Why is My Lawn Brown in the Winter?
Northern Lawns and Winter Dormancy
Why is My Lawn Dormant?
Lawns go into hibernation mode (dormancy) when they do not receive enough water. This acts as a method of conserving moisture, protecting themselves from seasonal damage and coping with extreme temperatures and conditions. Cold, snowy winters can be harsh on grass plants, which is why cool season grasses (bluegrasses, fescues, and ryegrasses) become dormant when temperatures consistently fall below 45-55 degrees F. However, dormancy can also occur in extremely hot, dry weather.
What to Expect
If you’re a homeowner located in the northern or north-transition region of the United States, you can expect your grass to become thin, dry, and discolored (brown or straw-like) this winter. Although it may not be the nicest to look at, it is a necessary evil that will help your turf stay strong in the face of seasonal stressors.
Many homeowners panic during this very normal seasonal transition because they believe the grass plants have died. Rest assured that this change is only temporary! When soil temperatures increase for more than several days in a row in the early spring, your lawn will start to green up once again.
If you’re unsure whether your grass is dead or simply sleeping, you can always use a soil thermometer for added peace of mind.
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