Okanagan Grass in Dormancy


Within the Okanagan, home owners have the luxury of enjoying mixed temperatures all season, with the added benefit of cold winter months and hot summer months. With that being said, the unreasonably hot and dry summers take its toll on plant life – giving long hot days, with little to no rain. As well, the long winter months mean your grass manages with heavy snow falls, and below freezing temperatures. However, the brown and dry grass homeowners are left with is completely normal and should have no cause for concern. In fact, your grass isn’t dead, it’s simply dormant!

It’s quite a common question at Lavington Turf Farms; We have customers who aren’t used to the Okanagan summers or winters, and are more used to green grass year round. In this blog, we will take you through grass dormancy; the difference between dead or dormant grass, how your lawn will be affected, and tips we gathered from years within the industry to care for dormant sod. 

That being said, let’s get started!

Difference between dead and dormant grass

The sight of brown grass can be confusing for homeowners. It’s important to know what caused the discoloration and in the best case scenario – if your grass is still alive. There are a few simple differences in dead and dormant grass, and if the grass is dormant, you will be completely capable of having lush green grass again.

The simplest difference would be testing your lawn by pulling on a small section of brown grass to test resistance. Simply put, if you have no resistance and the grass pulls out easy – it’s dead. Another visual difference in dead and dormant grass, is that typically, dormant grass will be consistent. By this we mean, if your whole lawn is brown in colour it’s most likely dormant.

Of course, if there are small patches of brown grass inconsistent with the rest of the lawn, then those areas are most likely dead. 

Remember to act consistent and attentive with watering, and inquire to a professional if you need help deciphering between dead or dormant grass.

Grass in dormancy

Now that you know your grass is dormant, let’s talk about how your grass is revived out of dormancy. As mentioned earlier, when your grass is yellow or brown in colour and looks as if dead, there is actually a part of the root that is still intact; the crown. This inner piece remains alive and will regain life again once reactivated by moisture. When this happens, the grass will begin to transition into green lush grass again. Of course, this is greatly benefited if you have consistent waterings and treat your dormant grass with care. 

Dormant grass is in a vulnerable state, so limiting the traffic on your grass while it recovers is ideal for your grass to bounce back properly. Besides damage caused from traffic, your vulnerable lawn is susceptible to weeds when dormant. Be sure to monitor your grass frequently during dormancy and trim weeds appropriately early in the spring season. 

Laying dormant sod

Did you know that it is possible to lay dormant sod in the off seasons? It’s actually beneficial to install dormant sod grass in the early winter months to prevent erosion and mud. If monitored and treated correctly, your sod will grow roots in the early spring months, and you will have the full benefits of a healthy green lawn. When laying dormant sod, it’s important to follow a proper watering schedule, and be alert for cold dry weather, which has a high chance of drying out the root of the sod.

Dormant sod does require less water than previously laid summer sod – but you should always be mindful of the conditions year round, and water accordingly, to ensure roots form for spring. Herbicides should also not be applied until spring months once the sod is rooted.


Now we hope you feel confident and comfortable knowing that your lawn can, and will go dormant during certain seasons throughout the year, but that should give you no reason to panic. Brown grass is common and not an issue – as long as you treat your dormant grass well, then the likelihood of having green lush grass for future spring and summer seasons will happen for you. If at any point you require help determining if your grass is dormant or dead, or if you need sod for new sections of your lawn, contact us for a quote today! 

At Lavington Turf Farms, we are always here if you have any questions about your projects. We can customize our sod to fit your needs, and our drought tolerant turf will always fit the conditions.

Service Area

We proudly serve the following areas: Vernon, Coldstream, Lumby, Salmon Arm, Sorrento, Revelstoke, Kamloops, Kelowna, Penticton, Kootenays, and Caribou, all the way to the USA Border.

For more information or a free quote for your project, please visit this page on our website. 

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