What a spring we had with all the rain in the Midwest. It has been one of the wettest springs on record. What does this mean for your lawn and landscaping?
Excessive water in the soil tends to force oxygen out of the root zone of the plants. It can lead to stress and/or death of plants and trees depending on their age. What can be done with the plants? Do not overwater! As a Landscape Contractor we lose more plants to excessive water that any other reason. Plants must have oxygen around the roots or they will die. Allowing the soil to dry out is the only remedy once things are waterlogged. This can be a delicate process as we don’t want things to get too dry. It’s a fine line. Unfortunately many people see stress or yellowing on a landscape plant and automatically assume it is lacking water. Then out comes the hose or the sprinkler system get’s turned on and pretty soon the plant is sitting in water and on it’s way to death. If you have any questions or concerns in regard to the watering of your landscape plantings please do not hesitate to contact us.
As for the lawn-The wet spring has caused many issues. First and foremost was the excessive growth of the turfgrass. With all the rain the grass had ample moisture to grow and produce its seeds. It was one of our most challenging spring/early summers in the history of our company. We worked 7 days a week, between rains, to try to stay caught-up. In some areas the grass suffered from the mowing operations, i.e. damage from turning mowers and slipping on slopes. Most damage will recover. What does not will be repaired through fall lawn renovation & seeding. Again we must discuss oxygen in the soil. As with the landscape plants, turfgrass needs ample oxygen to the root system. Excessive rain, especially heavy rain, tends to help push air out of the soil as it becomes saturated. Combine this with foot traffic and mowing and now we have a compacted, oxygen-deprived root zone. Another issue with prolonged wet periods or heavy rains will be a shallow root system. When the turfgrass has a lot of water near the surface it will tend to develop a shallow root system. What does this mean? All is well until the weather takes a turn. If the transition is gentle problems generally will not develop. However, if we go from a very wet and cloudy period into sunny and hot pattern the grass can be shocked by the change. It was comfortably bathing in ample water and reasonable temperatures. Now the water is evaporating at a rapid rate and the roots can become dry suddenly. And typically the surface of the soil heats up. This is what will cause the shock. Often the turfgrass will turn brown, especially where the mower runs over the grass. We refer to this as stress. Usually this will eventually remedy itself, depending on the weather conditions. Fertilizer sometimes can speed the recovery. If there is permanent damage a lawn renovation may be in order. More on this later…