BOGGY yard? Soggy lawn? Watersoaked gardens? With all the rain around lately, there’s a chance your yard has become waterlogged.

Waterlogging will have a negative impact on the appearance and performance of your lawn and plants over the winter.

But, there is a way to restore a waterlogged yard and better yet, proof your yard against future waterlogging.

Here’s how…


1. What is waterlogging

When soil is saturated with water, either temporarily or permanently, this is waterlogging.

Waterlogging is when there is too much water in the soil and it is unable to absorb the water as it should ordinarily.

When soil becomes saturated, water clogs the pores, limiting the usual flow of air through the soil, decreasing oxygen levels and increasing ethylene and carbon dioxide levels.

2. Effects of waterlogging

Waterlogging can cause significant problems.

Because waterlogging causes the air inside the soil to escape into the atmosphere, where it is replaced by additional water, when the air phase is inhibited, anaerobic conditions arise, harming lawns and plants.

In anaerobic circumstances, waterlogging limits the development and productivity of particular plants and due to excessive water in the soil profile, plant roots are also unable to respire, causing them to become weak and die or fall.

The pH of waterlogged soils also changes, becoming more acidic. As a result, the alkalinity of the soil drops, making plant development more difficult. Plantlife cannot thrive in the increasingly acidic soil.

Soil temperature is also lowered as a result of waterlogging. Low temperatures in damp soil impact microorganisms and their activity, resulting in a reduction in nitrogen fixation rates. Nitrogen is essential for soil health, and waterlogged soils have a nitrogen shortage.

Waterlogging changes the environment, which affects not just nitrogen nutrients as well as other minerals including sulphur, zinc, iron, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium. The abundance of some minerals can cause toxicity levels to rise in plants. In other plants, the minerals won’t be able to survive and eventually, the plants themselves won’t either.


3. How to treat waterlogging

Water may be diverted away from your lawn’s surface by coring. The greater the depth of the holes cored, the better. Once the coring is finished, lightly top-dress with coarse sand or gypsum to cover the holes. In the winter, don’t over-top-dress, you don’t want to cover any of the surviving lawn.

Aerating your lawn will also help maximise drainage and introduce air to the soil, which will help your lawn’s roots to survive. You may aerate the grass by spiking it with aerator shoes or a garden fork, or by using an aerator with a hollow tine. The ideal instrument will depend on how severe your lawn waterlogging is as well as the type of soil you have.

Hollow tine aerators take out cylinders of soil 10-15cm deep that may be packed with garden sharp sand to keep the soil loose and take away moisture, allowing the grass to recover more quickly.

4. How to prevent waterlogging

Rainwater must be removed immediately from your lawn’s surface to avoid an increase in the water table levels and reoccurring waterlogging. Consider installing drainage systems and augmenting outflow and preventing inflows.

If it’s your garden that is being waterlogged, consider elevating it and growing your garden in raised beds. You may tilt the bed slightly to direct the extra water down the bed. It’s a time-consuming process, but it protects your plant roots from being too exposed to water.

Mulching also helps. Adding organic matter to the soil surface will help absorb moisture from your garden and provide rich, valuable nutrients to your plants after waterlogging. You want a mulch that will allow a little springiness in your soil.


5. Choose a water-loving lawn

Choosing a lawn variety and plants that love wet conditions will help their longevity during waterlogging.

Zoysia grass is suitable for those tougher, weather conditions in coastal gardens while Buffalow grass is a good all-rounder that can handle a wide variety of temperatures and conditions.

If you’re in the market for a new lawn, see your local lawn specialist and get the right lawn for your yard and lifestyle.