Lawn Recovery after Flooding

Flooding can wreak havoc on your lawn. Not only can excess, standing water leave your lawn covered with sediment and debris, it can seriously damage the turf due to a lack of light and oxygen thatʼs vital for root respiration. If you find yourself with a waterlogged landscape, there are solutions that can lead you to a lush, healthy lawn again.

 

What to Do After the Water Recedes

Receding flood water often leaves behind hazardous debris that needs to be cleaned up. To avoid soil compaction and additional damage, let the lawn dry out for a few days before cleanup. Once itʼs dry, put on protective gloves and carefully remove any rocks, wood, metal objects and broken glass that might harm your lawn equipment or pose a safety risk to your family and pets.

 

Steps to Take to Restore Your Lawn

How you should proceed after cleaning up depends on the length of time your lawn was submerged, and the amount of sediment left behind.
 
Moderate sediment/short-term submersion: If the grass was under water for fewer than four days and the flooding left an inch or less of sediment on the lawn, thereʼs a good chance it can recover. To begin the revival process, use a garden hose to wash off as much sediment as possible. Next, and until grass gets well-established, use an aerator periodically to keep a crust from forming on any areas of sediment that didnʼt wash away. Afterwards, apply a nitrogen fertilizer and then test soil to gauge how much phosphorous, potassium and lime is needed to promote a healthy growing environment. If the grass regrowth is thin or patchy after several weeks, you can reseed the entire lawn, or plant sprigs or plugs.
 
Thick sediment/longer submersion: If your lawn was flooded for several days or if thereʼs more than an inch of sediment left behind, the grass has likely died. In this situation, leave the sediment and dead sod as-is, then till the lawn thoroughly and deeply to eliminate these layers, as well as create a new root zone. Once completed, you can firm and level the soil, fertilize and seed the lawn or install new sod.