Turfgrass growth in Oklahoma can be hindered due to environmental and human factors. Climate, species of grass, pests, and improper lawn care can all impact lawn growth.
Many Bermuda grasses commonly grown in Oklahoma reach a state of dormancy during the cold winter months and will stop growing. Intense heat and drought can also affect lawn growth. Grass growth is contingent on the quantity of nutrients, moisture, temperature, and sunlight.
There are many ways to help your lawn reach optimal health, to prepare your grass before and after dormancy, or to make it lush year-round with cool-season grasses.
Understanding proper lawn care not only helps your yard look great but can also save you money and time.
Let’s get started.
Common Reasons Why Grass Stops Growing in Oklahoma
A lot of time and care goes into keeping a lush lawn.
Many factors need to be understood for turfgrass to thrive. Growth can be dependent on the species of grass, the climate and season, and proper lawn care. Improper lawn care can leave your grass susceptible to disease and other pests that will slow growth.
Here are a few factors that impact the growth of grasses in Oklahoma.
1. Warm Season vs. Cool Season
Bermuda is the most common grass in Oklahoma. When the temperatures start to fall below 60 degrees at night, the overall growth of Bermuda grass will slow. The growth of your lawn depends heavily on the climate.
An extreme fluctuation in weather can negatively impact your lawn, which is why it can be helpful to choose the right species for your climate and yard. Bermuda is a great option for Oklahoma lawns because it is hardy and can handle the dry, hot summers and survive most Oklahoma winters in dormancy.
Common Oklahoma warm-season grasses like Bermuda will see more growth in warm, dry seasons and have different needs than cool-season grass. Bermuda grows April through August. You will start to see green-up of Bermuda in early April and it will start to become dormant around late September to November depending on the temperature.
Cool-season grasses like fescue or Kentucky bluegrass typically grow March through May and September through October.
Warm-season grasses are able to thrive in heat and sunlight, while cool-season grasses prefer to grow in shaded, moist areas.
2. Proper Lawn Maintenance: Moisture/Irrigation, Mowing, Aerification, Overseeding, and Fertilization
Caring for your lawn can be tricky, especially if you are unaware of its needs. For this reason, many seek professional help with lawn care. However, it is wise to know the facts so you know your lawn is being properly cared for and will grow and look great.
Frequently a lawn will get too little or too much moisture, compromising its overall health and growth. Moisture plays a major part in the rate of grass growth in any season.
Waiting to water until your lawn starts to show signs of wilt is a helpful tip. If you water your grass a shallow amount frequently, it can cause the plants to have shallow root systems and make them more susceptible to disease and other issues.
Watering in the mornings only once or twice a week, depending on the weather, may be the best route. It is helpful to follow the recommendations in your local area. Here are some helpful resources for watering in Oklahoma City.
Mowing your lawn should be scheduled depending on the amount of growth between the last mowing. You never want to mow your grass when it hasn’t grown enough between the last mowing, and you want to make sure your blade is sharp so you don’t bruise your grass and hinder its growth.
When it comes to aerating your lawn, one to two core cultivations a year can be advantageous. Aerification helps your turfgrass with proper water movement and oxygen absorption, helping it grow. Willis Lawn Services offers an aeration service that can help improve the health of your lawn.
To avoid overseeding your lawn, be sure to seed at the proper time so your seedlings can germinate and grow to the best of their ability. Different species of grass germinate at different times. Make sure you know what species you have selected before putting down the seed or it won’t grow.
Most minerals are generally present in adequate quantities in Oklahoma topsoil. However, there are a few macronutrients that can be deficient, and your lawn may need to be fertilized to produce the growth you want.
Nitrogen is a key nutrient for grass growth and any fertilizer you purchase should have it as its main ingredient. A soil test can help you decide what the best fertilizer is for your yard.
3. Blights That Deter Lawn Growth
There are numerous things that can slow or stop lawn growth in Oklahoma other than climate.
Thatch is undecomposed grass tissue found between the new growth and the root system of the turf. A thick thatch layer can obstruct the root system of new growth, making your lawn grow uneven.
Weeds may suggest that your lawn has been weakened and can slow the growth of your lawn by competing for space and nutrients. If weeds are allowed to grow exponentially they can take over and stop the growth of your lawn.
Many insects are beneficial to the plants in your garden, but some can harm your lawn and impede its growth.
In the late summer of 2021, many Oklahoma City residents had to deal with scores of armyworms ravaging their lawns. If your lawn wasn’t already in good health, this influx of lawn eaters could have decimated your lawn and hindered its growth substantially.
Spring brown patch is a significant issue in Oklahoma and can impair your lawn’s growth. The best defense against disease is to use proper lawn care, like knowing when and how much to fertilize, how much to water, and making sure to mow properly.
4. Preparing Your Lawn for the Changing Seasons
There are a few things you can do to aid in the success of your lawn during the dormant months and extreme seasons.
If we get unseasonably warm weather with little water, like we did this winter, you may want to water your grass deeply once a week to once every other week. Be sure to keep an eye on the fluctuating temperatures before you water.
Cleaning up leaves and other debris will also help so your lawn can get the available sunlight and air it needs. The most important things you can do to help your lawn are to fertilize, water, and mow at the proper times.
For more about the needs of lawns in Oklahoma, here is more in-depth information on the topic from Oklahoma State University.
Choosing a Lawn Care Professional
Understanding proper lawn care can be tough and time-consuming. There’s never any shame in seeking the help of a professional — they not only save you time but also keep your lawn growing healthy.
Willis Lawn Services offers an extensive lawn care package that provides quality service and knowledge on all your lawn care needs including lawn fertilization, lawn aeration, weed prevention, grub and armyworm prevention, soil testing, and soil amendments.