The Effects of Flooding On Your Landscaping and Turfgrass

Umbrella in a flood and effects on your landscape

If you are into growing things outside, you are almost always happy when it rains. Rain makes things grow, that is a fact. If you grow things outdoors, you know that drought is always a possibility, and that it is never an easy condition to overcome. Unfortunately, there are times when extremes can occur on both sides. If you live on the west coast, you are dealing with incredible drought conditions. For those that live on the eastern seaboard, you would welcome some dry weather after Hurricane Joaquin dumped close to 40 inches of rain within two days in the devastating “1,000 year” rain event.

How Well Do Trees and Shrubs Tolerate Flooding?

What does all that rain mean to the lawns and landscapes in these flooded areas? For the most part, unless the water sits there for more than a week, most trees, shrubs and turf should be fine. As long as the roots can continue to get oxygen, the plants will survive, and the effects of flooding on your landscape will be minimal. Some trees and shrubs can survive several months with their roots covered in water. Then there are others that cannot tolerate flooded conditions for even a short period of time. This is especially true of newly planted trees and shrubs.

Will My Lawn Be Okay after a Flood?

What about turfgrasses? Most grasses can tolerate being submerged for more than a month without permanent damage. Bluegrass and Bermudagrass can last even longer – about 55 days, without permanent damage. The biggest problem with flooding is from the movement of soil and debris over the turfgrass. In many cases, turf growing on a sloped area has a greater chance of being washed away, especially if the soil is very sandy. Turf growing in a lower area has a greater chance of being covered with soil and silt from surrounding areas.

What Do I Do After the Rain Stops?

There is not much you can do until the water recedes and you can assess the damage and amount of clean up that will be required. You may have to wait several days for the soil to firm up before starting any major clean up. Repeatedly walking across water-logged turf or driving heavy equipment across it will lead to compaction.

Once the lawn dries out enough to walk across it, remove any rubbish that may have been left behind. If there are large silt or soil piles left behind, do your best to remove them using a flat-bladed shovel. If there is not much soil, you can rake the soil/silt across your lawn. Leaving too much soil/silt on the lawn could lead to future infiltration or drainage problems.

Having the lawn core aerated will help it dry out and lead to an increase in rooting. If sections of the lawn have disappeared due to the flooding, additional soil may have to be added and the area resodded, especially if your lawn has warm-season grasses in it. Cool-season grasses can be re-seeded, but if it is a large area, sodding may be your best bet.

Cleaning up after a flood is hard work and it can be heart-breaking, especially if it was more than your lawn and landscape that flooded. Replacing plants and turf is always easier than replacing a home and personal belongings. It may take some time to get everything back in place and clean, but it may also be an opportunity to make those changes to your landscape that you always wanted to do.

Have you had success helping your lawn and landscape recover after a flood? Are you looking for more tips on dealing with heavy rains, and the effects they’ve had on your grass? Let us know in the comments. And if you need help doing the work, get in touch with your local Spring-Green owner.

Pink and Grey Snow Mold

snow mold on grass

In my last blog post, I wrote about Snow Mold. I hadn’t really seen it show up yet when I wrote the blog, but within this past week, the disease has really started to show up. I was recently looking around my lawn, as most of the snow had melted and I found a good deal of both Pink and Grey Snow Mold occurring on my lawn at the same time. The temperatures had risen to the low 50s and the snow was quickly melting—two conditions that promote development of the disease.

pink snow mold on bermudagrass

In these pictures, you can see the strands of mycelium growing across the top of the turf. Again, it is usually not a serious disease, and it had completely dried out by Saturday. After winter, the grass was a little matted down, so I took a flexible rake and broke up the matted patches of grass. I did not want to rake too vigorously, as the ground was still wet and I did not want to damage the good grass.

Pink and grey snow mold is not just showing up in the northern states, however. I received the picture below from our franchise in Opelika, AL of a Bermudagrass lawn that had developed Pink Snow Mold. Actually, on warm season grasses, the disease has a much fancier name: Microdichium Patch. They have had cooler, wet weather in the South, which brought out the disease. Snow cover is not required for Snow Mold to develop. It can develop during cool, cloudy, and wet conditions, too.

Although this picture does not show the individual spots up close, snow mold is causing the lighter colored patches in the turf. But if you have matted grass after winter, know that it will recover, especially if the lawn is lightly raked.

For those of us in the North, we hope that the snow has ended for the year. We at Spring-Green are looking forward to begin servicing the lawns in our areas very soon, but we have to wait until the ground thaws. Watch for us in your neighborhood in the upcoming weeks!

Snow Mold: What It Is and How to Treat It

grey snow mold

It is early spring and the snow is beginning to melt, often bringing outbreaks of Snow Mold on many lawns. Although it is not a serious disease, snow mold can leave large destroyed areas on a lawn that will take a lot longer to turn green as the weather continues to warm up.

What Is Snow Mold?

There are two basic types of Snow Mold – Grey and Pink – named after the color that the mycelium, or fungal growths, turn as they are exposed to sunlight. Despite its name, Snow Mold can develop without snow cover. Activity is greater when temperatures are between 32 and 45 degrees with cloudy, cool, and wet weather… or in other words—spring. Both diseases can occur at the same time in the same lawn if the conditions are right.

On warm season grasses, Pink Snow Mold is called by a much more ominous-sounding name, Microdochium Patch. It is the name given to Pink Snow Mold that occurs on warm-season grasses like Bermudagrass. It is basically the same disease and they both develop pinkish mycelium. The process of developing this mycelium is often referred to as “flocking.”

pink snow mold

What Is the Best Snow Mold Treatment?

Usually by the time you get out to see if you have Pink Snow Mold, the pink color has faded away. What you will see are small, 6- to 12-inch patches of turf that appears to be glued or matted together. If there are just a few patches, the best snow mold treatment is simply running your fingers across the area to break up the matted turf. If the area is larger, you may have to likely rake the area to break up the matted turf.

Is Treatment the Same for Grey Snow Mold?

Grey Snow Mold more closely matches its name. This disease will create mats of dense mycelium, which resembles thick cobwebs spread across the turf. Many times, once the sun comes out, the mycelium will dry up and disappear. As with Pink Snow Mold, the turf may mat down, requiring some light raking.

If you are not sure what type of Snow Mold may be in your lawn, or if you even have it, contact your local Spring-Green office to have them come out to check your lawn. They can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and provide you with additional treatment options.