In regions where Bermuda grass enters winter dormancy, it greens up in spring when nighttime lows stay above 60℉ (16℃) for 3–5 days. This can occur anywhere between February and April, depending on regional and yearly weather patterns.
It’s important to keep in mind that dormant Bermuda grass is not dead grass. It still needs care and has some watering needs. If you don’t like the look of dormant Bermuda, you can keep your lawn green year-round by overseeding with annual ryegrass in fall, which will stay green through the winter.
Table of Contents
Why Does Bermuda Grass Turn Brown in Winter?
As a warm-season grass, Bermuda struggles to produce chlorophyll as temperatures drop, causing it to lose color gradually. It goes completely dormant if temperatures reach the freezing point.
- Temperatures below 55℉ (13℃) cause Bermuda grass to struggle to produce chlorophyll, turning it brown.
- When temperatures reach freezing (32℉, 0℃), Bermuda enters complete dormancy.
- If it’s cold enough for frost to form, Bermuda will go dormant.
Dormant Bermuda grass is still alive. Temperatures are not cold enough to cause large-scale Bermuda grass death until they get as low as 0℉ (-18℃). If your Bermuda is beginning to turn brown in fall, it’s no cause for alarm.
At What Temperature Does Bermuda Grass Come Out of Dormancy?
Soil temperature is the trigger that causes Bermuda grass lawns to turn green in spring. A soil temperature of at least 65℉ (18℃) signals Bermuda grass to exit dormancy and begin actively producing chlorophyll again. These conditions typically occur when daytime temperatures are around 75℉ (24℃) and nighttime temperatures are above 60℉ (16℃).
- Bermuda grass exits dormancy when soil temperature rises to 65℉ (18℃) in spring.
- You can check the soil temperature using this soil thermometer.
- Optimal soil temperatures for green-up typically coincide with highs of 75℉ (24℃) and lows of 60℉ (16℃).
Keep an eye on the thermometer as winter comes to a close. Once conditions are ripe for Bermuda grass to turn green, there are steps you can take to make sure it greens up faster and stronger.
Why is Your Bermuda Grass Not Turning Green?
If your Bermuda lawn isn’t turning green in spring, it’s likely for one of two reasons:
- Soil temperatures are too cold for Bermuda lawns to exit dormancy.
- Your lawn suffered winter desiccation.
Winter desiccation occurs when Bermuda grass lawns are subjected to winter drought. Dry winter conditions can damage roots and hinder green-up, sometimes even killing lawns. To prevent your Bermuda grass from suffering a winter season drought, water once per month if you have received less than 1 inch of precipitation in the past 4 weeks. An hour with a sprinkler once every 4 weeks will provide enough water for a dormant Bermuda lawn.
How to Get the Most Out of Bermuda Spring Green-Up
A good green-up in your lawn results in a lush and thick Bermuda yard that chokes out weeds. In order to make sure your Bermuda grass comes roaring to life in spring and keep weeds out, do the following:
- Fertilize in fall: Apply a warm-season grass fertilizer in October–November. Your Bermuda will store energy from this fertilizer throughout the dormant season and green up faster in spring.
- Water in winter: As discussed above, provide 1 inch of water every 3–4 weeks during dormancy, if natural precipitation is not meeting these needs. This will keep your grass strong through winter.
- Scalp in spring: Just before your lawn begins to green up, scalp your Bermuda. This will remove dead growth and promote a faster green-up.
- Fertilize after scalping: Once your lawn has begun to turn green, apply a non-burning fertilizer that promotes green color and root growth.
These tips will not only make your lawn look better faster, but they also contribute to overall grass health, prevent disease, and work as weed prevention in Bermuda grass lawns.
How to Keep a Bermuda Grass Lawn Green in Winter
If you don’t like the look of brown Bermuda grass lawns, you can maintain a green lawn year-round by overseeding Bermuda grass with Perennial Ryegrass in the fall. This grass will stay green down to freezing temperatures. Then, as temperatures rise and Bermuda greens up, the Ryegrass will naturally die off.
To overseed Bermuda lawns with Perennial Ryegrass, follow these steps:
- In September–October spread a Perennial Ryegrass seed mix.
- Spread 5–10 pounds of seed per 1000 square feet of lawn.
- Water for 10 minutes 2–3 times per day until Ryegrass begins to sprout (typically 7 days).
- Reduce watering to once per day in week 2. Then, gradually return to your regular watering schedule in weeks 3 and 4.
What Month Does Bermuda Grass Turn Green?
Bermuda grass turns green in spring, between February and April, when daytime temperatures rise to around 75℉ (24℃) and nights stay above 60℉ (16℃). Once temperatures stabilize at this point for 3–5 consecutive days, the grass begins to produce chlorophyll again and green-up.
In order to promote the best green-up, fertilize Bermuda lawns in fall, provide an inch of water per month in winter, scalp the lawn while it’s still dormant in early spring, and apply an iron-rich fertilizer in spring. By late spring, your lawn will be green, weed-free, and growing fast.