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Brown cool-season grass not necessarily a sign of disease


Curt Wohleber
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-5409

Published: Thursday, June 23, 2016

Story source:

Brad S. Fresenburg, 573-268-2545

Your Show-Me Garden: MU Extension brings you gardening tips from experts around the state.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Lawns around the Show-Me State are starting to turn brown. But that’s a normal, and temporary, response to hot, dry weather.

People too often see brown areas in their lawn and automatically think “disease,” says Brad Fresenburg, turf specialist for University of Missouri Extension.

It’s an understandable reaction, he said, but the browning of cool-season grass just means it’s gone dormant.

“Dormancy doesn’t mean that the grass is dying. It just means it’s going into survival mode until it can get sufficient moisture.”

While it may be unsightly to some, there are advantages to a dormant lawn. Fresenburg said dormant grass is less susceptible to disease and you won’t have to mow it in the heat of the summer.

Grasses, as with all plants, have mechanisms that help them survive unfavorable conditions.

“It’s a good thing, too. Otherwise, we’d have a bare Earth,” Fresenburg said.

For more lawn and garden information from MU Extension, go to