Too Much Water: Lawn Care After a Flood

This year, spring brought an extreme amount of rain to many parts of the U.S. Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, in particular, were hit harder than normal. While water is good for a lawn, too much can be detrimental.

A water-saturated lawn can cause grass to “drown” by filling in air pockets in the soil, cutting off oxygen. Constant dampness promotes disease, fungus and lichens, and flooding can sweep away nutrients necessary for healthy growth.

So, what can you do when the sky opens up for days and you see your grass disappear under gallons of water?

Assess your lawn

First, before any signs of bad weather, assess your lawn: Are there often spots of standing water? Does it take days to dry out after a regular rain, let alone a deluge? If your answer is yes, you may not have proper drainage. Ignoring such a problem can lead to more than dead grass; you could end up with a flooded home. Pro Referral by Home Depot has a list of five drainage solutions that can help you keep your lawn puddle (or lake) free.

Turn off your sprinklers

During a heavy rain: Turn off your sprinklers and make sure any timed irrigators are off. Or consider installing a rain sensor on your automatic sprinklers to make it especially easy. It may seem obvious, but how many times have you seen someone’s sprinklers on during a rainfall? Your lawn only needs about an inch of rain each week to stay healthy and green. Buy a rain gauge or set out a small, shallow container, about the size of a can of tuna can, in discreet spots to see how much water accumulates.

What to do after

After a flood or continual heavy rain: SFGate.com has tons of information on “What to Do to a Lawn After a Flood.” Tips include:

  • If a lawn has flooded for less than four days or accumulated less than one inch of silt, it will probably recover without too much effort.
  • If the water sat longer or there’s more than one inch of silt, remove debris and carefully use a good stream of water to remove silt.
  • If there is little silt, rake or aerate to allow the grass to breathe.
  • If the grass is still growing, fertilize to replace nutrients.
  • If your lawn looks like a lost cause, you may need to take the advice of British news site, Midlothian Advertiser (the Brits know a thing or two about soggy lawns) and start fresh with new, proper drainage and trusted grass seed.

With these tips — and some steady sunshine — you’ll have your lawn back in shape in no time and ready for that custom striping you’ve been wanting to try.

Flood Lawn Tips

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