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Can Too Much Rain Hurt Your Lawn?

August 13, 2020
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Yellowing grass blades, flooded spots and brown patches—all of these describe how too much rain affects your lawn.

Lawns need about one inch of water per week. The tricky thing is, that includes water you give your lawn and rainwater. Even if you haven’t run the sprinkler in a while, a week or two of heavy rain could give your lawn way more water than it needs.

Here’s what to keep in mind when it comes to heavy rain and your lawn.

How to protect grass seed from heavy rain

Excessive rain can be a setback when you’re trying to grow new grass, but it doesn’t have to be!

Best practice is to avoid overseeding a soggy lawn. Instead, wait for the lawn to dry, and check to make sure there’s no rain in the immediate forecast when you plan to seed. Then, properly prepare your lawn for overseeding so the seed can establish itself before any upcoming rainstorms.

Is too much rain bad for grass seed?

Typically, yes. Heavy rain often leads to soil erosion, which means the top layer of soil is worn down by water. If you seed right before a rainstorm, your fresh grass seed could get washed away through erosion.

Let’s say you opt for sod instead of grass seed. Can new sod get too much rain? The answer is yes, folks. Sod demands a good amount of water, but too much rain over a lengthy period of time makes it hard for the sod to establish strong roots.

Will heavy rain wash away fertilizer?

Yes, heavy and prolonged rain can wash away recently applied fertilizer.

How much rain is too much after fertilizing?

Here’s the deal: rainfall after fertilization is absolutely not a bad thing. In fact, it's good! Water helps fertilizer fully absorb into the soil.

Mild rain after you fertilize is nothing to worry about. But a downpour, or several days of consistent rain, can be a problem.

Grass turning brown after lots of rain

Flooded grass has a hard time taking in water and nutrients from the soil. It may even turn brown and die as a result. But that doesn’t mean your lawn is a lost cause. Find out how to help your brown lawn get back to green.

How long does it take for grass to dry after rain?

There’s no one size fits all answer here. Drying time really depends on the grass type, soil conditions, ie clay vs. sand and the environment the grass is growing in, for example, a sunny vs. shady location. Check-in after a rainstorm to see how long it takes your lawn to dry so you have a sense of its unique timing.

Can you cut grass after it rains?

Technically you can mow a wet lawn. But it’s best not to.

For starters, water causes grass blades to bend over, which makes it hard to get a precise cut. And, leaving wet and clumpy grass clippings in your yard will make it look untidy. There’s also a chance you could damage your lawn mower when working with wet grass. Wet clippings tend to clump together, which can block the mowers deck. Mowing wet lawns also increases the risk of rust damage to your mower.

How do I fix standing water in my yard after rain?

Good question! A soil test can help you figure out how to fix water drainage problems in your yard. Poor soil drainage is one of the main causes of standing water. With a soil test, you can figure out what you should add to your lawn soil to get better drainage. Read all about soil tests here.

Another option is creating a rain garden, which is a reservoir that catches and filters stormwater. Rain gardens give an alternative and safe place for water to go so it’s not sitting in one spot.

Best way to deal with storm water: rain gardens.

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