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Summer Dormancy

  • Dormancy is one of the mechanisms nature has developed to help plants survive stressful conditions.
  • Summer dormancy occurs in a lawn when grasses as exposed to an extended period of heat and lack of moisture during mid summer. This severe stress may cause a lawn to temporarily stop growing.
  • Though not recommended, allowing a lawn to go severely dormant during extended drought periods may cause portions of the lawn to die and not recover.
Symptoms
  • When a lawn becomes dormant, leaves and stems of grass plants usually turn brown, as crowns and buds stop growing.
  • Lawn appears to be dead or dying.
  • When the weather changes and cooler temperatures and adequate moisture returns, grasses normally will begin to grow again and with proper care the lawn will return to a healthy state unless you have an elongated period of heat and drought where some plants may have died.
Control

The following practices will help to ensure summer dormancy does not occur:

  • Avoid drought stress during hot, dry periods by watering in the morning.
  • Thorough, infrequent watering promotes the growth of a deep, healthy root system that is better able to survive drought and heat stress.
  • Raise mowing height to 2.5-3" (6.5 - 7.5cm)
  • Promoting a healthy lawn throughout the year will enable a lawn to better overcome stressful periods which can induce summer dormancy.