Well, wouldn’t you know it?! One minute we’re writing a blog post about wintertime and freezing cold temperatures, the next we find ourselves sheltering from torrential rain in the wake of Hurricane Brendan! Rather than taking action to prevent the expected frost damage, our clients are now asking us how they should deal with waterlogged lawns.
As a nation, we know we can rely on a couple of things happening in our winters; At some point, it’ll get a little chilly and without any doubt at all we’ll get some rain too. It’s just a question of when, and how much. While it can be a source of frustration (or amusement!) to see the country grinding to a halt with the first dusting of snow, there’s no denying that a sudden outbreak of weather can cause widespread chaos. Like any other lawn care company, we are at the mercy of the elements. So we know that our carefully planned treatment programmes can be thrown into disarray by the capricious climate. Here’s our advice for dealing with a waterlogged lawn…
Is waterlogging as simple as it sounds?
Yes it is. While the soil beneath your lawn will be tolerant to some rainfall, it will have a saturation point beyond which it is unable to drain away any additional water. This is when any subsequent rain will have nowhere to go, and it simply pools on top of the soil. Sudden isolated downpours will rarely cause any damage to the grass plants which make up your lawn. However, that grass will become vulnerable when it’s subjected to prolonged spells underwater. The issues which can afflict your lawn’s grass plants include;
The excess water will limit the vital supply of oxygen.
It also stifles the diffusion of Carbon Dioxide.
The grass roots will die off, promoting rot and decay as well as the killing of the grass itself.
Essential nutrients will leach away, leaving the soil hungry.
The soil can become compacted.
As the grass dies out, spaces are created for moss to invade. Moss thrives in damp conditions.
Most lawns will recover naturally as conditions dry out, but some waterlogged lawns may need remedial work to restore them. This would need to wait until the water has receded to enable us to establish conditions where new grass seed could flourish. In extreme cases this would involve aeration, over-seeding, moss control and fertiliser, finished off with an application of top dressing. If the lawn is prone to repeated waterlogging, we would suggest that it be surveyed with a view to installing land drainage as a permanent solution.
So how do you deal with a waterlogged Lawn?
Our advice for a short term, remedial solution;
Firstly, try not to tread on the lawn, as this will compact the soil and make things more complicated than they are already. That said, aeration will help recovery as it relieves compaction, assists drainage and allows oxygen to get back in around the grass roots. If you have an aerator, so much the better but a garden fork will suffice on smaller lawns. Remove any grass shoots which have been damaged. If the waterlogging was caused by a flood, collect and remove any debris to avoid the blockage of drains. This allows any pollutants to be washed away. Hose down hard surfaces as part of this process. If the flooding has occurred in spring, the application of a balanced fertiliser will help to improve the growth of your lawn.
As previously mentioned, long term solutions to problematic lawns require a more preventative approach. Improved drainage and soil structure would be top of our list, most often by the installation of Land Drains or French Drains. You can find more information on these solutions in the Waterlogging page of our website’s Lawn Care Guide.
However dire your lawn may be looking at the moment, don’t despair. We’re here to help. Feel free to Contact Us if your lawn needs some post-waterlogging TLC.