If you’ve found your way to this blog post, it’s likely that your lawn—or a portion of your lawn—is on the fritz. Whether it’s brown, weedy, soft, saturated, or sprouting up mushrooms every which way, your lawn is letting out a cry for help, and it’s up to you, as Keeper of the Grass, to get your lawn back on track.
A General Rule of (Green) Thumb
Picture yourself placing a sponge underneath the faucet and letting it absorb completely with water. Now squeeze the sponge letting all the water wring out. This image of a wrung-out sponge is a near-perfect analogy for the conditions in which you should keep your lawn (and many of your plants for that fact, too). You want your lawn moist but not saturated.
What Happens When You Overwater Your Lawn?
When you overwater your lawn, you are essentially restricting the roots’ ability to grow and your grass’ ability to breathe. In effect, you’re suffocating your lawn. While water is obviously an essential part of making sure you have nice, green grass, the need for oxygen is often overlooked. Beneath the surface of your lawn exist porous “air pockets” that supply your grass with the oxygen it needs to survive, and your lawn will become saturated when these air pockets fill up.
Additionally, grass has evolved to not have a consistent, ready supply of water. During times of drought, the roots of grass and plants—smart little buggers that they are—search and “reach” for water below the earth. When roots are constantly saturated with water, they’ll lose their ability to do this.
Sure Signs Your Grass is Calling Out for Help
- Puddles. Yup, you guessed it. Big surprise here. Who woulda thunk that puddles and runoff water on your grass meant that it was overwatered? Huh.
- Weeds. While your lawn may dislike the extra water, weeds may flock to the dampness like hippies to a Grateful Dead concert. If your grass seems weedier than normal, it may be worth scaling back the water (if you can control it).
- The fungus among us. Our cute little mushroom buddies also have a hankering for the dampness, too. In addition to mushrooms popping up, if your grass starts to turn brownish yellow, it may also be suffering from root rot, another type of fungus affecting, well, the roots.
- Footsteps. A solid, early, and easy test you can do to see if you’re overwatering is just walking across it. If you look back and see footprints, it’s likely your grass has gotten a bit too much water. When grass is healthy, it’s very springy and can return to its original position with ease.
- Brown grass. When many homeowners see brown grass, their immediate reaction is to water it. And while this reaction is often warranted, it’s important to remember that underwatered and overwatered grass can both present this way.
If your grass presents any of these above symptoms, scale back the water by either forgoing the sprinkler for a few days or doing a reverse rain dance. Remember: grass is resilient and will bounce back, but this becomes more difficult the longer it’s left untreated.