In most regions of Texas, grass goes dormant in November and begins to exit dormancy in March. However, warm regions in South and Southeast Texas may have shorter dormant periods spanning from December to February. In colder areas of North and West Texas, lawns might begin to turn brown in October and may not fully exit dormancy until April.
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Does Grass Go Dormant in Texas?
Almost all grasses go dormant in Texas during the winter. On rare occasions, lawns in Southeast and South Texas may remain green all year round, but most are only partially green in areas where buildings and trees protect your lawn from cold winds. Texas winters simply are too cold for grass blades to remain green all year.
- Grass goes dormant in practically every region of Texas.
- On rare occasions, mild winters will allow grass to stay partially green in the warmest areas of Texas.
- Grass is triggered to enter dormancy by soil temperatures, so an early winter will make your lawn go dormant sooner.
Because grass enters dormancy when soil temperatures drop to a certain point, the time at which your lawn turns brown differs from year to year. A mild winter means your lawn will stay green longer, while a winter that brings snow and ice may cause dormant grass to appear early.
At What Temperature Does Grass Go Dormant in Winter?
Almost all of Texas is planted with warm-season grasses that go dormant when the soil temperature drops down between 50 and 60℉. This applies to Bermuda, St. Augustine, Centipede grass, Zoysia, and Buffalo grass lawns.
- Warm-season grasses (Bermuda, Buffalo, Centipede, St. Augustine, Zoysia) enter dormancy at temperatures 50 and 60℉.
- Cool-season grasses (Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, Ryegrass) go dormant at temperatures below 50℉.
If you’re considering the best grass for North Texas and choose a cool-season grass, such as Fescue, then your grass will stay green later into winter. Fescues and other cool-season grasses do not typically begin to enter dormancy until soil temperatures go below 50℉.
What Months is Grass Dormant? Texas Regional Guide
As the largest state in the Continental US, Texas has several different regions with unique weather patterns. The same species of grass may go dormant at very different times depending on whether it’s grown in Corpus Christi or Amarillo. Below is a guide to typical dormancy schedules based on each region of Texas.
Houston and Southeast Texas
The Bermuda grass and St. Augustine lawns common to the Houston area begin to go dormant near Thanksgiving. They typically exit dormancy by mid-February. St. Augustine lawns in East Texas may retain some green blades throughout winter. If you have a Bermuda lawn, plan on scalping your lawn as it greens up.
Dallas/Fort Worth and North Texas
Warm-season grass lawns in the DFW region typically enter dormancy in early to mid-November and remain brown until March. However, some lawns in North Texas are planted with Fescue. If you have Fescue growing in your lawn, expect it to enter dormancy in late November or early December, then begin to green up again in early March.
San Antonio Region
Cold nights in the San Antonio area can cause lawns to begin going dormant in early November. In most cases, lawns do not begin to green up again until mid-March. However, the exact timing of winter dormancy depends on yearly temperature fluctuations.
Austin, Waco, and Central Texas
Most lawns in Austin will go into dormancy by mid-November. The lingering winters of the Hill Country often delay spring green-up. Your Austin-area lawn may remain brown until April. Consider choosing a grass with higher cold tolerance so cold weather doesn’t turn your lawn brown for several months out of the year.
Warm weather in the Corpus Christi region means that in some winters, your lawn may not go dormant at all. Even if the winter does bite hard enough to turn your lawn brown, dormancy typically only lasts from December until late-February.
Cold winters from San Angelo west to El Paso can begin to turn warm-season grass lawns brown as early as October, with spring green up arriving as late as April. However, cool-season grass lawns will defy winter and remain green later into the year.
When Should You Winterize Your Lawn in Texas?
The time when you should begin your final mowing before the winter months depends on the region of Texas you live in. A quick guide to dormancy by region is:
- Southeast Texas: Late November/Early December
- North Texas: Mid-November
- San Antonio Region: Early to mid-November
- Austin Area: Mid-November
- South Texas: Early December
- West Texas: Late October or early November
Armed with an expected calendar for grass dormancy for your region, you can make plans for final watering, fertilization, and lawn cleanup before cold arrives.