What’s the best thing to do for your lawn after a week of rain?
In January 2012 in Brisbane, its surrounds and the Gold Coast it rained for 8 days straight and 16 days straight on the Sunshine Coast. On average, Queensland received 126.31mm in that one month. And the problem with that much rain after you buy turf on the Sunshine Coast is?
The problems are actually occurring below the surface of the lawn. When the soil under the lawn becomes waterlogged the oxygen which is needed for healthy roots, is eliminated from the soil. While most lawns can handle up to four days of submersion, as little as 24 hours of submersion can affect the growth of your lawn, weaken the grass and it roots, as well as making the lawn more susceptible to insects and diseases.
The problems that can come about due to a week of rain are that your lawn can succumb to:
- Lawn stress which decreases its tolerance to high temperatures and water deficits;
- Soil compaction;
- Root damage;
- Pests such as lawn grubs;
- Diseases such as root rot and fungi; or a combination of all of these lawn problems.
So what to do with your lawn after that much rain?
The best thing you can do at first is to just allow the water to drain away naturally and therefore avoid causing too much long term damage through stress to your lawn. This course of action will also allow you to determine if your lawn possesses any drainage issues that may need to be attended to before the next summer downpour. Keep an eye of the moisture level of your lawn as it dries from the rain. In Queensland, high temperatures often follow consistent days of rain and this is the time that your lawn may be more susceptible than normal to those high temperatures and the subsequent loss of moisture.
Minimise traffic to minimise soil compaction. If compaction has occurred you may need to aerate the lawn. Aerating the lawn may involve hiring specialised equipment to get the job done or simply walking around the lawn yourself wearing aerating sandals. The method you choose is up to you and may be determined by the size of your lawn.
As the water drains away and dries out there may be some areas that are patchy or brown since exposure to too much water can result in the dying off of the weaker plants. Then you may be tempted to cut the lawn very short to renew growth and neaten to now rapidly growing lawn. Not the best idea. For Buffalo grass such as Sir Walter the recommendation is to mow only 40-45mm at a time. Ensure that you only cut off the top third of the grass to avoid stressing the plant and exposing the roots. Ideally you will mow a few things over the coming weeks.
A lot of rain can take its toll on the soil beneath your lawn, stripping away essential nutrients. The soil can become too acidic. Check the pH levels of your soil and repair any damage with a seaweed booster every 2 – 4 weeks until the lawn pH levels are restored. ‘Seasol Hose on for Lush Green Lawns’ is a great seaweed application.
This stripping away of nutrients may also lead to a need to fertilise to restore the health of your lawn. Be careful not to over fertilise and cause additional lawn problems. After a great deal of rain it is best to fertilise using half of the amount of fertiliser that you would normally use.
After the week of rain dries you will need to keep an eye out for lawn grubs, weeds and clumps of moss in any areas of poor drainage. If you find an infestation of lawn grubs please refer to Lawn Grub Season is here. Weeds coming through the lawn may be hand pulled or treated using a lawn herbicide. A lawn herbicide is designed to kills weeds but not the grass itself. For any clumps of moss – use a garden fork to aerate the soil and then using a metal rake, rake out and collect the moss.
Whether you have newly laid turf or have a more established lawn, Daley’s turf will provide you all the products you need to get your lawn through this, from aerating sandals, soil pH kits, seaweed solution, fertiliser and pest control. Visit the Daley’s Turf Lawnstore to purchase direct online and save.
To visit the Daleys Turf website for more lawn care articles, videos and tips, go to http://www.daleysturf.com.au