reason for your sod’s dormancy. During this period, it’s a good idea to irrigate your sod 2-3 times daily for two consecutive weeks.
Your sod greens up and come back to life if it is dormant. You’ll know your grass is dead if it remains brown even after proper and frequent watering. In this case, you should lay new sod.
Although watering dormant turf is a great idea, excessive water might damage or kill your sod.
Dead Grass Vs. Dormant Grass FAQs
Q: Can you put fertilizer on dormant grass?
A: Adding fertilizer to dormant sod will not harm it, but it may not benefit until you water the lawn properly. However, avoid excessive fertilization.
Q: How do you activate dormant grass?
A: If your grass went dormant due to drought or hot weather, revive it by watering deeply and frequently. You can also add little amount of fertilizer, reduce foot traffic, and control weeds and diseases.
Dead Grass Vs. Dormant Grass Verdict
The key difference between a dead and a dormant lawn is that you cannot restore lifeless grass. Although both are brown in color, the dormant sod will revive and turn green after irrigation. Therefore, water your brown turf consistently for two weeks; the results will tell you if it’s dead or dormant.
Hi, my name’s Wycliffe Magara, a professional landscaper, journalist, published author, photographer, and lawn attendant. Apart from this site, I also own LawnAffection, Grasstology, and TheScholarshipTipster. I specialize in creating informational content to help you grow a Lifelong Lush Lawn and find the ideal scholarship opportunities no one ever talks about.