Many of the coastal states have experienced more rainfall in the past few days than all previous days of summer. Thankfully, Mississippi has not had the excessive flooding that Florida received, but our lawns have become extremely soft and overgrown. We need to be cautious about their management under these conditions.
Wet soil is much more prone to compaction, so care should be taken not to put equipment, such as heavy riding lawnmowers, on fine textured soils until there has been adequate time for drainage and drying.
The grass will be much taller than normal. To prevent scalping, or to comply with the one-third rule of not removing more than one-third of the total leaf area at a single mowing, it may be necessary to raise the mowing height slightly for the first mowing, then mow again at the normal setting only a couple days later.
It is generally best to leave clippings on the lawn to replenish nutrients unless they are excessive.
Problems with insects, weeds and particularly fungal diseases tend to proliferate following these wet, humid conditions, so careful scouting should be done to notice and manage any outbreaks.
Published August 25, 2008
Dr. Wayne Wells is an Extension Professor and Turfgrass Specialist. His mailing address is Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mail Stop 9555, Mississippi State, MS 39762. firstname.lastname@example.org