When Does Bermuda Grass Grow? [And When Does It Go Dormant] - GardenTabs.com (2023)

Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) is fast-growing, hardy, and a top choice for those seeding their lawn. In this article, we will answer when exactly Bermuda grass grows and when you can expect it to go dormant.

Bermuda grass grows most in the warm months, typically from late spring through summer. You can expect this grass to go dormant when cold temperatures arrive, from mid-November through March.

You know when Bermuda grass goes dormant, but what happens to your grass in this state? Keep reading as we answer what happens when your grass goes dormant and how you can encourage Bermuda grass to grow.

When Does Bermuda Grass Grow? [And When Does It Go Dormant] - GardenTabs.com (1)

What Happens When Bermuda Grass Goes Dormant?

Bermuda grass is native to tropical and subtropical climates. This is why this warm-season grass requires plenty of sunlight. This grass experiences environmental stress in cooler temperatures, causing it to go dormant.

Dormancy is simply a phase of time when your grass is not actively growing.As this grass enters dormancy, you will notice the usually green grass turn brown and even look dead.

This dull look is because your grass's leaves and top stems stop growing. However, the underground stems and runners above the ground continue to grow.

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Bermuda grass will remain dormant until temperatures rise above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. After several days or weeks of warmer weather, your grass turns green once again.

It can take 2-4 weeks for the top growth of Bermuda grass to turn completely green after coming out of dormancy.

Read more on our blog post, How Deep Do Bermuda Grass Roots Grow?

How Can I Tell If My Bermuda Grass Is Dead Or Dormant?

Seeing your grass turn brown can be alarming, and you may be wondering if this is due to a normal dormant state or if your grass is dying. Luckily, there are ways to tell if your grass is dead or just transitioning.

In a dormant state, your Bermuda grass should still have strong roots anchored in the ground. When you see browning grass, you can gently tug on some blades of grass. If the grass easily pulls from the ground, it may be dead.

In general, the roots of dormant grass will remain in the ground when you try to pull.

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Another way to tell if your grass is dormant or dying is by inspecting the browning patterns of your lawn. When Bermuda grass is going dormant, your entire yard will start to turn brown. Dying grass will brown in patches or sections.

Dormant grass will begin to grow again, while dead grass won't. If you suspect your grass is dead, you will need to resolve the underlying issue to get your grass and the soil below back to a healthy state.

Learn more on our blog post, Why Is My Grass Dying In Patches?

How Do You Encourage Bermuda Grass To Grow?

When your grass comes out of its dormant state, you might be eager to get it back to a green, healthy state. Luckily, there are ways to encourage your Bermuda grass to perk up.

Let's look at what you can do to care for your grass below.

1. Mow Frequently

Bermuda grass is fast-growing and can get out of control quickly if not mowed frequently. You should cut low and often, keeping your grass at 1-1.5 inches tall.

You may need to mow your lawn once per week during the peak growing season.

When Does Bermuda Grass Grow? [And When Does It Go Dormant] - GardenTabs.com (4)

Continue mowing up until your grass enters dormancy and stops growing.

2. Check Soil Quality

Ensuring your soil is of good quality will encourage growth and help maintain your lawn's health. Bermuda grass grows best in soils with a pH between 5.8 and 7.0. This grass can tolerate more alkaline environments but will require more supplementation in acidic soils.

If your soil is overly acidic, consider adding lime powder to neutralize it.

When Does Bermuda Grass Grow? [And When Does It Go Dormant] - GardenTabs.com (5)When Does Bermuda Grass Grow? [And When Does It Go Dormant] - GardenTabs.com (6)

View this fast-acting lime on Amazon.

Use soil testing strips to check your soil and make amendments during the growing season.

3. Fertilize

When your Bermuda grass is no longer dormant, you can fertilize your lawn to encourage growth. Nitrogen fertilizers will help your grass grow fuller and more green quicker.

When Does Bermuda Grass Grow? [And When Does It Go Dormant] - GardenTabs.com (7)When Does Bermuda Grass Grow? [And When Does It Go Dormant] - GardenTabs.com (8)

See this nitrogen fertilizer on Amazon.

