It’s late October, and many bermudagrass lawns are still pretty green, as long as the turf is being irrigated. It’s been another dry month, and a hot one, so warm-season turf such as bermudagrass and zoysiagrass think it’s still September in many areas of Oklahoma. I for one am ready for it to turn cool for various reasons, including shutting down the growth and color of bermudagrass, so I can stop mowing it!
Now if your turf is turning brown due to a lack of irrigation, we’d still recommend that you irrigate some, to keep the soil from becoming too dry. We don’t want to send the turf into winter dormancy, whenever that comes, in a weak condition for any reason, including water stress.
One concern is that with many lawns so green still, if we do receive one of those sudden cold snaps in November or early December here in Oklahoma, as we sometimes do, it could cause some winter damage to warm-season turf. The grass needs time to “harden off” and slowly go into winter dormancy by shutting down top growth and turning brown. If the turf plant does not fully go into a state of dormancy, sudden hard freezes can cause winterkill or turf damage. One of the worst times I’ve experienced with winterkill was exactly that, caused by a sudden hard freeze in early December of 1989 I believe it was. Then that following spring, turf managers, homeowners, golf course superintendents, you name it……we all “enjoyed” brown bermudagrass in May with large areas of winterkill.
Not much can be done to prevent this at this point, other that keep soil moisture levels adequate, and mow your bermudagrass fairly high with your final mowing of the season, hopefully coming soon.