Depressions, Hurricanes and Storms - Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season
Your lawn is soaked from heavy rains and it needed mowing yesterday and it is still raining. The lawn is so tall, your Yorkie couldn’t go potty. The lawn has an area that looks like it has a fungus and the rest of the lawn is underwater – you are in a panic and need to know what to do? First, try a little decafe – heavy rains will not kill your lawn – inconvenient, yes, lethal ,no! St Augustine prefers wet and the rains will neutralize soil toxins, improve soil health and when drier weather returns , your lawn will be greener.
If there is standing water in your lawn for a couple of hours – no problem. But if you have a area of ponding water covering the turf for days – that’s a problem. First thing to do is find a way to drain the water. Dig a ditch that will drain the water. Then during drier times find a way to reconstruct your lawn so surface water moves to lakes or storm drains.
Delaying Mowing until Dryer Times
Delaying the mowing until the soil is less saturated will leave fewer ruts in the lawn but the lawn will be extra-long. Just mow as high as the mower will go and know the lawn will recover from the “scalping”. Piles of grass clippings on the lawn can damage the grass but not kill the grass. Best practice here is to scatter the clippings with a rake or blower – removal is not necessary.
Mowing Wet Lawns
If you must mow while the soil is saturated – because either your schedule or you cannot stand the tall grass – know that the ruts and muddy looks will not last long. Our sandy soils are not impacted by wet mowing and the grass doesn’t mind either! Just mow normally being sensitive to the wet areas and only mow an area once to reduce rutting. Soon as drier times return the soil will level out and the turf will be none the worse for having been mowed.
Soggy soils can weaken the turf. However as soon as the rain stops the grass will recover. Fungus and such problems may thin the turf but recovery will be quick when the sun returns. Marginal areas like side yards and very shady areas already stressed from poor drainage may not recover. This is a good opportunity to rethink those areas and use mulches or alternate ground covers.
Traffic from pets, people and vehicles does the most damage when the soils are saturated. Best practice is to stay off the turf until the soils drain and return to normal moisture content.
Skip the Caffeine - Try a Cup of Herbal Tea
Relax, the grass will survive the rainy weather and soon will return to its normal appearance. Most important is to remember to turn the irrigation system on (or better yet don’t turn it off)