With the excessive rainfall encountered the past few weeks most home lawns are overly saturated with water and in some areas lawns have been completely under water for several days. While these conditions bring lawn damage concerns to homeowners the situation is not and will not be as bad as it may appear with a few precautions taken. Since this flooding is occurring now when our warm season lawns are mostly dormant and the air and soil are cold little is happening within the turf plants as to respiration or transpiration so the turf is not that greatly affected directly from the excess water like it would be if it was mid-summer.
However, this excess water can indirectly have an impact on the health of the turf later if precautions are not taken to prevent soil compaction and pest pressures. Avoid as much traffic on the lawn as possible particularly on heavy soil types until the soil has had time to drain. Lawn disease pathogens tend to proliferate under high moisture and with surface water movement these pathogens will most likely have been spread throughout the lawn so carefully scout for diseases and be prepared to apply appropriate fungicides if necessary. Weed seed are also carried across the lawn from surface water so applying a pre-emergent herbicides prior to germination will help prevent weed infestations.
Published January 14, 2013
Dr. Wayne Wells is an Extension Professor and Turfgrass Specialist. His mailing address is Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mail Stop 9555, Mississippi State, MS 39762. firstname.lastname@example.org