With recurring heavy rains engulfing the Southeast this winter, Georgia cities, including Atlanta, Columbus and Athens, report more than double normal rainfall totals year to date. Many lawns have endured flooding — even here at the NG Turf farms — and many more remain waterlogged from the deluge. All this excess water puts grass at higher risk for damage and disease, so we’ve gathered the tips and info you need to care for your lawn in soggy weather.
Keep off the GrassSaturated grass is much less hearty and can be easily damaged, even by light foot traffic. Stick to sidewalks, footpaths and driveways until your lawn has a chance to dry out and rebound. Remove any debris immediately after storms, but don’t rake the grass until it fully recovers.
Patch and Replace
Grass roots require air to thrive, and during excessive rain, water fills all the tiny air pockets in the soil, effectively drowning the roots. If left underwater for more than a week, grass may die and need to be replaced.
Surrounding grass may fill in small dead patches during the growing season, but larger affected areas should be re-sodded this spring. If your lawn is dormant, wait until after the spring green-up to assess the damage and patch or replace with sod.
Raise Low Spots
Now is the perfect time to take note of any areas in your lawn where standing water persists after a heavy rain. In late spring when the grass is hearty, apply a mixture of topsoil and fine sand to the low spots, no more than half an inch deep.
Once the grass grows on top of the new soil, add another layer of the topsoil mixture. Repeat this process until the area is level with the surrounding lawn.
Watch for Disease
Excess water creates an environment favorable to fungal growth. Also, overwatering leads to grass with a shallow root system, succumbing more easily to disease and pest infestation. Keep a close eye on your lawn in the coming weeks, looking for discoloration, dead spots or insect activity. The sooner you identify and address any issues, the better for your lawn’s health.
Beat the Weeds
Weeds love wet weather. Stop summer weeds before they start by applying pre-emergent herbicide in early spring — early to mid-March. Usually, blooming forsythias mark the perfect time for application, but this winter’s unseasonable weather has affected blooming cycles.
Manage Your Sprinklers
Overwatering your lawn creates the same problems as excess rain. If you have a sprinkler system, inspect and recalibrate it with each season change, and install a rain sensor to ensure you never overwater your lawn.
If you have questions about damage or disease in your lawn, our Certified Turfgrass Professionals are happy to help. Give them a call at 770.832.8608 or email at info@NGTurf.com.