When a species of grass doesn’t have access to sufficient moisture to keep itself healthy, it will enter a state of dormancy until it can be assured that a healthy level of moisture has returned. In the case of Bermuda grass, you can expect your lawn to go dormant once temperatures are consistently low.
Bermuda grass will typically go dormant when the temperature of the ground drops below 55 degrees F for an extended period of time. While a single drop to that temperature may not lead to your grass entering dormancy, you can come to expect this to happen in the colder months of the year.
How Long is Bermuda Grass Dormant?
The amount of time that Bermuda grass remains dormant is up to where you live and how long you can expect your low temperatures to last. I
f you had an abnormally cold month, then you may get away with your Bermuda grass remaining dormant for only a couple of weeks, but this can stretch into months.
In most cases, Bermuda grass is planted in the warmer southern states, so you don’t have to worry about the dormancy period lasting too long.
In some states, Bermuda grass may not even go dormant because of how high the average temperature is, even in the colder months.
How Do You Get Bermuda Out of Dormancy?
Unless you have a way of controlling the climate of your yard year-round, there isn’t much that you can do to get Bermuda grass out of dormancy. Even though we mentioned that a lack of moisture is the main reason why the grass goes dormant, you won’t be able to get out of it by watering it. While you still need to water the grass, we’ll discuss that further later on.
The best way to get Bermuda out of dormancy is simply to stay patient, as it will eventually come out of its dormant state as soon as the temperature and weather conditions are ideal for it. As we’ve previously stated, this depends on the month and exactly where you’re located.
Which Months Does Bermuda Grass Get Dormant?
The dormant months of Bermuda grass are entirely dependent on the region that you live in, and some areas don’t even have dormancy for Bermuda grass unless there are extraordinary conditions. For example, if you live in Southern California, Florida, or the Southwest, then your grass probably won’t go dormant.
However, if you live on the Gulf Coast, then you can expect the dormancy period to last between December and January. On the Atlantic Coast, you can expect to have to deal with your grass going dormant between mid-November and mid- to late-March.
Should You Cut Dormant Bermuda Grass?
When Bermuda grass is dormant, it essentially stops growing, and this means that it won’t be able to heal after you cut it. However, there are a few fringe cases in which you can cut your Bermuda grass while it’s still dormant, and this is usually just before it exits the dormant phase.
When you notice that your soil is starting to rise above 60 degrees F consistently, then you can expect your Bermuda grass to exit its dormant phase shortly. When this happens, mow your lawn once, at a height of about 1 inch to get rid of dead grass and create healthier lawn when it starts to grow back.
Should You Water Dormant Bermuda Grass?
If temperatures are below 40 degrees F, then you should never water your dormant Bermuda grass because of the risk of the water freezing and damaging your lawn. You should also let any frost on your grass melt in the morning before you start watering it if temperatures are above 40 degrees F.
Also, be sure to cut down on the amount of water you provide the grass during its dormant phase. You should only stick to about half an inch of water every week, which is about a half hour of active sprinkling. If you’re in a rainy area, you may not need to water your Bermuda grass at all when it’s dormant.
Is it Okay to Spray Roundup on Dormant Bermuda?
If your grass has only just gone dormant, then you may feel like it’s the best possible time to attack those pesky weeds that are popping up on your lawn. Unfortunately, Glyphosate weed killers require the grass to be active so that they can work, if you use Roundup while your grass is dormant, you’re just wasting your time.
You should stick to using Roundup between spring and summer for this very reason. This is because Glyphosate weed killers like Roundup enter the grass’s system through its leaves, but these pathways will be closed off to the weed killer while the Bermuda grass is dormant.
Should You Use Milorganite on Dormant Bermuda Grass?
Milorganite is one of the most effective ways to keep your grass fertilized because of how the microbes that make it up enter the grass’s system and slowly give off nitrogen. This nitrogen helps the soil become richer and ensures that your Bermuda grass grows more healthily.
Much like when you cut dormant Bermuda grass, you’ll want to wait until it’s just about to leave its period of dormancy to ensure that you get the best possible results out of your milorganite. Due to how long it takes Bermuda grass to grow, slow-release fertilizers like milorganite are the best possible choice.
Bermuda grass is highly dependent on the region in which it is grown, so you can expect to deal with the most dormancy in regions on the Atlantic Coast like North and South Carolina. In some places, you may not even have to go through a dormancy period with your grass, like in Florida.
While the amount of maintenance you have to do when your grass is dormant will drop significantly, make sure that you keep watering it and caring for it to ensure that it can rebound better and stronger than ever.