What can I do for my waterlogged lawn?

Will anything ever grow here?

I stood in shock this morning viewing my yet to be landscaped “lawn” and wondered once again, “what can I do for my waterlogged lawn”? The muddy holes and ruts left from this newly built home appear to be at least a foot deep. It’s really hard to imagine that one day, anything at all will grow here. For most folks with established yards, you may wonder the same thing.

You want the bad news first?

Let’s say you do have an established lawn, even if it is brown and looks dead, it is still a living, growing plant. In fact, this is an important time for the root system to grow and expand, but it needs oxygen to survive. Brace yourself for a really disturbing comparison. The roots are so saturated by this non-stop rain, it’s as if they were being held underwater and drowning. Don’t shoot the messenger, but if temperatures dip into the low twenties or below, that’s even more stress on your grass.

Hang on, there’s more bad news.

There are some weeds that thrive in these water-saturated conditions. Heavy and frequent rain plays a big role in what types of weeds pop up and how fast they grow. So don’t get too happy when something, anything pops up in a few weeks. This is probably not what you were hoping for.

Let’s see. We covered the rain, cold, and weeds. What else? Wind!

What more can we drop on our exhausted and drenched lawn? Oh yes, wind. When you are left with wet, soft soil, and spring winds come into play, tree roots don’t anchor very well. If you have an older tree in your yard, or a tree that leans over or toward your home, now is a great time to contact a tree surgeon for advice.

Finally, some good news.

While you have all of this standing water in your yard, walk around and take notice, pull out your phone and take photos. The good news is that these notes and photos can tell you (and your lawn care professional) lots about problem areas. You may not remember as much in a few weeks when the sun is shining and the “ponds” have dried up. Look for specific problem areas that are holding water. These areas are going to become thinner and produce more weeds, some could even seep under your foundation. While Lawn and Pest Solutions doesn’t offer drainage services, please contact us and we’ll be happy to consult with you and help you find a reputable contractor.

It’s going to be ok. Aeration and LPS can help.

You can’t stop the rain, so stop worrying. Grass is a resilient plant and it will break dormancy soon, making this an excellent time for aeration. The aeration process will fight the damage from so much rain and help it access the oxygen it needs to grow. If you haven’t aerated your lawn in the last year or two, you should definitely consider lawn aeration this year. You don’t have to ask anymore, “what can I do for my waterlogged lawn”? Our licensed lawn care professionals at Lawn and Pest Solutions can very quickly respond to your call and give you a free quote.

Good news, the murder rate of crape myrtles is declining

No longer victims to “crape murder”, North Mississippi crape myrtles are thriving more than ever!

Kudos to the person who first coined the term “crape murder”…it worked. Today, I drove around my beautiful small town in North Mississippi looking for photo opportunities of crape murder. As small towns and gossip go,  I knew better than to post a picture of my neighbor’s lawn (yikes, they really committed a heinous crime). So, I changed my search for a public property, one where the crape myrtles have been hacked off by chainsaws and look like scary stumps with big knots at the top. To my surprise, people have been listening! Our crape myrtles along the main street area are in lovely condition for this time of year. The canopies of crape myrtles in our parks have been lovingly and appropriately trimmed. Even those in neighborhoods throughout town look like they are going to blossom out and be strong for the season. Though there were plenty of knotted, gnarled and shrunken “victims”, it looks like people are getting the message!

Am I a murderer?

Many crape murders are committted by cutting back on the main trunks, on the same location every year and often to a height of around 4-5’.  Yes, some of these practices will lead to many new shoots and lots of blossoms, but these new shoots will be very weak. The weak shoots can’t support the heavy blooms and they will droop and weep from the strain. Each year, as the pruning occurs in the same spots, knots will develop on the trunks.  These knots are not only unattractive, but they also contribute to weakness in our trees. This is crape murder.

I don’t want to be a murderer!

First of all, timing is everything! WHEN you prune your crepe myrtle is of utmost importance! In North Mississippi, the ideal time to prune is late January through February. You can still make corrective pruning as late as March or April, though.  If you missed your chance already this year, just mark your calendar for next year, and make notes….

Repeat after me, “it’s a tree, not a bush”

Don’t prune far down onto the main trunks; allow your crape myrtle to look like a tree. Ideally, your crape myrtle should look like an umbrella from a distance. 

Don’t cut out large sections, just remove branches that cross one another. If there are seed pods from last year, remove those, too! If your tree is too tall, you can prune it back down to a more appropriate height, but don’t do this every year. 

Ok, I want to plant a crape myrtle…

If you are considering planting crape myrtles, consult with a professional, or at the very least, do a little research first. Here are a few big ideas:

Where you plant your crape myrtle will either contribute to the successful life or the untimely death of your beautiful ornamental tree. 

Crape myrtles need lots of sun but not a lot of water to live in our area. 

Pruning and long-term care is just as important to the lifespan of a crape myrtle. 

 For more reading on crape murder,proper care and planting*, read this great article in Southern Living.

While Lawn and Pest Solutions does not offer a pruning service, we want to help you maintain a beautiful lawn. We have customers all over North Mississippi and our licensed technicians are ready to assist you. You can contact us here for a quote.