Why Is My Lawn Brown? Lawn Dormancy Explained

Now is the time when your once vibrant, green zoysia lawn will turn a light, golden brown as it heads into winter dormancy. The grass is preparing to undergo the stress of cold temperatures and possible freezes. Zoysia has become the grass of choice for many Georgia homeowners for more than a decade. It grows well in a mix of sun and shade and can thrive in warmer months. How zoysia lawns are cared for in the growing season (spring through early fall) will determine their health going into a long winter’s nap. It is likely zoysia grass will not go green again until May.

Pre-winter prevention helps zoysia survive cold.

Zoysia grass grows well in many different soil types in many different climates. Well-maintained zoysia will create a dense, uniformly carpeted lawn. But homeowners who choose this grass must be willing to look at a brown lawn for up to half the year. Zoysia browning is completely normal from mid-fall to mid-spring. How well the grass was cared for before this happens will determine how healthy it stays throughout the winter. Unfortunately, signs of disease will be difficult to determine until spring when it’s time to green up.

The best time to plant zoysia is in the spring so that it has all of its growing season to establish strong health before winter comes. Zoysia lawns that are planted (either by sod, plug or sprig) in early fall, don’t have as much time to take in water and nutrients needed to thrive in the cold. Therefore, problems with disease and insects can affect spring recovery.

What are best practices for maintaining zoysia?

For very best results going into winter dormancy, it’s important to establish best care practices for your lawn in the warm season.

  • Test the soil. Know the pH of the soil and what nutrients are lacking. This will help determine the right fertilization program for your zoysia lawn.
  • Water properly. Zoysia needs more water in the growing season than other types of turfgrass. The general rule is to water deeply and infrequently. During winter, zoysia needs less water especially if winter is rainy. Georgia soil tends to be dense clay and will hold water. Too much water in the winter can create an environment for disease to set in.
  • Set mower height. Mowing at the correct height for your lawn is imperative for proper maintenance. Zoysia should be mowed at a lower height in winter and a taller height in the spring and summer.
    • Mow at one and a half inches in areas of full sun, and two to two and a half inches in shady areas.
  • Check the calendar. The University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has published a calendar for proper maintenance throughout the year. It lists when and how high to mow, how often to water, how to water, and when to aerate and fertilize.
  • Hire a professional. Professional lawn maintenance can determine the health of your zoysia grass all year round. To avoid problems like leaf spot and brown patch, for example, professional help is recommended.

Need help?

Contact Simply Green to schedule a consultation with a lawn care expert to make sure your zoysia grass is healthy going into winter. Based on an analysis, lawn care professionals can advise on the best maintenance practices going forward. Simply Green Lawn Care Plus will keep your lawn disease-free with seasonal fertilization and weed control plans. Make an appointment today!

About Simply Green Lawn Care

Picture of a Simply Green Spray Technician treating a lawn

Simply Green aims to provide the highest quality lawn care, mosquito control, and lawn pest control services to Georgia residents.


We are locally owned and operated which allows us to be accessible, attentive, and responsive for customers in Georgia.


Our well-trained team is easy to work with and determined to exceed expectations.


All our plant health care specialists are Georgia Department of Agriculture Certified and maintain their Category 24 applicators license.

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gloria richardsongloria richardson
12:50 12 Dec 22
Ben is wonderful! He always answers all of my questions, please don’t take him away from our route!!!Also the office always texts few days before they are coming so we always know what date they are coming. Great customer service!!!
CJ BrieskeCJ Brieske
17:16 11 Nov 22
Have used Simply Green for over a year now for weed control & fertilization. Their service & products have helped improve the appearance & health of my grass in this short time. Taffari has been the technician the last few visits and he is great - super knowledgeable & able to answer my questions. On the last visit Taffari had the service manager reach out on a concern and it was addressed & resolved the same day.
Mitch FergusonMitch Ferguson
16:54 04 Nov 22
Taffari the lawn treatment person was professional and knowledgeable of all aspects of the service that he gave me. I would highly recommend him and Simply Green.
Andrea MooreAndrea Moore
14:19 04 May 22
Simply Green is the friendliest and most professional company I have dealt with. Always on time, and quality work. My yard has never looked better. If I have any questions the response is quick and efficient..I would recommend them to anyone looking for lawn care company
Elder Ron Brown Sr.Elder Ron Brown Sr.
23:43 17 Sep 21
Simply Green Lawn Care has really done a wonderful job with my yard. They keep the weeds out and it always looks crisp and green.

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