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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.
  • 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.

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.