So, it may be a tough thing to think about, but did you know that there is a time when grass normally stops growing? A lot of people wonder the same thing, and then they think their lawn’s done growing. The next thing you know, they have to mow again before the winter sets in and can’t figure out why. Well, in this guide, we’re going to tell you when grass stops growing towards the cooler months so it can prepare itself for the winter and next year. Cold weather isn’t the only thing that makes grass stop growing – there can be a handful of things that will stop your grass from growing.
What Makes Grass Stop Growing?
Heat and cold can both make the grass stop growing like it normally would. So can air and the soil itself. Your grass has to have a bit of heat, light, and of course water (nutrients too). However, when it’s not getting these things, it has a pretty neat defense system built into it just like a wild animal – it hibernates. No, it doesn’t mean that it wilts and dies, but what it does do, is tells itself to stop growing, and puts itself into a mode so it can wait until later on in the year to grow.
Grass normally grows when the temperatures of the blades are at least above 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, it will pull of its hibernation to protect itself and its root system. However, if it’s too hot, and the grass starts to get sunburnt, it will also prevent growing too much during this time as well. Of course, more moisture will help with this, especially in the soil (and humidity in the air too).
The soil isn’t the same temp as the air. It takes longer to absorb the heat from the sun, and when it does, it takes a lot longer to cool down. Therefore, if it gets to 110 degrees that day, and then immediately cools down to 80 because of a storm, your soil may still be about 100 degrees. With that in mind, you can see that while your grass isn’t going to just stop growing right away, it may not grow that day. Another thing to consider though – grass is always growing a little bit. How little or how much depends on the surrounding environmental factors.
Another thing as mentioned above, if grass isn’t going to get enough moisture, and you start noticing cracks in your soil, then there’s a good chance that your grass is going to hang tight and not grow too fast. Grass is extremely durable, but it doesn’t grow as much during droughts since it can harm itself more. At the same time, it isn’t getting as many of the nutrients, so it holds onto what it has and becomes what is known as a dormant lawn. This is why during the dryer months of the fall; your grass may not grow as much. You should still regularly maintain it though, so you can promote good reseeding and take care of your lawn properly for sustenance.
Grass normally goes dormant when the weather is below 55 degrees. However, it doesn’t actually mean it’s not alive – it means that it’s creating the enzymes and mineral that it needs for the roots and the seeds to thrive during the winter so it can grow again in the following spring. That’s why some grass can still be green during the winter months when it has plenty of sunlight, carbon-dioxide, and moisture. It is important that you have perennial grass (meaning that the grass will grow again the next year). But basically, even though you don’t see it, your grass is still alive and kicking while it’s hibernating. There are some grass seeds that are annual, but you’ll notice that your grass won’t grow as thick the next year. Sometimes this means that the blades will actually be dead unfortunately. Most lawns however aren’t like this.
So, Does Grass Ever Stop Growing?
The truth to this answer is yes. It essentially will stop growing each year when the temperature and the elements stop. There are things that you can do in order to make sure that when your grass is dormant though, that it does not die. For example, if your lawn is suffering in the summer draught, you may need to irrigate it at some point. Grass can falter if goes through draught too long though. Most grass can only handle a month or so with draught before it dies. Otherwise, you should be fine. Fortunately, even in the summer months, a little bit of rain can go a long way.
During the fall and winter months, grass does stop growing. The more you mow, the higher the chance that your yard will be prepared for the winter too. All of that grass clippings and seeds that you place on your lawn as your last mow will not only help feed and nurture the soil, but also the grass for the next year. Once the temperature is going to be regularly 45 degrees or below on a regular basis, it may be time to put the lawnmower away for the winter. One good rule of thumb though, is to mow your lawn that final time a little bit longer (about 3-4 inches). This will help your grass protect itself during the winter months.
By following this guide, you can see that the late fall is the time usually that grass stops growing. But just because it stops growing does not necessarily mean that it’s dead. This is a common misconception that people have in the winter – that their yard is dead and will come back in the Spring. The truth is, that their grass is just dormant. Don’t ever forget to properly maintain your lawn, and don’t cut it when it’s dormant, or you can end up possibly damaging it to the point beyond repair. Follow this guide though, and you should be able to have that healthy lawn year after year!