What a difference a month makes in a a sub-tropical climate! Last month we covered how to care for your gardens and lawns in extreme heat – and after a solid amount of rain in the last few weeks we thought we would cover what to do for your gardens & lawn after huge rainfalls!
Excessive rain can cause problems in the garden that will stick around long after the rain ends. Above ground, plants are pretty resilient and don’t mind the rain, though it can result in some leaf diseases in prolonged wet weather as some fungi will sprout in wet conditions.
The root system is where most problems will appear after very wet weather. Wet soil combined with high temperatures can result in destructive conditions for the root system of some plants.
Prolonged heavy rains leave the soil waterlogged and this prevents the root system from getting the right mix of oxygen and nutrients from the soil. Ultimately, if the root system is unhealthy the plant will suffer. Fungal growth also occurs in the soil, encouraged by the wet weather, which can lead to rot.
Some tips to help the garden recover after heavy periods of prolonged rain:
- Check for plant damage and remove any badly damaged leaves. Use stakes to help any plants that are drooping
- Try not to walk in the garden beds – that will compact the soil and reduce the ability for oxygen to get to the root systems
- Use a good fertiliser to put back some of the nutrients that will have been washed away in the rain
- Check drainage – storms are a good opportunity for you to identify areas of the garden that don’t drain well and plan to address those once it all drys out again
- Check for exposed roots and cover them with soil to protect the plants
- Remove any weeds that pop up after the rain
- Look for fungal diseases and treat as appropriate
- Don’t forget to turn off your automatic watering systems for a little while until things dry out
- If the soil does not drain effectively, consider moving off some of the mulch (temporarily) from around the plant stems to help the water to evaporate naturally
- You can also use a garden fork to aerate the soil around the plants to help evaporation and oxygenation
Just like your plants, lawn roots need oxygen from the soil to maintain their health. Heavy rains and waterlogged soil mean little oxygen for the root system, which can cause issues for the lawn.
Some tips to help the lawn recover after heavy periods of prolonged rain:
- Keep off the lawn as much as possible – this will reduce compaction of the soil when it is wet and help keep oxygen in the soil around the root system
- Check your drainage systems – make sure the water is able to drain away easily as much as possible
- Check for exposed roots and cover them up again
- Rake up any heavy sediment or debris to allow some room for the lawn to recover
- Use a very light fertiliser to help replace any of the nutrients washed away during the storms. Be careful not to over fertilise though!
- Look for signs of rot or fungal diseases which can be common in excessively wet soil
- If you need to mow it, keep the mower height high and mow it in 2 or 3 goes to gradually reduce the lawn height. That way you won’t risk damaging the lawn
If you need any advice or assistance with your lawn or gardens here on the Sunshine Coast, contact the team at Fence & Garden to talk to our experts!