Helping Your Lawn Recover from This Year’s Wet Winter
You may have noticed that we are emerging from a very wet winter. The Met Office has announced that rainfall in December, January and February made it the fifth wettest winter ever, with February the wettest on record! If you have a lawn, you’re probably worried about what all that rain has done to it. Worry no more. Let’s take a look at how the wet winter may have affected your garden and what you can do about it.
How does heavy rainfall affect lawns?
- Drowning root systems – Grass needs oxygen. When it rains heavily oxygen can’t move through the soil and into the root systems, and so growth is stunted. Effectively your lawn drowns
- Loss of nutrients – Heavy rain also washes valuable nutrients out of the soil before they can be absorbed by your lawn.
- Shallow root growth – As the ground is wetter and water closer to the surface, grass roots don’t need to grow as long to find it. Shorter roots are less able to cope once the weather gets drier, leading to brown and dead patches.
- Insect problems – Grass with shallow root systems is also more susceptible to damage from insects
- Fungal damage & disease – Too much rain can cause roots to rot and can cause disease. There are a number of lawn diseases that love wet weather, particularly the warm wet weather we’ve just had.
- Surface damage – Walking on a very wet lawn will both compact clay soils and damage the grass, leaving you with bare, muddy patches.
- Increase in weeds – Increased rainfall, particularly when accompanied by warm weather, leads to increased weeds.
- More moss – An increase in lawn moss is a common problem after a wet winter, especially if your lawn has other problems such as compacted soil, or if large parts are shaded by trees.
First steps to recovery
The first thing to do is assess the situation. Note whether water is collecting any specific areas of the lawn, this will help you identify those parts of the lawn that are in need of particular treatment.
Don’t make the problem worse by walking on the lawn while it is still wet, and make sure that you wait to carry out that first mow of the year until the lawn has completely dried out. It’s better to put up with long grass for a couple of extra weeks, than to risk more damage. When you can finally mow it, use the highest cutting height on your mower.
Finally consider asking a professional to come and assess the health of your lawn. Contact All Green Lawn Treatments for your free lawn analysis.
Treat the problems & protect your lawn for the future
Once you’ve identified any issues, it’s time to put them right.
- Lawn aeration – Aerating the lawn – making tiny air holes in it – will improve drainage so reducing the risk of waterlogging in the future. Aeration will ease soil compaction, allowing more air and nutrients to reach grass roots.
- Feed the lawn – Replace nutrients that have been washed out of the ground by applying an appropriate fertiliser. At All Green, we use a controlled-release granular fertiliser.
- Kill the weeds – The application of selective herbicides will ensure that weeds are treated without harming your grass. Talk to All Green about our year-round treatments. We can provide weed-killing treatment with professional-grade products (and we can combine them with fertilisers to feed your lawn at the same time).
- Contemplate a path – If surface damage is restricted to particular ‘heavy wear’ areas of your lawn, for example because there is a regularly used route to a back gate or shed, then consider building a path. This will reduce damage in the future.
- Remove thatch & moss – Thatch and moss can be removed from your lawn through scarification. A good way of describing this is mechanical raking.
- Re-seed bald patches – Sowing seeds over an existing lawn, paying particular attention to areas where the grass is thinner, will improve both the look and quality of your lawn. At All Green we can combine overseeding with scarification
- Think ahead – Putting in place a lawn maintenance plan will protect your lawn. A stronger, well-maintained lawn will be more resilient and more able to withstand extreme weather conditions. Contact All Green to discuss your options.