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Does Bermuda Grass Go Dormant in Southern California?

Because Bermuda grass goes dormant when soil temperatures dip below 55℉, it will enter dormancy in many regions of Southern California. If you live in a coastal region with cool nights, or parts of the Central Valley where nighttime frost is common, expect your Bermuda grass to go dormant in December and green up again in March. However, warm regions in the Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego areas may have green Bermuda grass all year round.

Does Bermuda grass go dormant in Southern California?

At What Temperature Does Bermuda Grass Go Dormant?

An average soil temperature of 55℉ that persists for more than 3 days will trigger Bermuda grass to enter dormancy. The exact time when your Bermuda grass goes dormant depends on your local region and the year’s unique weather patterns. Typically, daytime temperatures below 65℉ are cold enough to cause Bermuda grass to go dormant.

  • Soil temperatures 55℉ and lower will cause Bermuda grass to go dormant.
  • Check your local soil temperature using this free online tool.
  • In desert regions with cool nights, Bermuda grass may go dormant in winter even if daytime temperatures are relatively high.

Many regions of Southern California experience cold desert nights and warm days. So, even if the daytime temperatures are high, nightly cold snaps can make Bermuda grass go dormant. This is likely to happen in Palm Springs, the High Desert region, and the Lancaster/Palmdale area.

How Do You Know if Your Bermuda Grass is Dormant vs. Dead?

Dormant Bermuda grass will be brown, but it’s not dead. To make sure your Bermuda is simply in its dormant period, grab a handful of grass and tug. If it is firmly rooted and resists being pulled up, it’s alive but dormant. If the grass feels spongy and uproots easily, it’s likely dead.

  • Brown Bermuda grass in winter is likely dormant, not dead.
  • Dormant grass feels dry and tough when pulled. It does not pull out of the ground easily.
  • Dead grass feels spongy or slick and pulls out of the ground easily.

Like most warm-season grasses, Bermuda goes dormant when temperatures drop in fall. It will often stay in this dormant state throughout the winter months, then green up again in spring. Don’t get too worried when your grass turns brown in winter—dormant grass is not dead grass.

Bermuda Grass Dormancy In Different Southern California Regions

If you’ve recently moved to a new home in Southern California and want to know whether to expect dormant grass or a green lawn year-round, the answer depends on your region. The mountain ranges and coastlines make Southern California a unique place with several microclimates. Let’s break down the expected dormancy for Bermuda grass in each region.

Does Bermuda Grass Go Dormant in Los Angeles?

In most neighborhoods of Los Angeles, your Bermuda grass will remain green and thick throughout the year. Although there are some outlier years with cold snaps hard enough to send Bermuda grass into dormancy for a few weeks, most years don’t get this cold. You can expect a green lawn year-round in Los Angeles, Long Beach, and The Valley.

Does Bermuda Grass Go Dormant in Orange County?

Bermuda grass may go dormant during winter in the coastal cities of Orange County. Cool ocean air and overcast days in San Clemente, Laguna Beach, and Newport Beach may cause warm-season grass like Bermuda to turn brown. However, inland Orange County cities like Santa Ana, Anaheim, and Irvine typically have green Bermuda lawns year-round.

Does Bermuda Grass Go Dormant in San Diego?

Similar to Orange County, homes in the coastal area of San Diego county may get enough coastal cloud cover and cool days to cause Bermuda to go dormant in winter. However, inland areas tend to stay green all year long.

Does Bermuda Grass Go Dormant in Riverside/Inland Empire?

Due to the cooler nights that Riverside County and the Inland Empire experience in winter (compared to Los Angeles County) it is common for warm-season grasses such as Bermuda to go dormant. Typically, this dormant period begins in December and ends by March. By late spring, your lawn will be fully green and thriving again.

Does Bermuda Grass Go Dormant in Bakersfield/Central Valley?

Due to the cool winter nights of California’s Central Valley, Bermuda grass lawns in Bakersfield and the surrounding cities have a fairly long period of dormancy. Your lawn may begin to turn brown as early as November before greening up again in April. Bermuda is still a good choice for this region since cool-season grasses can’t handle a Central Valley summer. However, some homeowners in the region overseed their Bermuda lawns with annual ryegrass in the fall to keep them green year-round.

When Will Dormant Bermuda Grass Green Up?

Bermuda grass starts to exit dormancy when soil temperatures rise above 60℉, on average. The exact time when your Bermuda grass turns green depends on your region as well as the annual weather patterns.

  • Bermuda grass begins to exit dormancy once average soil temperatures top 60℉ for a few consecutive days.
  • Depending on the Southern Californian region you live in, dormancy may last a few weeks or several months.

In coastal regions of California, the dormant season for Bermuda grass may last only a few weeks. In the High Desert and Central Valley, your lawn may lack green blades of grass for 3 months.

Does Bermuda Grass Go Dormant During the Winter in Southern California?

Whether or not your Bermuda lawn goes dormant during the mild Southern California winter may depend on that year’s unique weather pattern. However, there are some quick guidelines for whether or not your lawn will go dormant based on your home’s location. These rules are:

  • Los Angeles: Typically remains green year-round.
  • Orange County: Typically remains green, but may enter brief dormancy in coastal areas.
  • San Diego: Often stays green, but may go dormant in coastal neighborhoods.
  • Riverside Area: Enters brief winter dormancy.
  • Bakersfield Area: May enter multi-month winter dormancy.

Bermuda makes for excellent turf grass in Southern California due to its relatively low water needs. Don’t be alarmed if your Bermuda lawn turns brown during a cold snap. A well-cared-for lawn will bounce back as soon as the weather warms up again.

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