Repairing A Flood Damaged Lawn Or Garden
Much has been written on how floods can destroy property such as residences or businesses, but little is written on the devastating effects flooding may have on your lawn or garden areas. The flood damage that can be inflicted here can be every bit as difficult to clean up as a wrecked structure.
First, how do floods damage your lawn? Simple, the ground is only capable of absorbing so much water, and once the ground has become saturated, there is nowhere else for it to go. The resulting runoff is what poses a danger to life and property. The saturation of the ground, however, is what poses a problem for the lawn itself. Lawns can die quickly as a result of oxygen deprivation, and those that remain submerged for a week or longer will almost certainly require reseeding. The exception is late winter floods that occur while grass is still in a dormant stage, in which case the lawn may well survive on its own.
The best way to recover from lawn flooding and save the damaged land is to follow the five tips we recommend:
Patience. There is little you can do until the water has receded from your lawn and the ground has begun to dry. Walking or operating machinery in the grass is ill-advised as it will only damage the lawn even more. Wait until the ground feels somewhat firm beneath your feet before making any attempt to work on it. Much of the grass will repair itself on its own, so let the lawn do what it will before stepping in to try and save the day.
Clean The Mess. Floodwaters will wash pretty much anything into your yard, so take time to remove debris and garbage from the area. Silt deposits may have built up and will need to be scraped and washed off of surfaces before any repairs begin. In many cases, it may be possible to simply till the silt into the ground and start from scratch. Silt deposits are usually rich in minerals and nutrients and treated correctly, they may actually be a plus for your lawn.
Poke Many Holes. Flooding and torrential rains will seriously compact the soil, which further prevents adequate drainage, which means the use of a core aerator or liquid aerator is mandated. These create space for the water to flow deeper into the ground and away from the surface. It also allows the grassroots to receive much-needed nutrients.
Replace The Topsoil. Sounds like a big job, and it is. Replacing the lost topsoil with a mix of soil and organic matter such as compost or manure will work to improve the root structure of the grass.
Grow A Temporary Lawn. No, we aren’t kidding. Planting a temporary ground cover following flood damage will prevent further soil erosion. It helps if you seed with ryegrass for a fast growing cover that can handle a broad range of climates.