If you’re like most homeowners, you have a few pressing questions about warm season grasses that need to be answered ASAP! Before we dive into the most commonly asked questions about your dormant grass and its best care recommendations, let’s get on the same page.
First-things-first, let’s make sure we understand what warm season grasses are. Warm season grasses, as the name implies, thrive in temperatures that are consistently over 75 degrees.
These warm-weather loving grasses are best used in warm regions such as the south, southeast, and southwest of the United States, where summers last longer, and average temperatures are higher. Now that we’ve got our definitions cleared up, let’s explore the most commonly asked questions about warm season grass and its care during winter and beyond.
Answers To Your FAQs About Your Warm Season Grass
1. What happens when my warm season grass goes dormant? When the temperatures begin to dip, warm season grasses become dormant. They change from green to brown, but this does not mean they have died. They are simply in their dormant state to ride out the cold seasons. Once temperatures rise above 75 in the spring, they will turn green again. If you live in an area that experiences extreme temperatures in the summer, you may notice a dormancy period during the hottest and driest parts of your summer as well.
2. When should I stop mowing my lawn before winter? The answer, well it depends. First, you have to define what frost zone you live in. (Hint – the Farmer’s Almanac can help with that.) Once determined, mow your warm season grass two or three times before the first frost arrives. Be sure to slowly reduce the blade’s height each time you mow before it gets too cold.
3. What are the common types of warm season grass? Another common warm season grass question goes something like this: Is Bermuda a warm season grass? How do I know if my grass is the kind that goes dormant during winter? Is Zoysia grass a warm season grass? To answer these pressing questions, the most common types of warm season grass include Bermudagrass, Bahia Grass, Centipede Grass, St. Augustine Grass and Zoysia Grass.
4. Should I mow dormant grass? In most cases, it is not necessary to mow dormant warm-season grasses. The exception to this recommendation is when the grass was left too long the previous fall. In this case, mowing the grass shorter in the spring is a recommended practice.
Proper mowing is the key to successful warm season grass and the overall health of your lawn. The guideline for mowing your winter season grass vary based on the type of grass you have, but three best practices hold true for all.
Tips for winter season grass mowing:
• Bag up the trash! Dispose of clippings to reduce thatch buildup in warm season lawns.
• Use a sharp blade! By using a sharp mower blade, your mowing will put less stress on the grass as well as help to prevent fungus.
• Never go too short! Don’t remove more than one-third of your warm season grass’s height in one mowing.
Height guidelines for your warm season grass:
• Bermudagrass – 3/4″ – 1 1/2″ inches
• St. Augustine Grass – 1 1/2″ – 3″ inches
• Centipede Grass – 1″ – 2″ inches
• Zoysia Grass – 3/4″ – 2 1/2″
5. How best should I wake up dormant grass? There is a chance that your warm season grass is not simply dormant. It could be dead. It’s hard to tell what the answer is until you begin to reverse the condition which is done by watering and as temperatures begin to warm up. By watering your warm season grass regularly, you should revive it from its dormant state in a matter of a few days. An important note – while you are in the process of watering your lawn to “wake it up,” try to limit foot traffic that can damage the root system. Also, refrain from mowing during this time period.
6. When will my grass go dormant? Warm season grass thrives in temps above 75 degrees Fahrenheit. When soil temperatures dip below 55 degrees, your grass will enter its dormant state. When this happens will vary based on where you live, and the weather patterns your region faces during any particular fall or winter season.
Now that we’ve gotten this pressing questions out of the way, it’s time to get out there and care for our lawns…well, if it’s time, that is! At Spring-Green, we’ve been helping homeowners and businesses maintain beautiful lawns and landscapes all year long for 40 years.
As your neighborhood lawn care professional, we will treat your lawn like it’s our own. When it’s time to wake up that dormant warm weather grass, you can count on our professional team of lawn care technicians for even the toughest challenge.