Here in Georgia, we often have to take special steps to deal with the effects of drought on our lawns and gardens. However, if there’s anything that can be said for the weather in the south, it’s that it can be unpredictable. Warm, humid air can churn up violent thunderstorms at a moment’s notice, drowning your lawn under a flood of rain water. Unfortunately, since this is a relatively infrequent occurrence, many lawns are not equipped to drain this sudden excess water properly, and so puddles of standing water are left behind. The experienced lawn care specialists at Turf Shield have more than forty years of combined experience caring for lawns and gardens throughout Georgia, and can offer some useful insights into how best to protect your lawn from too much water.
Heavy rains, particularly when they persist over an extended period, can place stresses on your grass and plants, especially if those plants are native to drier climates, as is generally the case with the warm season grasses we use here in the south. Although soil may seem solid, it is actually riddled with tiny spaces in between the particles. These spaces hold air and water that can then be easily absorbed by root systems. Heavy rains, however, can fill these spaces with water, effectively depriving the roots of the oxygen they need. If these conditions continue long enough, the roots stop functioning properly and may even begin to die. At this point, even though the soil may be filled with water, the roots will no longer absorb it and the plants will begin to wilt. These damaged root systems are also more vulnerable to attack by fungal organisms in the soil that cause root rot, which can be highly damaging and potentially even fatal.
So what can you do if your lawn has been flooded by rain? Fortunately, the effects of heavy rain in the later winter months are often less damaging than those in the late summer. Plants are in active growth in late summer, and the warm soils encourage the activity of root rot fungal organisms in the soil, but in the late winter most plants are still dormant, which makes them better able to endure saturated soil. Still, the best way to avoid water damage is to plan your yard so that it never happens in the first place. When landscaping your yard, make drainage a chief concern. Whether you are planting shrubs, bedding plants, perennials, vegetables, or ground covers, make sure that the beds you prepare for them are about 6 to 12 inches higher than the surrounding soil. Although raised beds do drain faster and so potentially will need to be watered more often than ground-level beds, they are your best defense against sudden, torrential rains. Look over your property while it is raining to observe exactly where the water is flowing and then use that information to plan out what sort of plants will go where. Finally, you can also help prevent your soil from becoming impacted by performing regular lawn aeration treatments. This will allow more air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots, producing a stronger, more vigorous lawn.
If you have any questions about any of your landscaping needs, or specifically about how best to plan your lawn or garden layout and maintenance, please contact Turf Shield to get more information. Don’t forget to follow Turf Shield on Facebook or Twitter to get all the latest updates and lawn care tips.