Dormant Lawn Characteristics
It can be hard to discern whether brown grass indicates a dead or dormant lawn. Dormant grass is typically brown in color, straw-like, and patchy. While you can’t prevent your warm-season turf from turning brown in the winter, a healthy lawn will green up nicely after winter dormancy.
A true defining characteristic of dormant grass is the live grass crowns that wouldn’t be present in dead grass. A good test to tell if your grass is dormant or dead is to gather a handful and give a small tug. If there is resistance, your grass is still alive. Dead grass will pull free from the ground. The live crown will enable the grass to green up and grow once again once temperatures warm up.