Why Is My Lawn Brown? Lawn Dormancy Explained

A beautifully green lawn makes your home look even better, and just begs for some barefoot lounging, especially in the summertime. But what about when your lawn goes brown, either completely or in certain areas? Don’t panic—brown grass isn’t necessarily dead grass.

What is Dormancy in Grass?

Dormancy is how your lawn manages to survive periods of stress—cold winter temperatures, for instance, or a lack of water. It’s basically your lawn’s built-in defense mechanism, in which the grass “goes to sleep.” Much like bears hibernating for the winter, grass goes dormant in order to conserve nutrients and water. Instead of using energy to grow and create chlorophyll, it goes into dormancy until the conditions are more hospitable. If your lawn contains a warm-season grass like bermuda or zoysia, it will likely turn brown during the winter.

Dead or Dormant? How to Tell if Your Grass is Alive

There are several ways to determine whether or not your grass is dormant.

  • One of the simplest ways to tell if grass is dead is to try the “tug test.” As the name implies, simply grasp some of the brown grass and give it a tug. If the grass is dead, it will come right out with even a gentle tug. If it’s still alive, you’d know because it would take more pressure to pull out.
  • Another easy way to determine if your grass is dead or just dormant is to look at the brown areas. Is the brown across your whole lawn, or just in parts? If the grass is dormant, then all of the areas with the same type of grass will be uniformly brown. However, if the brown areas are irregular or appear in patches, you may have another problem on your hands.
    Other causes of brown grass include (just to name a few):
  • Root rot
  • Slime mold
  • Blight
  • Grass rust
  • Leaf spot
  • Dollar spot
  • Fairy rings
  • Of course, the easiest way to keep your lawn healthy and looking great is to hire a lawn care company. At Simply Green, we make it easy to keep your yard looking top-notch with seasonal weed control and fertilization service tailored to your lawn’s unique needs. If the brown spots are caused by a turf disease, fungus, or infestation, we can treat the problem and help you restore your lawn to its former glory with aeration and seeding. In fact, your lawn will be better, healthier, and more attractive than ever.

To set up a free lawn analysis and get an estimate on residential lawncare services, head over to our website and fill out this form. You can also give us a call at 770-923-0387 to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!

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.

Simply Green Lawn Care
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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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