You can fertilize once every 60 days in the peak growing season to keep up with the growth rate. The last time you add fertilizer to your Bermuda grass should be about four weeks before the first frost.

Read more on our blog post, Can You Use Miracle-Gro On Grass?

4. Weed Control

Controlling weeds is another way to promote the growth of your Bermuda grass. Weeds take away nutrients from your grass.

You can take steps to prevent weeds from growing on your lawn, encouraging the health of your grass.

You can start weed prevention in early Spring by applying weed prevention as early as February. Lay down this solution before the weeds have time to germinate.

When Does Bermuda Grass Grow? [And When Does It Go Dormant] - GardenTabs.com (9)When Does Bermuda Grass Grow? [And When Does It Go Dormant] - GardenTabs.com (10)

Check out this weed blocker on Amazon.

If weeds emerge in your lawn during the growing season, you can control weeds by applying a weed and feed fertilizer while your grass is still growing.

It is ideal to lay down this fertilizer about 4-5 weeks before the year's first frost.

5. Aerate Your Lawn

As you know, Bermuda grass grows fast and can become dense. This type of growth can lead to excess thatch. This layer creates an environment that encourages pests and disease and will stunt the growth of your grassroots.

Avoid excess thatch by aerating your lawn. This process can be done in the spring, allowing better airflow and nutrients for your grass. Aeration can be accomplished by simply removing plugs of soil.

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Aeration is best when your grass is actively growing. However, if you have freshly planted grass, you should wait until the following year to aerate when your roots are mature and strong.

However, newly planted grass can receive irreversible damage if aerated too early.

6. Overseed

If you notice areas of your lawn are bare or thinning, you can overseed to promote growth. Spread Bermuda grass seed in these affected areas during the Fall, getting ready for the active growth period in spring.

You can create temporary winter color by overseeding your Bermuda grass with Ryegrass seed. Lay this seed when temperatures have dropped below 65 degrees for several consecutive days.

Overseeding with Ryegrass allows for an attractive lawn in the winter and will die off when spring arrives, allowing your Bermuda grass to flourish. If you plan to be overseed for winter, avoid using any seed that will continue to grow in warmer temperatures.

Another thing to keep in mind when overseeding is when you apply weed killer to your lawn. Your weed killer should be applied 45-90 days before you reseed.

When Should I Plant Bermuda Grass?

Frost is your largest enemy when planting grass seed. Bermuda grass is best planted when all threat of frost has passed, typically in late Spring. Once temperatures have reached 80 degrees or above for numerous days, it is okay to lay your seed.

You can check your soil temperature using a soil thermometer to ensure your timing of planting is just right. Ideal soil temperatures for Bermuda grass are between 65 and 70 degrees.

When Does Bermuda Grass Grow? [And When Does It Go Dormant] - GardenTabs.com (12)When Does Bermuda Grass Grow? [And When Does It Go Dormant] - GardenTabs.com (13)

Amazon offers a soil thermometer here.

Rake your soil first, then lay your seed. Next, cover the seed with a thin layer of soil, about 1/4 of an inch deep. You can rake again lightly to promote soil contact with your seeds.

After you lay Bermuda grass seed, you should water your lawn daily. Keep your soil moist but not soggy while your grass is becoming established.

It only takes 7-14 days to germinate Bermuda grass if the conditions are in its favor.

To Wrap Up

When Does Bermuda Grass Grow? [And When Does It Go Dormant] - GardenTabs.com (14)

In general, Bermuda grass grows in the heat and enters dormancy when the cold weather arrives. We hope you found this article insightful for managing your lawn and you gathered some helpful tips and tricks for caring for your grass.

Are you looking for more tips when caring for your lawn? Look through our blog post, What's The Best Time To Aerate And Overseed A Lawn?


How long does it take for Bermuda to come out of dormancy? ›

Depending on the temperature, complete green-up may require 2 to 6 weeks (the higher the temperature, the faster the process is completed). However, if periods of favorable temperatures are interrupted by occasional freezing temperatures, green leaves may be killed and new leaves must be produced.

