Classic Lawns

Cary’s Corner – Rain, Rain GO AWAY!

Rain, Rain GO AWAY!

Sad FezIt is a Wednesday and it is raining…AGAIN! I am sitting at a computer writing about grass when I should be out taking care of grass. However, I am once again rained out. 2015 is shaping up to be one of the wettest years ever. 1993 might be the only year I can remember when we had more rain.
You might think all this rain is great for your lawn. Yes it is nice to not have to water and yes it has made your lawn green and flush. However, deep down in the soil where the roots of the grass are trouble is lurking.

Fez Enjoying a Good Watering
Fez Enjoying a Good Watering

Your lawn roots have been spoiled. All this rain has pampered your lawns roots and they are way too shallow. They have had no reason to grow deep into the soil looking for water because water has been readily available close to the surface. Shallow roots are more likely to burn up once it becomes hot and dry. This excessive rain is destroying your lawns roots! I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it is true. The rains have saturated the soil profile. This is compacting the soil, clogging up pore spaces and depriving the roots of oxygen. Basically your grass roots are drowning. The roots of your grass will start thinning out and will eventually die off.

I know your lawn looks green, thick and healthy now, but soon you will notice problems. Whenever this rain stops and it gets hot, your lawn will start suffering. The roots that have thinned out and died off will not be able to tolerate the Summer heat and the leaf tissue will start turning brown. Areas of your lawn that where once thick and lush will turn thin and bare.
So what can you do to help? Here are my recommendations:

  • Water your lawn once the rain stops and the heat turns on. Try to give your lawn at least 1” of water per week.
  • Do your best to mow every 5-7 days and mow as high as you can. Ideally you shouldn’t remove more than a third of the leaf tissue when you mow. This can become an almost impossible rule to follow with all the rain days, but DO NOT mow short when you lawn is tall. This stresses the roots even more than all the rain does.
  • Core Aerate your lawns this fall! A core aeration is one of the best “extras” that you can do for your lawn in normal years, but after all the rain even more so. A core aeration helps loosen the compacted soils, helps air and nutrients reach the root zone and allows roots to grow deeper.
  • Plan on over seeding areas that have thinned out in the fall. Over seed bare areas with a turf type tall fescue which has a deeper root system than bluegrass and can withstand weather extremes better.

So, whoever is doing the rain dances, please stop. Our grass can’t take much more rain. Plus, I haven’t even mentioned all the disease problems the rain is causing. See this Cary’s Corner for more disease info! As always, call me anytime with any questions. Thanks, Cary Carlson Owner of Classic Lawns

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