In San Antonio, we’ve experienced an exceptionally wet spring season, with several downpours over the past few months. While we’re grateful not to be in a drought, and our lawns certainly appreciate the rain, in this case, it is possible to get too much of a good thing.
Below we’ll look at some of the ways heavy and prolonged rains can harm your lawn, and some tips you can follow to avoid most of the potential damage.
A lawn can get too dependent on rain. If water is abundant, grass and other plants don’t need to develop healthy root systems. When a wet spring is followed by a hot and dry summer (as most of our summers are) the grass won’t have the deep roots it needs to survive.
Furthermore, too much water will actually suffocate your lawn. Most plants can’t stand in water for extended periods of time because waterlogged soil doesn’t contain the oxygen plants need to survive.
For these reasons, it’s a good idea to ensure all areas of your property, including the landscaping, have good drainage.
Texas Lawn Disease and Fungus Issues
In wet conditions, our lawns are susceptible to plant diseases and fungus that prey upon stressed or weakened plants.
Zoysia grass and other warm season grasses can develop a fungus called large patch disease. It favors weakened grasses and shows up as brown circles in your lawn. Grey leaf spot is another disease that loves wet conditions, as well as lawns with compacted soil, too much nitrogen from over feeding, or that have been treated with herbicides. As the name suggests, it shows up as small gray spots on grass blades, and the grass may start to wither and die off.
Both Pythium root rot and take-all root rot occur when there has been too much water on the lawn. These diseases weaken grass roots, and as a result, grass turns yellow, brown or pale green. Lawns will wilt and eventually die off due to weakened root systems.
For all of these diseases, early identification and treatment can save most lawns, especially if you can restore your grass to health before the heat of the summer.
If your lawn is struggling, pause all herbicide and pesticide use. It’s important to identify what’s making your lawn sick and apply the proper fungicide treatment. Mow problem areas last so not to transfer the disease elsewhere in the yard. If you can’t tell what is killing your lawn, you may wish to consult with a lawn care professional such as our staff at ABC Home and Commercial Services in San Antonio.
What to do when your lawn is drowning
When it just won’t stop raining, here are a few handy tips to keep in mind.
- Don’t run automatic lawn sprinklers. While this seems obvious, some people forget to turn them off.
- After heavy rains, check your property for areas where water is pooling, and consider installing French drains or other kinds of landscaping, such as xeriscapes or raised beds.
- Check for evidence of fungus, wilting plants, or other damage caused by high winds, hail and standing water.
- Don’t walk on wet soil. Wait until the area dries out or place boards on the ground if you must walk through a waterlogged garden or lawn. If this is a regular concern, consider putting down mulch or gravel walkways.
- Aerate your soil. You can purchase a small lawn aerator suitable for personal use, or contact ABC Home and Commercial Services for assistance with larger areas.
- Keep a lookout for insects and other pests. Mosquitoes, termites, chinch bugs, snails and slugs are just some of the problems that appear after the rains have gone.
- Deal with weeds as soon as you can. Taking action before they get out of control can prevent them from reseeding into your lawn.
- Make plans for when the rain stops. Ensure your irrigation system is ready to take over when the ground dries up. Then to conserve water and prevent leaf burn, water early in the mornings or in the evenings.
When to call out the pros
ABC Home and Commercial Services San Antonio has a staff of trained lawn care and landscape professionals. We can help you identify and treat a diseased or discolored lawn, help manage weeds, or work with you on landscaping and French drains to improve your drainage. We can also help if your lawn has a plague of chinch bugs or other insects. We can send out experts for free to evaluate your lawn to solve all of your lawn care problems.