What temperature is Bermuda dormant? ›

When soil temperatures drop to and below 55 F, bermudagrass has difficulty producing chlorophyll more rapidly than it is degrading in the plant, particularly with high light intensity. As a result the turfgrass will start lose its dark green color. All bermudagrass will go dormant with air temperatures below 32 F.

How long is Bermuda dormant? ›

When the average temperatures drop below 50 F, the stems and leaves stop growing and go dormant, but the rhizomes and stolons continue to grow for several weeks. Bermudagrass remains dormant until spring when average day and nighttime temperatures rise above 50 F for several days.

What does Bermuda look like dormant? ›

Your Bermuda grass begins to turn brown.

This is characterized by browning of the grass blades. The grass may appear dead during this period, but if your Bermuda grass is turning brown due to temperature, not lack of water, it is simply going dormant.

What month does Bermuda grass go dormant? ›

Bermuda grass grows most in the warm months, typically from late spring through summer. You can expect this grass to go dormant when cold temperatures arrive, from mid-November through March.

How do you wake up dormant Bermuda grass? ›

How to Revive Dormant Grass?
  1. Water. If the drought season goes beyond four weeks, then you have to water your lawn to rehydrate the grass and wet the soil down to a depth of 5 inches. ...
  2. Fertilize. Avoid excessive fertilization in the dormancy period. ...
  3. Control Weeds. ...
  4. Mow. ...
  5. Reduce Traffic. ...
  6. Rehydration.

Should you mow dormant Bermuda? ›

For dormant Bermudagrass lawns, you shouldn't really have to mow through winter, though you may want to trim edges or uneven spots occasionally. The Clemson Cooperative Extension advises that lawns that have been overseeded with ryegrass should be mowed at 1 inch, before the grass reaches 1½ inches.

At what temperature does Bermuda grass stop growing? ›

In general, temperatures below 30°F kill the leaves and stems of bermudagrass. Research has demonstrated that bermudagrass will continue to grow with night temperatures as low as 34°F if day temperatures are near 70°F. However, when average temperatures drop below 50°F growth stops and the grass begins to discolor.

Should you mow dormant grass? ›

Dormant lawns (those that have turned brown) should not be mowed. Pedestrian and mower traffic could damage the turf. Gardeners have two basic options on lawn care when confronted with hot, dry weather. One option is to simply allow the turf to turn brown and go dormant.

How short should you cut Bermuda grass before winter? ›

The ideal mow height for Bermuda Grass is between 1.5-2-. 5 inches in the spring and summer, around 2 inches in the fall and winter. This grass will go into dormancy earlier than St. Augustine, and typically enters into this period in September.

Does dormant Bermuda need to be watered? ›

Even though bermuda grass is dormant during the winter it still requires irrigation (½ inch every two to three weeks) to keep the soil moist and prevent winter desiccation.

What temperature does grass go dormant? ›

Soil temperature—Warm-season grasses go dormant when soil temps remain consistently below 55 degrees Farenheit. For cool-season grasses, the soil temp that triggers dormancy is 45 degrees F.

Will Bermuda grass fill in bare spots? ›

In conclusion, given the right amounts of sunlight, water, nutrients and care, because Bermuda spreads aggressively, those spots should fill in on their own.

How long can Bermuda grass go without being watered? ›

Unlike most other residential grass types, Bermuda is extremely hearty and can take a punch. Without watering, bermudagrass can survive for up to eight weeks.

What time of year does Bermuda grass turn brown? ›

Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass requiring a soil temperature of 65-Fahrenheit at least to grow in green. It's expected to turn brown when temperatures drop in the fall. When your Bermuda grass goes brown during the growing season, that's a problem.

Does Bermuda grass grow in fall? ›

Because it is a warm-season grass, bermuda grass will grow and be green during the summer, then may go dormant and turn brown during the winter in areas with cool winters. Don't be alarmed if your bermuda is brown from October to April. That's natural!

What happens if you fertilize dormant grass? ›

Fertilizing a dormant lawn will not harm it. However, the turfgrass may not receive the full benefit of the fertilizer application. If the granular fertilizer remains on the soil surface because of a lack of rain, some of the material may actually volatilize into the air.

