How to Tell if Your Grass is Dead or Just Dormant

Are you wondering how to tell if grass is dormant or dead?

It’s not uncommon to find one or many areas of the lawn that have turned brown and you might be wondering what exactly is going on.

We understand that brown grass can be really confusing since dormant grass vs. dead grass look basically the same. But they certainly aren’t the same. Dead grass will not come back whereas dormant grass will eventually be restored.

While you’re obviously hoping for dormancy, you need to figure out what’s going on so that you can take the next steps.

In this article, we’ll talk about how to tell if grass is dormant or dead.

Is My Grass Dead or Dormant?

There are a few ways that you can determine the status of your lawn. Here are a few things to try.

Try the Tug Test

One of the first things that you can use to figure out if grass is alive is the “tug test.” Find a section of brown grass and tug. If it comes out easily and there is no sense of resistance, it’s probably dead in that area.

Look for Patterns

Has your entire lawn turned brown or is it just in certain areas? If it’s the latter, these might be dead spots. Whether it’s due to a pest, disease, or environmental problem, brown patches are likely caused by an issue that killed the lawn in those areas.

lawn disease on turf

If the entire lawn has turned brown, it’s more likely that it went into dormancy.

Consider the Time of Year

In figuring out if your grass is dead or dormant, it’s also helpful to consider the time of year. If it’s summer and there has been drought conditions, the lawn could have gone into dormancy as a defense mechanism.

Grass will also go into dormancy in the winter as a protection against the cold.

But if the conditions are good and the lawn is still brown, it is probably not dormant. There is probably something else going on.

Diagnosing Your Lawn Problems

Hopefully, this has gotten you a little closer to figuring out the question, is my grass dead or dormant?

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This is a common question and you aren’t alone in your confusion. But ultimately, it’s important to get to the bottom of what’s going on in your lawn so that you can make some important decisions.

In looking at dormant grass vs. dead grass, if it’s determined that your lawn has died (maybe in spots), then you need to start thinking about diagnosing what caused this to happen.

That’s because it’s important to figure out what killed your lawn so that it doesn’t happen again. The last thing that you want is to go through the process of restoring your lawn only to have the same lawn problems arise.

Of course, diagnosing lawn problems is not exactly a simple feat. That’s because there are multiple problems that could cause a lawn to die and it’s not unheard of for a lawn to experience more than one of these at once.

grubs in dirt

Some of the common lawn problem culprits include lawn disease, surface-feeding insects, and lawn grubs. But lawn problems can also be caused by a lack of sun, soil health problems, misapplication of lawn care products, improper watering, an infestation of weeds, and many other potential problems.

With so many possibilities, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis from a lawn care professional. You’ll want to make sure that you are implementing the right solution. After all, your lawn is likely still living in some areas and you don’t want these spots to succumb to the same problems. You also don’t want to restore your turf only to have the same disease, pest, or other problem to start all over again.

Can I Bring My Deadline Lawn Back to Life?

Now that you understand the importance of getting to the bottom of your lawn problems so that you’re not stuck in an endless cycle, let’s talk about how you can get healthy, green grass growing again.

While you can’t bring dead grass back to life, you can take steps to regrow your lawn with a vital service called aeration and overseeding.

Aeration and overseeding is honestly one of the best things that you can do for your lawn and it’s pretty incredible how well it works.

You don’t have to just take our word for it. Look at these amazing photos of the turf areas used for Muskifest, a legendary Lehigh Valley event that draws in hundreds of thousands people! This Musikfest lawn was completely destroyed by equipment, vehicles, and foot traffic. It was not only totally brown, but it was even gone in many areas.

In looking at dormant grass vs. dead grass, if it’s determined it’s dead (as the Musikfest lawn was) you don’t have to lose all hope. You can restore your lawn with new and healthy grass.

Getting Your Lawn Back

Although you might be feeling overwhelmed about the prospect of restoring a dead lawn, there are answers out there and you can find them with the help of a professional.

The process starts with the diagnosis of any problems that you might be experiencing at your property to ensure that you don’t lose any more lawn than you already have.

Then, it’s followed up by using aeration and overseeding to restore those dead patches.

At Joshua Tree, we’re up for the challenge!

We truly do believe that aeration and overseeding are two of the most important
things that you can do for your lawn’s health. By combining them with the power of professional diagnostics, you can get your lawn into great shape once again and maintain it going forward so that you no longer have to worry.

If you’re wondering whether your grass is dead or dormant, or any other question for that matter, we are happy to be a resource. We want to your Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA lawn to be dark green and healthy. Get in touch with us to get some free expert advice and learn more about our lawn care programs which include three lawn care pricing options.

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