March 22, 2018

How To Drain A Waterlogged Lawn


Waterlogging occurs when water sits on the surface of the soil. It will either drain very slowly or not at all. The type of ground is a factor and some are more susceptible than others. This includes ground that has been poorly compacted and dense clay soils. This type of ground often remains wet longer after a flood or heavy rain. A waterlogged lawn can be fatal to plants. The spaces of air between the particles of soil fill with water and drown the plants. The roots are unable to access nutrients and oxygen for the stems and leaves. The plants will begin to wilt, the leaves will turn yellow and the roots will rot. When the lawn is consistently filled with puddles it is generally a soil condition referred to as compaction. Improper yard care combined with heavy foot traffic cause the air pockets to disappear. This suffocates the roots of the grass and results in a waterlogged lawn. There are steps that can improve the drainage to the lawn and drain the water. `


Removing the Excess Water


The excess water must be removed before any improvement can be made to the soil. In some cases gently swiping the bristles of a broom against the lawn can force the water into a drain close by. This will not work if the soil is still muddy. It must be dry enough for the consistency to be moist. This technique has the best results during the summer.




Lawn aeration involves renting a hollow tine aerator machine from a home improvement store. Long, one or two inch plugs are pulled from the soil. The lawn should not be wet but moist. This technique works best during the spring and fall. The machine is passed across the lawn so the plug holes are approximately two inches apart. This will provide air pockets in the ground and reduce compaction. This process additionally reduces the layer of decomposing foliage and stems. The plug holes enable moisture to move freely through the ground. As the lawn begins to recover from the waterlogging a deeper grass root system is effectively created.




Top-Dressing increases the organic matter contained in the soil of the lawn. A 1/2 inch layer of manure, compost or shredded leaves are spread over the lawn. The grass should remain visible through the organic matter. The grass should effectively photosynthesize and begin growing. When the organic matter is applied it will fall partially into the plug holes. The air pockets are maintained and the grass has additional nutrients for growth.




The removed soil plugs should be left on the surface of the lawn with the organic matter. The next time the lawn is mowed the organ matter and plugs will integrate providing a soil structure rich with nutrients. This mixture will slowly combine with the lawn as microorganisms and earthworms feed on the nutrients. As they move around in the ground the friable texture of the soil will increase. The lawn will remain drained with healthy soil.


The Spike and Boards


Walking on a waterlogged lawn will make matters worse by increasing the compaction. Once the water has started evaporating and the lawn is visible lay down boards. Spike the grass with a garden fork while walking on the boards. The spikes should be placed at regular intervals with visible and deep holes. This will help the water to drain. Spreading horticultural sand in a thin layer over the lawn will improve the drainage.


First Aid for Plants


Waterlogged plants require a spring feeding to help them recover by providing essential nutrients. This can be accomplished with a generous application of garden compost. Plants with mottled and yellow leaves have a severe nutrient deficiency and require foliar feed. It is important to keep an eye on these plants in dry weather because they are more effected by drought.


Preventing Waterlogging


They are ways to help prevent a waterlogged lawn. The soil cultivation is critical. This can be improved with the addition of organic matter like compost. Every square meter of ground requires one load. Planting holes with forking holes on the base and sides will improve drainage. If the soil is extremely heavy plants should be grown in raised beds. Driveways, patios and pathways made from impermeable material will not drain. Try gravel and brick because this will enable the water to drain properly. Creating a pond or ditch for water drainage at the lowest point of the yard will help. If the issues are too extreme a pipe drainage system may be the only viable option.


Author Bio : Sarah has loved gardening and nature since childhood. She loves to read about new plants and gardening tips. She works for “YourGreenPal” which helps you to quickly find, schedule and pay for Lawn Care Services.

About The Author

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Freelance Journalist. Qualified Horticulturist

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