How do you know if your grass is dormant? ›

One way to determine if grass is dormant or dead is by tugging on the grass plants. If the plants pull out from the ground easily, they're probably dead. If the roots hold fast when pulled, the plants are dormant.

Should you water dormant grass everyday? ›

Letting turf go dormant

"Once the lawn turns brown and goes dormant, we can't tell if a lawn is dying unless we water and wait to see the response," Patton said. "That is why we advise to water once every two weeks with one-half inch of water once the turf goes dormant to keep plant crowns hydrated during drought.

When should you not fertilize Bermuda grass? ›

This might be something like 12-4-14 or 12-0-12. Either way, make sure the fertilizer contains slow release nitrogen and apply at the rate of 1.5 pounds of actual nitrogen per 1000 square feet. WINTER: Do not fertilize Bermuda grass in the winter.

What kills Bermuda grass? ›

Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) spreads by underground stems (rhizomes) and aboveground runners (stolons). It seeds pretty aggressively too. Because it's so tough and persistent, most professionals and homeowners use an herbicide (generally glyphosate) to kill it.

What happens if you cut Bermuda grass too short? ›

Do not mow below . 5 inches or you may damage grass rhizomes and stolons growing near the soil surface.

How long before Bermuda grass grows? ›

GERMINATION: Under ideal conditions, the hulled seeds can germinate within 3 to 7 days. IF conditions are NOT ideal, it is quite normal for Bermuda grass seeds to take 14 to 21 days for germination to occur. Occasionally, it can take longer.

What grass will choke out Bermuda? ›

Amazoy will choke out all existing cultivated and wild grasses, including Bermuda (often called wire grass) and St. Augustine. For best results keep these grasses away from newly planted zoysia plugs.

Is it better to leave your grass long in the winter or cut it short? ›

If your cut your grass too short, the cold weather can stress or damage the roots or leaves. If your grass is too long, it's at risk for disease. The ideal grass height for winter is between 2 inches and 2.5 inches.

Will dormant grass come back with water? ›

If it's brown in patches it might be something else such as disease, pests, drought damage or inconsistency with your irrigation system. Watering: Dormant grass will revive with regular watering. If you water and your grass does not come back from summer dormancy - it is likely dead.

What is the difference between dead grass and dormant grass? ›

Grab a handful of the grass and give it a quick tug. If it pulls out easily with no resistance, the grass is dead. The grass is just dormant if it resists or you have to work hard to pull the blades out of the ground. Another clue is seeing distinct patches of green and brown sections.

What does Bermuda grass look like in winter? ›

In frost-free climates, Bermudagrass stays green all winter. However, in much of its growing region, it spends winter dormant and brown.

Will scalped Bermuda grass grow back? ›

Scalping is extremely detrimental to cool season grasses like ryegrass, tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass. Bermudagrass doesn't like it much either; however, bermuda will "bounce back" quickly.

Do you cut Bermuda grass in winter? ›

Even though you don't have to mow Bermuda grass in the dormant months, you should trim the edges and uneven spots occasionally. And because Bermuda grass is no longer growing when dormant, you will not have to perform any regular maintenance.

What is the best fertilizer for dormant Bermuda grass? ›

Competing weeds such as crabgrass in Bermuda grass lawns can quickly spread and damage your lawn. If you want to fertilize a dormant lawn, Milorganite is one of the best slow-release fertilizers for Bermuda grass and other grass types.

What fertilizer is best for Bermuda grass? ›

Top 5 Fertilizers for Bermudagrass – Reviews
  • Milorganite 0636 Nitrogen Fertilizer.
  • Safer Brand Lawn Restore Fertilizer.
  • The Andersons PGF Complete Fertilizer with Humic DG.
  • Scotts Turf Builder Southern Lawn Food.
  • Pennington Smart Seed Bermudagrass Seed and Fertilizer Mix.
13 Oct 2022

Should I water Bermuda grass everyday? ›

A healthy Bermuda lawn shouldn't be watered very often, perhaps once or twice a week, but it should be watered deeply because the roots are capable of growing several feet into the soil.

