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lawns and gardens coming out of dormancy

Lawns and Gardens Coming Out of Dormancy


As the grip of winter gives way to the promise of a new season, our lawns and gardens begin to stir from their dormancy, signaling the time for rejuvenation and growth. For homeowners, it’s essential to understand what to expect during this transition and how to support the awakening process.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the characteristics of lawns and plants as they emerge from dormancy, how to differentiate between dormant and dead growth, and the best practices for bringing them back to life.

lawns and gardens coming out of dormancy
New grass sprouting next to older grass blades.

Signs of Emergence in Lawns and Gardens

When your lawns and landscapes start to emerge from dormancy, you may notice various signs signaling the onset of growth and renewal.

In lawns, look for a gradual greening of the grass and a thickening of turf as new blades begin to emerge.

Plants, shrubs, and trees may exhibit swelling buds, the appearance of new shoots, or the development of fresh foliage. These indicators herald the return of vitality to your outdoor spaces.

Distinguishing Dormant from Dead Growth

An essential aspect of this transition is differentiating between dormant and dead growth within your lawn and landscape. Dormant grass appears brown or yellowish. Upon close inspection, you’ll find that the crowns and root system are still viable.

Hinkamp (n.d.) as long as the crown remains alive, the grass has the capability to recover once temperature and moisture conditions improve.

This is a natural adaptation to conserve energy during harsh conditions. Conversely, dead grass will be dry, brittle, and frail. Often showing no signs of life even in favorable weather. Similarly, dormant shrubs and trees will exhibit pliable and flexible branches, while dead ones will be brittle and devoid of any green tissues.

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Promoting Growth and Rejuvenation

bring lawn out of dormancy
Water dry grass in evening or early morning.

To encourage healthy growth and expedite the transition from dormancy, homeowners need to implement several measures tailored to the specific needs of their lawns and plants:

Proper Nutrition: Apply a balanced fertilizer to lawns and plant beds to provide essential nutrients for new growth. Consider using a slow-release formula to sustain healthy development over an extended period.

Adequate Watering: As plants and grass reawaken, ensure they receive adequate moisture. Deep and infrequent watering will encourage strong root systems and support robust foliage growth. Read our lawn watering guide.

Pruning and Maintenance: Trim back dead or damaged branches on trees and shrubs to stimulate new growth. Additionally, tidy up plant beds to remove any remnants of winter and prepare for the new season. We can help. Check out our Tree and Shrub Trimming Service Page.

Mulching: Lay down a layer of organic mulch around trees, shrubs, and garden beds to retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and curb weed growth. Soil rejuvenation is a service we offer.

Professional Treatments: Engage the services of lawn care experts like Ryno Lawn Care LLC to administer targeted treatments such as aeration, and specialized fertilization to revitalize your lawn and landscape. Look over our Weed and Feed Schedule to find out how to get back on track.

Banks (2022) warm season grasses are very susceptible to herbicide damage when they are sprayed as they are coming out of dormancy. Hand pulling would be the preferred method of weed control this time of the year.

cosmos flowers
Cosmos flowers in spring.

Looking Ahead to Vibrant Outdoor Spaces

As your lawns and landscapes transition out of dormancy, patience and attentive care are essential in ushering in a successful awakening.

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By recognizing the distinctive characteristics of stimulated growth, homeowners will look forward to lush, flourishing outdoor spaces brimming with renewed life.

Embrace the changing season and seize the opportunity to nurture your lawns and landscapes back to their full glory.


Hinkamp, D. (n.d.). Is your lawn dead or dormant. Utah State University.

Banks, S. (2022, April 1). Grasses coming out of dormancy. North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

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