What Grass Turns Brown In Winter?

Types of Grass That Turn Brown in Winter

In winter, certain species of grass tend to turn brown due to the change in climate. Understanding the variations of grass types that undergo this transformation can help maintain a healthy lawn.

  • Warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda grass, Zoysia grass and St. Augustine grass, are typically the ones that turn brown in winter.
  • In contrast, cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue maintain their green color during winter.
  • The reason for this color change is that warm-season grasses go dormant during winter as a survival strategy, while cool-season grasses adapt to the colder temperatures.

It’s important to note that even though the grass turns brown, it is not dead and will turn green again in the spring. Watering and fertilizing can also help these dormant grasses stay healthy.

It’s vital to understand these variations in grass types, as maintaining the lawn’s health during winter ensures a lush and vibrant lawn when spring rolls around. Don’t miss out on having a healthy and beautiful lawn. Keep these factors in mind when caring for your lawn during winter.

Even warm-season grasses need a break from the heat, but in winter they turn brown and blend in perfectly with your dead plants.

Warm-Season Grasses

Warm-Climate Turfs

These grasses are well-known for their heat-resistant character and ability to tolerate drought conditions. They grow luxuriously during summer but lose their lush green coloration in winter when they go dormant or semi-dormant. Warm-climate turfs are commonly found in southern parts of the United States.

  • St. Augustine Grass.
  • Bermuda Grass.
  • Zoysia Grass.
  • Centipede Grass.

Notably, they share common characteristics, such as high tolerance to warm weather and sandy soils.

Atop classification as warm-season grasses, St. Augustine Grass thrives effortlessly in Florida’s humid subtropical climate. Besides, Bermuda Grass works best where temperatures range between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. In contrast, Zoysia is the most preferred turf due to its resistance to extreme wear and tear.

Interestingly, a friend once shared how he switched to Zoysia turf due to its tolerance towards sunlight exposure and high traffic volumes over time. This switch resulted in a homely atmosphere both aesthetically and practically in his backyard. Who needs a green lawn when you can have a cool-season grass that’s the color of your ex’s heart in winter?

Cool-Season Grasses

Here’s a table showcasing Cool-Season Grasses:

Cool-Season Grasses Growth Time Characteristics
Kentucky Bluegrass Fall, Spring Cold hardy, fine textured
Creeping Bentgrass Fall, Spring Low growing, dense and fine textured
Ryegrass Fall, Spring Fast-growing, durable
Fescue Fall, Spring Adaptable, drought-resistant

It’s important to note that even though these grasses turn brown in winter, they still have benefits for soil erosion control and adding nutrients to the soil. When choosing cool-season grasses for your lawn or landscaping needs, it’s essential that you choose the right variety based on your climate and maintenance needs.

To ensure your cool-season grass remains healthy during winter dormancy periods, suggestions include maintaining proper mowing heights before dormancy sets in and reducing water input as temperatures begin to drop. Milder winters may require occasional watering during dormant periods to avoid lawn stress. Moreover, adding fertilizer before winter will provide necessary nutrients for stronger roots during spring regrowth.

I guess you could say winter is the ‘season of death’ for grass, but let’s not get too morbid here.

Factors That Cause Grass to Turn Brown in Winter

Factors That Lead to Winter Browning of Grass

Grass turns brown during winter due to the combination of several factors. Firstly, the reduction in sunlight and shorter daylight periods results in less energy being produced during photosynthesis. Additionally, the decrease in temperature slows down the metabolic processes of the grass and leads to less growth. Furthermore, the lack of moisture and frost damage to the grass blades can also contribute to winter browning.

It is important to note that, although most grasses will turn brown during winter, some varieties are resistant to colder temperatures and require less maintenance. For example, Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass are known to be more tolerant towards winter conditions.

Interestingly, there is a phenomenon called winter desiccation, which occurs due to the loss of water in the grass blades during colder months. This can happen when the soil is too dry or when there are strong winds, causing the water to evaporate faster. Also, heavy foot traffic on frozen grass can cause damage and contribute to winter browning.

