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Spare a thought for those with flooded lawns

Grass Clippings - Flooded LawnsThe recent rather wet weather and unfortunate floods around the country, prompts us to write about flooded lawns and sports fields.  Numerous sports fields are under many feet of water like Stormont Estate in Belfast.

Grass plants are so much tougher than you will give then credit for, so surviving under water for a week or so is not a major problem.

The problem for the grass plant comes from the toxins that ends up in the water, often raw sewerage.  Grass plants need atmospheric air to complete their process of photosynthesis and respiration - the conversion of CO2 and Water to Oxygen and Sugars.  We produce the Carbon Dioxide and the grass plants and trees and shrubs take this gas in and covert it to Oxygen.

In the event of flooding, what should be aerobic become anaerobic respiration, thus the respiration process without the air bit when the plants are covered in water, the grass plant will be able to survive for a short time.

The ground also needs to be able to breathe.  Bad air out the soil and fresh air in, one of the reason why we should aerate the lawn a couple of times a year.  The soil underneath the grass plant sward is after all a living eco system of millions of friendly fungi and bacteria, a bit like the friendly bacteria you get in one of those 'oh Danone' morning food supplements.  Have you ever dug through a stagnant area of the lawn that predominately lays a bit wet in the winter and smelt that awful smell - that smell is the gases caused from anaerobic conditions under the water and in a waterlogged soil where gaseous air cannot be exchanged.

If we tell you that a grass plant root can exert on a small crack or fissure (hair line crack) in the soil, up to ten times the pressure that is in your car tyre - so 350 pounds per square inch (PSI) in total - some 23 Bar!  If the irrigation water on a golf course is generally 100 PSI, then this fact puts the strength of the grass plant overall into perspective so do not mess with it... you have bee warned.

This is the main reason why left unchecked, weeds and weed grasses can easily ruin the fabric of a building or pathway or road way.

We spare a thought for the many home owners and land owners with flooded land, especially in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Worcestershire, Berkshire to name a few affected Counties.  The effect on the flooding on their lawn(s) afterall is far from the forefront of their mind.


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