brown and wilted grass - how long can grass survive without water?

Grass can survive several weeks without water. One of the ways in which grass is able to survive these conditions is by going dormant. In this state, grass is commonly assumed to be dead.

Without water grass will go dormant, turning brown, dull, and lifeless. Many will be quick to assume that this means that the grass is dead, but that isn’t necessarily the case. When your grass goes dormant, it enters a state where it is in a better position to conserve its resources for survival until conditions improve.

Seasonal dormancy is normal, and not something to panic about! Whilst a brown lawn might be a bit of an eye sore, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your lawn is dead.


How to tell if grass is dormant or dead?

It can be difficult sometimes to tell whether grass is dead or dormant since, even though alive, dormant grass will stop growing and turn brown and lifeless.

One of the best indicators that your lawn is dead is that it will be patchy, whereas if your entire lawn is brown, it’s most likely dormant.

A second test to tell whether your grass is dead is to grab a handful and give it a tug. If the grass is easily removed from the ground, it is likely dead. If there’s some resistance when you pull, your grass may simply be in a dormant state.

If your lawn is looking brown and you’re not able to tell whether its dormant or dead, reach out to Lawn and Weed Expert today to arrange your FREE lawn survey! One of our lawn care professionals will survey your lawn and offer their expert advice on your lawns condition and suggest a no-obligation treatment plan to restore your lawn to its former glory.

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How to treat a dormant lawn

As you might expect, the best way to revive a dormant lawn is with water. If there isn’t enough rainfall to keep your lawn healthy naturally, watering the lawn once a week will help bring your lawn back to green. Typically, the best time to water your lawn is in the morning, no later than 10am, when the temperatures are still relatively low.

The first part of the grass to break dormancy is the roots so that they can sustain new top growth. Once the roots have started to grow again, within 2 to 4 weeks you should start seeing new green top growth again.

Once your grass starts to grow following dormancy, it’s important to keep on top of your mowing. Whilst it might be tempting to mow your lawn short to try and remove the brown grass, it’s best to let the fresh grass grow around the old and let your lawn recover at its own pace.

Ensuring that your lawn is free from weeds is important in helping your grass regrow, since weeds can compete with your grass for growing space. Treating weeds on a dormant or recovering lawn can be delicate work, and is best left to the professionals.

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How to treat a dead lawn

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but dead grass cannot be revived like dormant grass can. There are a number of treatments you can do to refresh your lawn and get new grass growing, but the grass that’s dead is gone and cannot be brought back.

Scarification is a great technique to remove the dead grass that can end up smothering your lawn if left unattended. This can also loosen up the soil in preparation for top dressing and overseeding.

Lawn Scarification Service


Top Dressing is the process of adding a thin layer of organic material on top of your lawn to revitalise and balance your soil. Overseeding is the addition of new grass seeds to your freshly prepared lawn. We’d recommend you seed your lawn after top dressing to ensure that you’re able to get an even spread of grass seed.

Top Dressing Service     Overseeding Service



Lawns are a great space for all manner of activities, but lawn upkeep and maintenance can be pretty time consuming. If you love your lawn but don’t have the time to care for it, you may benefit from the professional garden maintenance services offered by Lawn and Weed Expert. If you’d like to read more about the different services we offer, head on over to our website today!

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Read More: How Quickly Does Grass Recover After a Drought?

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