Total Washout: Will my seed germinate in heavy rain?

Total Washout: Will my seed germinate in heavy rain?
Total Washout: Will my seed germinate in heavy rain?

Whilst the British summer is busy buffering, in some parts of the UK we’ve been treated to 3 months of rain – so what does this mean for seed that you’ve recently sown?

Well it really depends on how well your soil drains – in most cases, rain will drain away into your soil and do your watering for you and your seed will be largely unharmed. However, if you find your seed is sitting in a puddle – this could risk the rate at which your seed germinates.

Most soils are free draining, if you find that rain doesn’t drain away easily your lawn may already be suffering from compaction or may not have an adequate draining system underneath.

So if you are finding that this is an issue, there are a few steps that you can take to help flood proof your lawn to prevent it happening in future and a few tips you can use to help improve the situation, if the weather doesn’t!

1. Ensure your lawn is well aerated

Aeration to most may seem like an out-there concept for the average home owner, but it does greatly help the dynamics and appearance of your lawn. Grass is a living thing, and soil is its greatest support system. If your soil is hard, dry and compacted it will struggle to drain. Aerate your lawn using an aerator machine, or if you have a small lawn use a pitchfork to spike the lawn and alleviate this issue.

2. Add some top soil and sand

If you have particularly problematic soils e.g. heavy clay, adding some top soil and sand will help to improve the top layer of soil for where you will be sowing your seed. We also have a great grass mix that contains grass seed that is deep rooting, this will help to improve the soil structure of your heavy clay soils and allow water to flow freely.

3. Minimise the risk

If you have gutters or drains that are close or lead to your lawn, it is a good idea to clear these out to ensure there isn’t a build up of water that may then end up leaving your lawn sodden. Get rid of any leaves or debris – not the most pleasant job in the world, but one that will definitely help!

If rain puddles aren’t draining from your lawn you can manufacture some run off points, especially if your lawn does not have any slopes. Directing the water to more stable parts of your garden e.g. patio or concrete, will give your grass some breathing space.

While slopes are useful in this situation, too many lumps and bumps in your lawn will cause water to collect in one area. By starting off your seeding with a level seed bed, created by raking with a spring tined rake, you can help to avoid this happening in the future.

Even though grass seed is resilient stuff, if exposed to deep levels of water for an extended amount of time the successful outcome of its germination will decrease. By taking the above steps, you can help future proof your lawn and protect your grass seed if this wet weather continues!