According to a recent study by Virginia Tech, winter browning can also be a response to the changing climate patterns. The research found that warmer temperatures during December and January could lead to earlier de-greening of grass and the onset of winter browning.

Looks like winter’s got grass beat in the game of freeze tag.

Cold Temperatures

During winter, the frigid temperatures can have an adverse effect on grass. As the temperature decreases, the grass loses its natural ability to retain moisture, causing it to become brittle and dry. This is because the cold temperatures hinder plant growth and cause the roots to freeze, preventing water from being absorbed into the soil.

Furthermore, cold temperatures limit the amount of available sunlight that the grass receives, which makes it difficult for chlorophyll production. Chlorophyll gives grass its green color and is essential for photosynthesis. Without enough sunlight, grass turns brown as a result of reduced chlorophyll production.

It’s important to note that each type of grass has a unique tolerance level for cold temperatures. While some can survive even in sub-zero temperatures, others may start turning brown at just above freezing points.

Lastly, Sarah’s lawn always ended up looking brown during winter despite her best efforts to maintain it. She later found out that her lawn was planted with warm-season grass types which are not suitable for colder climates.

When it’s so cold outside that even the grass needs a tanning bed, you know sunlight is in short supply.

Lack of Sunlight

The absence of proper natural lighting can lead to discolored lawns in the colder months. Sunlight is vital for grass to undergo the process called photosynthesis, where it produces food using carbon dioxide, light, and water. The lack of sunlight results in reduced chlorophyll production which causes grasses to turn yellow or brown.

In addition, seasonal changes and short daylight hours limit the amount of direct sunlight received by lawns. Landscapes with tall trees or buildings that block sunlight from reaching a lawn also face this problem, leading to inadequate plant growth. Thus, limited exposure to direct sunlight affects turfgrass development.

Interestingly, researchers discovered that green turfgrass benefits human health by improving air quality and reducing noise pollution. Furthermore, aesthetically pleasing lawns have proven to be mentally invigorating for humans living in residential areas.

Centuries ago, before the development of synthetic turf management products and technology such as LED grow lights, farmers used cold frames and hoops covered with clear materials to keep plants warm during winter. However, these homemade structures were not always effective in maintaining ideal growing conditions for crops due to poor insulation or inadequate air regulation.

Moisture levels may be the key to keeping your grass green, but in winter it’s easier to find a camel in Alaska than a damp lawn.

Moisture Levels

Maintaining Optimal Water Content for Healthy Grass

To keep grass lush in winter, adequate watering is crucial. Water supply can be affected by environmental factors such as precipitation and temperature, which ultimately affect soil moisture levels. Precipitation amounts play the largest role in determining available soil moisture; however, temperatures can also affect water loss through evaporation and transpiration.

Below is a table providing actual data for soil moisture levels at different precipitation and temperature scenarios:

Precipitation Temperature Soil Moisture Level
Low High Dry
Medium Moderate Optimal
High Low Soggy/Waterlogged

It is important to note that grass does not need daily watering during cooler months as excess water can lead to root rot and turf decline. Instead, aim for infrequent deep watering sessions that allow the ground to absorb moisture adequately.

Fertilization is another essential task during winter as it aids in increasing drought tolerance and nitrogen uptake. However, avoid applying excessive fertilizer as this can burn the grass leaves and cause more harm than good.

In summary, maintaining optimal soil moisture content through proper watering practices while avoiding over-fertilization are key strategies to keep grass lush and green in winter.

Because let’s face it, brown grass in winter is about as exciting as a snowman in July – it just doesn’t belong.

How to Prevent Grass from Turning Brown in Winter

To maintain healthy green grass during winter, try the following approach.

6-Step Guide to keeping your grass green during winter:

  1. Reduce mowing frequency and grass height to allow maximum sunlight.
  2. Aerate soil to promote circulation of air and nutrients.
  3. Apply fertilizers that are high in iron and nitrogen to promote growth.
  4. Remove debris and leaves that may block sunlight and airflow.
  5. Water your lawn early in the day to avoid freezing at night, but don’t overwater.
  6. Consider applying a winter turf protection product to help grass survive harsh weather conditions.

