grass being cut

Revive Your Grass with These 3 Secrets!

It’s that time of year again, your lawn is brown and dry, and you just can’t wait for it to be green and luscious again. Actually, you can’t wait to be the first lawn in the neighborhood that’s green again. But do you know if your brown lawn is a dead lawn or a dormant lawn? How do you revive grass on your lawn? When do you revive grass on your lawn? Here at Simple Lawn Solutions, we have exactly that: your simple lawn care solutions!

 Man pushing a lawn mower

The Three Secrets to Revive Your Grass

Before we go in-depth, here are your lawn care secrets to a revived, growing lawn:

  1. Know your lawn – is it dormant? Is it dead? Is it cool season or warm season?
  2. Prepare your lawn for growing season – we’ll discuss aeration, mowing, and water schedule.
  3. Fertilize!


What is a Dormant Lawn?

A dormant lawn is different than a dead lawn, and it’s important to know exactly what your lawn is doing in order to revive grass the right way. In short, dormancy is a state in which grass is not actively growing. The grass appears to be dead, but deep down, the crown of the grass is still alive. All the crown needs to begin growing again is moisture, and a consistent growing environment to wake up. If you revive grass with meticulous lawn care steps, you will soon have the lush, green lawn that will make your neighbors envious.


Why Does Grass Become Dormant?

Grass becomes dormant due to adverse conditions or time of year. This could mean extreme heat, extreme cold, and drought. Your lawn decides it’s time to cease growing to hold onto the moisture and nutrients it has left to weather out the harsh environment. That does not mean you have a dead lawn! Your lawn is very much alive, though it might not look pretty. Your lawn will stay dormant until the weather, environment, and time of the year serves best for growing.


Dead Lawn vs. Dormant Lawn

In contrast to dormancy, a dead lawn is one that needs serious lawn care to revive grass on your lawn. It’s important to identify if you have a dead lawn or a dormant lawn, so you can execute the right steps to bring it back to life. Grass dies because of an infestation of weeds, insects, disease, fungus, long drought, and often pet waste. The signs of a dead lawn include a squishy, spongy feeling when you walk, no signs of growth after water, or the lawn color turning to pink, white, or black. However, while the first signs of a dead lawn include brown grass, that does not mean your grass is dead, especially if it is dormant season.


The Tug Test

The best way to see if your lawn is dormant or dead relies on the “tug test.” Target a section of your lawn that has turned brown. Grab a handful of grass and tug, the quicker, the better. If it is hard to tug or only the blades pull out, your lawn is only dormant. If your tug proved your lawn is easy to remove, or if chunks of soil and grass roots come out as well as blades, you have a dead lawn.


Signs Your Lawn is Dormant

If you are looking for more signs of a dormant lawn, then check for the following:

  •       Your lawn crunches under your feet when you walk on it
  •       The grass is only brown or very faded green
  •       Sunshine does help
  •       Watering for a few days improves greenness

Another factor to recognize is the time of the year. If it is your lawn’s dormant season, you can breathe easy knowing your lawn is following a natural process, not dying.


When Does a Lawn Become Dormant?

Lawns have specific dormant seasons, depending on if they are warm-season or cool-season grass. Knowing which type of grass is on your lawn can help you quickly identify if you have a dormant lawn following mother nature’s lead or a dead lawn. Warm-season grass goes dormant in colder weather, which usually lasts through the winter. Cold-season grass turns dormant in hot weather, to avoid total dehydration and death. If it is your lawn’s dormant season or if there have been adverse weather or environmental changes, your lawn is definitely dormant.


Healthy Dormancy

Before its time to revive grass on your lawn, you want to make sure your lawn is experiencing a healthy dormancy. Watering a patch of your lawn now and then to make sure it greens up with hydration can be an effective test to make sure your lawn is still alive. You might be wondering, if my lawn greens and grows when I water it, why am I keeping it dormant? You can keep your lawn out of dormancy if you like, but it takes a lot of effort. Your lawn care routine would have to work against nature, instead of simply cooperating with nature during growing season. It’s expensive to keep your lawn warm in cold weather or keep your lawn hydrated in warm weather, depending on your type of grass. We recommend trusting the seasons and your lawn, which can help you not only revive grass on your lawn each year but also help you prepare to put your lawn into a healthy dormancy.


Mistakes in Dormancy

For some reason, people have less hesitation to walk all over a brown lawn. Maybe they assume the lawn is already damaged, so there’s no need to tread lightly. But too much foot traffic on your lawn during dormancy can lead to a dead lawn. Your grass is already under a lot of stress, so make sure your house guests walk up the driveway or walkway to avoid further damage. Another major dormant mistake: do not fertilize a dormant lawn! Not only will this be a complete waste of a great fertilizer formula, but it can also throw off the whole cycle of your lawn’s growing period. You want to make sure your lawn is ready to grow before you lay down fertilizer, so the fertilizer nutrients can move freely and be harnessed by your soil to revive grass!