How do I know if my grass is dormant in the winter? ›

To perform a tug test, simply pull a handful of grass from your turf. If the grass is easily removed from the ground, it is dead; if the grass has some resistance, it is likely in a dormant state. Water the lawn.

How do you bring back Bermuda grass? ›

If you have warm season grasses such as Bermuda grass you should wait until spring to replant. To replant, you should start with digging out the dead patches by one to two inches deep, making sure to dig beyond dead area into actively growing grass by about six inches past the dead grass.

Why is my Bermuda grass not coming back? ›

Compacted soil is another common culprit when parts of your bermudagrass lawn are dying. Compacted soil doesn't drain well. So when the soil is compacted, water from irrigation or rain can pool and suffocate the plant roots. Waterlogged turf roots can't access the air and nutrients they need to grow and thrive.

Why is my Bermuda grass still brown? ›

Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass. As such, it falls into a dormant stage during the cooler seasons, especially starting from late autumn. During this dormancy period, your Bermuda grass turf will develop brown patches, which won't disappear up until the return of the warmer seasons.

How often should you cut Bermuda grass? ›

Bermudagrass should be mowed every 5 to 7 days and less often when the lawn is drought stressed. before the first expected frost. Potassium can be applied if soil tests indicate a need.

Will dead Bermuda grass come back? ›

Dead grass isn't coming back, so you'll need to take steps to regrow your lawn. You can replace the grass by seeding or sodding — or installing a new type of landscaping material such as mulch, rocks or groundcover.

Will grass that turns brown come back? ›

Grass can turn brown and go dormant when it's stressed by drought, heat, or both. It's your lawn's way of conserving energy and water, Mann explains. The grass will break dormancy and begin growing again when the temperatures and/or rainfall levels become more ideal for it.

How long does it take for Bermuda grass to green up? ›

Bermuda grass turns green in spring, between February and April, when daytime temperatures rise to around 75℉ (24℃) and nights stay above 60℉ (16℃). Once temperatures stabilize at this point for 3–5 consecutive days, the grass begins to produce chlorophyll again and green-up.

How long does it take for a plant to come out of dormancy? ›

Depending on your location, it can take weeks for plants to come out of dormancy in spring. To revive a dormant plant indoors, bring it back into indirect light. Give it a thorough watering and a boost of fertilizer (diluted at half strength) to encourage new growth.

Will Bermuda grass come back after winter? ›

Bermudagrass is a perennial warm-season grass, meaning it comes back every year in the proper climate and grows most actively from late spring through hot summer months. Bermudagrass is more sensitive to cold temperatures than warm-season Zoysia grass or cool-season grasses such as turf-type tall fescue.

Is it OK to cut dormant Bermuda grass? ›

For dormant Bermudagrass lawns, you shouldn't really have to mow through winter, though you may want to trim edges or uneven spots occasionally. The Clemson Cooperative Extension advises that lawns that have been overseeded with ryegrass should be mowed at 1 inch, before the grass reaches 1½ inches.

Should I water dormant plants? ›

Dormant plants need less frequent watering than those in active growth. (If planting in a low desert region, a watering once every 2 weeks may be needed if day temperatures are hot.) Check under the mulch. If the soil feels dry, then water lightly.

What are the signs that a plant has reached dormancy? ›

Signs and Symptoms of Dormancy

Your plant may look a little pale, and it might lose leaves. Your plant will stop putting out new growth, or it may be putting out new growth much more slowly. Your plant will use less water, so the soil will stay wet longer after watering. Check before you water.

How do you tell if a plant is dormant or dead? ›

Dormant and resting plants will droop, their leaves will sometimes turn yellow and drop, and they won't put on any new growth. If you're still not sure, you can try the scratch and snap test. Scratch a little off the surface of a mature stem, and if it's green inside, it's still alive.

How long does it take for Bermuda grass to grow back? ›

LAWN ESTABLISHMENT: Under ideal conditions, it is possible to establish a limited / usable turf, from seed, within about 5 to 6 weeks. If planted earlier or later within the growing season, it can take longer. For pasture purposes, you should allow growth to be about 8 to10 weeks old before grazing.

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