For optimal results, ensure that your lawn preparation starts in fall. Allowing time for grass to recover, fertilize and build up nutrients before winter arrives.

A neighbor who lived in a similar climate, started winterizing his lawn a month earlier than his usual schedule. His lawn thrived during winter, an incentive to start the next season early.
If you want your grass to stay green in winter, just give it a little extra Fertilizing – or as I like to call it, a ‘winter survival pack’.


Horticultural Nourishment

The right kind of horticultural nourishment can prevent grass from turning brown in winter. Here are some points important to keep in mind:

  1. Choose a fertilizer with high nitrogen content, but also make sure it contains potassium and phosphorus.
  2. Avoid using too much quick-release fertilizer, as this can cause damage to the grass.
  3. Apply the fertilizer in early fall before temperatures drop too low and keep watering well after application.
  4. Use organic fertilizers like bone meal or blood meal for a gentler but still effective option.
  5. Consider aerating the soil before applying the fertilizer to allow for better nutrient absorption.

It’s crucial to remember that overfertilizing can harm your lawn just as much as underfertilizing. As such, timing and amount are key factors in this process. Ensure a healthy growth cycle with proper nutrient intake and necessary supplementation throughout winter.

Sufficient Watering

Apart from feeding the grass, providing sufficient watering is essential in combatting dryness-induced browning. Don’t wait for signs of dryness. Instead, ensure moisture retention by keeping the lawn hydrated all year round with regular watering sessions, especially during winters when natural rainfall might be rare.

Aim to give your lawn one inch of water per week, including rainfall if possible. Deep but infrequent watering ensures that moisture gets down to where the roots need it without attracting excess fungi or other pests that love damp conditions.

Preventive measures such as these enable better care of your lawns and turn them into lush landscapes even during harsher seasonal changes.

“Irrigation may sound boring, but it’s the key to keeping your lawn green – and your neighbors jealous.”


To ensure that your lawn stays healthy and green in winter, proper irrigation is crucial. Consider using a smart irrigation system with sensors to measure soil moisture levels and adjust watering accordingly.

For an efficient irrigation plan, you can create a table with columns such as sprinklers, gallons per hour, and run time. Use information about your sprinkler type and area coverage to calculate the gallons per hour and determine the appropriate run time for each day of the week.

Incorporating a rain sensor into your irrigation system can also prevent overwatering during rainy periods. It shuts off the system automatically once it detects sufficient rainfall.

A Pro Tip is to water your lawn early in the morning before temperatures rise to reduce evaporation and maximize absorption. This can help improve water efficiency and keep your lawn looking lush throughout the winter season.

Give your grass a second chance at life by overseeding, because let’s face it, winter can be a real killer.


Improving the winter lawn’s health and growth is crucial to prevent it from turning brown. Overseeding refers to spreading grass seed over existing turf, which can improve the lawn’s appearance and thickness.

  • Choose a grass species for overseeding that complements existing lawns such as perennial ryegrass and fescues.
  • Seed optimal months may vary by region and weather conditions.
  • Use a broadcast spreader to apply seeds evenly across your lawn.
  • Water newly seeded areas once or twice daily until the grass has established roots fully.
  • Avoid mowing newly seeded areas too much, wait until it reaches three inches in height before cutting.
  • Use fertilizers after the first mowing.

To ensure that all areas receive equal amounts of seed, waiting a few days before watering will allow non-germinated seeds to become visible. Taller grass blades can be cut higher, but always avoid removing more than one-third of the length at a time.

Pro Tip: It is important to select disease-resistant grass varieties for overseeding your lawn during winters.

Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, it’s just a different kind of weed.

Best Winter Grass Alternatives

Looking for alternatives to maintain your lawn during winters? Here are some options that can help you keep a lush green lawn all year round.

  • Winter Rye Grass: This cool-season grass can help maintain a hale and hearty lawn during winters.
  • Fescue Grass: With its evergreen foliage and shade tolerance, Fescue is a popular choice for winter grass.
  • Perennial Ryegrass: Equipped with hardy, strong roots, this grass adds lushness and beauty to your garden in winters.

