Do you have a boggy or waterlogged lawn? Don’t worry you aren’t alone, it’s actually a surprisingly common problem. Waterlogged lawns usually occur over the winter and spring time when there has been a heavy rainfall, no surprise there really.
It can be quite obvious to see if your garden is waterlogged as you will be able to see small, or sometimes large, pools of water in the middle of your lovely lawn. Even if you don’t see these puddles your lawn might still be waterlogged. If you feel a squelch as you walk over your grass you have a problem.
The good news however, there is a solution!
Understand why your lawn is waterlogged
Water logging occurs when you have too much water (usually from rain) and not enough drainage in the soil to deal with it. This might be due to clay, or very compacted soil, or a poor root structure in your lawn. Is your lawn surrounded by a large non-draining area, drive, patio etc, giving the absorbent grass area too much work to do?
In the case of a small grass lawn in the middle of a large non-draining area, consider ways to reduce the amount of water that gets to the ground. Water butts can be used effectively to collect rain from any roof that would otherwise direct water onto the non-absorbing areas and then onto your lawn.
Permeable paths, drives and patios are also an option to increase the drainage area. Bark, shingle or concrete mesh options are available, providing an ecologically friendly way to improve drainage and reduce the risk of lawn water-logging.
Soil testing can also be helpful to understand the cause of the flooding. This will not only help you better understand the nature of your soil, but also what nutrients your soil might be missing, to aid your lawn in building a stronger root structure.
How to drain a lawn
If the lawn is heavily compacted, spiking is a simple first step. A pair of wellies and a strong garden fork may be all you need. Spike the flooded grass and surrounding areas. This is something you should continue with, even after your lawn has drained. Regular aeration during the spring and summer, allows more air to get into the soil, which helps the grass roots develop a healthy structure, aiding future lawn drainage.
Hollow tine aerator
If your lawn is very boggy, then consider buying a hollow tine aerator. This device looks like an overgrown garden fork, and removes small cores of earth, improving drainage, increasing oxygen levels in your soil, and promoting lawn growth. The work can be physically strenuous and if you’d rather not buy the tool then you might want to get a hollow tine aerator expert to do it for you.
If this still does not help improve lawn drainage, you may need to think about installing a drainage system in your garden. Finally, consider improving the waterlogged soil and having your lawn replaced. New turf, laid upon a bed of lawn drainage sand, overlaid with topsoil, is often the best way to fix an ongoing drainage problem.
Keeping your lawn healthy
Once the flooding has gone, other damage may have been done to your lawn. Moss thrives in a damp lawn, particularly in a shaded area or where the soil is more acid than alkaline. Moss killer can be used to effectively treat such areas.
General lawn treatments, appropriate to your soil, can be applied throughout the year to promote healthy root growth. A strong network of healthy roots, aid drainage and helps your lawn survive both the extended wet and dry spells that a British summer seems to deliver.
Over-seeding, or reseeding more barren areas of lawn, will help keep the moss at bay as well as giving you more roots to absorb the next deluge! Choose a suitable lawn seed, one that is happy to thrive in damp soil.
Waterlogged lawns and boggy grass areas are not uncommon and are often easy to fix. A little time spent on improving lawn drainage and helping your grass to recover, will hopefully yield wonderful results. More time for you to enjoy your lawn, the way you want to.