When to Wake up Your Dormant Lawn

You want to wake up your dormant lawn right before growing season. For cool-season grasses, you can wake up your lawn in early fall or early spring, as those are two very important fertilizing times in your lawn care. Your lawn needs to be alive, awake, and growing to maximize the effects of fertilizer. For warm-season grasses, your lawn should wake in late spring and early summer to begin your lawn care regimen. It’s best to wait for some signs of life before you mess with a dormant lawn, but there are ways to revive grass effectively!


How to Wake up a Dormant Lawn

The first step in waking up a dormant lawn is water! Just like the water test checks for new life, starting your lawn care routine with water will help your lawn begin to show signs of life so you can move onto your other steps. As we mentioned, you should never fertilize, aerate, or seed a dormant lawn. Wait until the effects of watering take hold before you move onto other steps. Start by watering your lawn two to three times a week for about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the growth before you increase your watering time, as too much water too early can lead to disease.


Lawn Aeration

Once your lawn shows signs of green or growth, even in patches, there are a few lawn care steps you can take to fully wake up your dormant lawn. The first step is to aerate your lawn. Whether you use a push aeration tool or hand poke your holes, introducing fresh air can speed up the growing process. Your soil has been tightly holding onto moisture and nutrients, which can cause compaction. Aerating your lawn will allow your grass roots to soak in water, sunlight, and absorb your fertilizer.


Mow that Lawn!

Once the tiniest bit of growth starts to show, it’s time to rev up that mower engine and get to work! Make sure the first mow of the season is with sharp blades. This will give you a clean cut so any grass blades that may have had some fungus or mold on the tip will be eradicated from your lawn. After a fresh mow, your grass is ready for new growth.


Seed or Sod Your Lawn

If any patches of your lawn dwindled to dirt over the dormant period, the best time to seed is after aeration, but before fertilizing. Whether you choose sod or seed is up to you, although if it is just a patch or two, we recommend choosing seed. You will end up with a nice, even lawn!

 Child standing in green lawn raking up grass

Choose Your Lawn Fertilizer

Your grass just woke up from a long hibernation, and it’s going to take some powerful nutrients in order to revive grass on your lawn! Choosing a powerful formula in your lawn care can reverse any damage the harsh weather may have done to your dormant lawn. We highly recommend our 16-4-8 Balanced Liquid Lawn Food as the first fertilizer you introduce to your newly awake lawn. To revive grass, your lawn needs all three of the main nutrients to continue to grow.


The Three Nutrients

You may already know that the three numbers on any fertilizer represent the concentration of the three most important nutrients your grass needs: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These three nutrients play vital roles in bringing your grass out of dormancy. Nitrogen is harnessed to turn your grass from brown to green, and stimulate the growth of new blades of grass. Phosphorus tells your grass roots to grow, which will allow your lawn to take advantage of growing season to get stronger; proactively working to have another healthy dormant season. Potassium is used for grass to grow quickly. If you want to be the first lawn in the neighborhood to grow, make sure your fertilizer has potassium.


The First Lawn Fertilizer of the Season

Just like different types of grass have different dormant seasons, the first fertilizer of growing season also varies. For cool-season grass, your first round of fertilizer after dormant season is in early fall, so use our 3-18-18 Natural Fertilizer. For warm-season grasses, late spring and early summer would be perfect to try our 15-0-15 Phosphorus-Free Fertilizer formula if you’re confident your roots are already strong and want to focus on above-ground results. Whichever fertilizer you choose, make sure you spread it evenly and follow up with a Lawn Boost.


Give Your Lawn a Boost

Have you ever woken up from a long sleep and wanted to eat everything in sight? That’s how your lawn feels after dormant season. Fertilizer is a great start, but your lawn needs something extra to quench its thirst, like a Liquid Lawn Boost. If a green lawn is your number one priority, then follow up your fertilizer formula with our Green Booster. This formula stimulates chlorophyll production, so your lawn naturally greens faster than your neighbors! Maybe you’re sick of the short, brown lawn and you’re ready for tall, high grass this growing season. Then your lawn needs the Growth Booster, which speeds up the seed germination process for faster-growing grass. If it’s the end of growing season and you want to prepare your grass for a healthy dormant season, then use our Lawn Energizer to bring the nutrient levels in your soil to a sustainable level.

Prepare Your Lawn for Dormant Season

Now you know how to revive grass on your lawn and enter an effective growing season! You might already be dreading the next dormant season, but we have some lawn care tips to keep your healthy, dormant lawn from becoming a dead lawn.

  •       Continue to mow (2.5” for cool-season grass, 1.5” for warm-season grass)
  •       Clean up debris – rake leaves, remove mud, make sure there isn’t a blanket of debris on your sleeping lawn!
  •       Change your water schedule – only water your lawn once a week, for about 20 minutes, and adjust to avoid any standing water!

Now, your lawn care routine is prepared for any season! You have the tips, fertilizer, and booster you need to make sure your lawn is healthy no matter the time of year. Want more lawn care tips? Check out our website for more blog posts!


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