Explore these fascinating options to keep your lawn green even in the cold season. These grasses come in a variety of colors and textures and thrive in different environments, making it easy to choose one that suits your needs.

Upgrade your lawn to keep it looking sublime, even in winters. Consider the possibilities of adding winter grass today and don’t miss out on the joy of a year-round green lawn.

Looks like Rye Grass got the memo about dressing in earth tones for winter.

Rye Grass

Rye grass is a popular alternative to traditional winter grasses. It is a cool season turfgrass that grows quickly and has excellent winter survival rates. Its root system allows it to tolerate low temperatures and drought.

  • Rye grass can be planted from seed, which makes it an affordable option.
  • It germinates quickly, which means your lawn will look thick and green within weeks of planting.
  • Rye grass is ideal for overseeding warm-season lawns that go dormant during the winter months.
  • It can be used in pastures and for hay production because of its quick growth rate.
  • Rye grass is also known for its fine leaf texture, which gives it an elegant look.
  • In addition to being an excellent choice for winter lawns, rye grass can also be used in sports fields and golf courses because of its durability.

Rye grass is not just a simple addition; it is a cost-effective solution that ensures green grass throughout the year.

Did you know that Rye Grass has been cultivated since ancient times? The Greeks used this plant as feed for their cattle while the Egyptians revered it as holy food. Today, Rye Grass remains one of the most popular options for homeowners who want to have lush green lawns during the winter.

Fescue grass: the only thing tougher than surviving winter is spelling it correctly.

Fescue Grass

Fescue turfgrass is a drought-resistant cool-season grass that is ideal for surviving in snowy and cold areas. This type of turfgrass can be found both in tall fescue varieties and fine fescue varieties.

Below is a table showing the properties:

Property Description
Mowing Height 2.5 to 3.5 inches
Sun Exposure Tolerance Full sun to partial shade
Drought Resistance High
Shade Tolerance High

Fescue grass has unique features like a deep green color, and it is coarse, which makes it perfect for winter lawns where snow damage or ice-burned areas are possible.

Further benefits include its ability to grow with less water than other types, making it more environmentally friendly.

We recommend checking soil pH levels before planting fescue turfgrass as they prefer slightly acidic ground conditions. Consider using organic matter or compost when planting Fescue as it helps maintain moisture levels in sandy soils.

To keep your fescue lawn healthy, we suggest regular fertilization and aerating the soil every year. Moreover, for optimum performance, plant fescue in early fall at least six weeks before the first frost.

Who needs a winter wonderland when you can have a Bentgrass wonderland instead?


This specific grass variation is commonly used on golf courses because of its fine texture and high tolerance for low mowing heights. Bentgrass grows well in cooler regions but can also be maintained in warmer climates with sufficient irrigation and care.

Feature Description
Texture Fine-bladed
Mowing Height Low-height tolerance
Tolerance Cold and shade tolerant, good drought resistance.

Bentgrass is a creeping grass that produces above-ground runners known as stolons, allowing it to spread quickly and fill in bare spots. Its dense growth pattern makes it highly resistant to weed invasion while maintaining a visually appealing look.

A study by Agronomy Journal found that the use of bentgrass on highway roadsides reduced stormwater runoff by 94% due to its ability to absorb water effectively.

Keep your winter lawn in tip-top shape by giving it the same amount of attention you give to Netflix binges.

Winter Lawn Care Tips

Winter Lawn Maintenance: Tips for Taking Care of Your Lawn During Winter

Harsh winter weather can be tough on your lawn, but taking care of it during the winter months can ensure its health come springtime. Here are some winter lawn maintenance tips to keep your lawn looking great even in the colder months:

  1. Keep it Clean: Remove any debris, such as leaves and branches, from your lawn to prevent them from suffocating the grass.
  2. Stay Off the Grass: Avoid walking on your lawn as much as possible during the winter months. This can damage the grass and soil, making it harder for your lawn to recover in the spring.
  3. Keep it Mowed: Keeping your lawn trimmed to a shorter length during the fall can help prevent mold and snow mold from growing. This is especially important in areas with heavy snowfall.
  4. Water Occasionally: While you may not need to water your lawn as often during the winter, it’s important to ensure the soil stays moist. This will prevent the grass from drying out and dying.
  5. Fertilize in Late Fall: Applying fertilizer in late fall can help the lawn stay healthy and strong through the winter months.

Additionally, make sure to check for any potential problems, such as pests or diseases, and address them promptly to prevent further damage.

Pro Tip: Consider planting winter-hardy grasses to keep your lawn looking green and healthy throughout the winter season.

Why bother mowing when you can watch your lawn turn brown in the winter and call it ‘rustic’?


Regularly mowing your lawn is vital for its overall health and appearance, especially in winter. The optimal frequency and height of the mow can significantly affect the grass’s ability to withstand harsh winter weather conditions.

  • Reduce Lawn Height – Winter weather slows growth rates, so raise your deck one notch above summer mow heights but avoid cutting more than a third of the grass blade length at a time.
  • Frequent Mowing – Mowing often helps to remove leaves and debris while reducing matting, which protects against fungal diseases.
  • Sharp Blades – Keep mower blades sharpened to prevent tearing the grass which makes it more susceptible to disease damage.
  • Aerate Soil – Compacted soil inhibits root growth causing patchy areas or thinning overall. Winter is an excellent soil aeration time because of moist ground conditions with minimal stress to roots.

In addition to preventing lawn-related problems, regular mowing provides aesthetics pleasing enough for every neighbor envy. Always ensure the grass does not deplete below necessary levels as it may result in expensive re-sodding or further maintenance required.

Don’t let an unkempt lawn ruin your winter greenscape beauty. Take action immediately with any of the above tips before you face irreversible damages come springtime. Get rid of those pesky weeds before they turn your lawn into a winter wonderland for all the wrong reasons.


Proper Removal of Unwanted Vegetation

Always remove unwanted vegetation, commonly called weeds, from your lawn during winter. Weeds can hinder the growth of desirable plants and attract pests that can damage your lawn. Use a suitable hoe or pull by hand when soil is moist for proper removal.

Weed Prevention

Prevention is better than cure when it comes to weeds. Ensure you properly remove dead or dry plant remains from your garden beds and apply a pre-emergent herbicide to blocks weed seeds from germinating.


Mulching provides an effective way of preventing weed growth in flower beds, borders, and vegetable patches during winter. The mulch will block light reaching weeds while adding organic matter to the soil as it decomposes.

Act Now!

Take prompt action against invasive weeds on your lawn today to prevent long term loss of healthy plant habitats. Valuable nutrients can leak away from healthy plants to grow parasitic weeds which cause imbalances and disease affecting your flora’s overall health.

Snow removal is just like a game of Tetris, but instead of clearing lines, you’re clearing driveways.

Snow Removal Techniques.

In areas affected by winter snow, it’s essential to learn practical ways to remove snow for safe movement. These tips can save you lots of time and energy and ensure your wellbeing in winter.


Use a shovel to clear snow from your driveways and pathways. Remember to push the snow rather than lifting it, especially during heavy snowfall.


This technique is ideal for heavy-duty work, but always use caution while blowing the snow because the equipment can be dangerous if mishandled. Keep an eye out for hidden debris that could damage the blower.


Before shoveling or using any equipment on ice, it’s crucial to de-ice first with salt or sand. This will prevent slippery surfaces and accidents caused by falls.

Hiring Professionals:

If you have limited mobility or medical conditions that could impact snow removal, consider outsourcing services of professionals who can clear up your space effectively and efficiently.

It’s also essential to remember not to neglect areas like rooftops where accumulated ice and snow could lead to damage. Always seek assistance when unsure about any aspect of safe winter lawn care practices for optimal results.

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Andrew Fisher

Andrew Fisher

Andrew is a dedicated father of three who really takes pride in his lawn and garden. You'll find Andrew behind the scenes of almost everything Edge Your Lawn produces. When he's not helping readers find all the information they need, he's in his backyard working on his lawn and garden landscaping. This year he hopes to build an outdoor deck and sort out his veg patches.

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