How can I increase my lawn's ability to absorb water?

  • Build and maintain healthy soil that allows air, water, and plant root growth.
  • Use a mulching mower and leave clippings on the lawn. The clippings break down and give the soil better structure, allowing it to drain water more efficiently.
  • Aerate your lawn annually followed by a topdressing of compost. As lawns age, their soils tend to compact and lose the air spaces in between the soil particles that provide oxygen to roots and spaces for water and fertilizer to soak in. Deep, native plant roots help maintain these air spaces, but short turf grass roots do not. Performing core aeration in your yard can help manage your surface drainage, contribute to less standing water, and make your lawn healthier. Core aeration equipment or services can be obtained through local lawncare providers.


Fertilize properly. Click here for the 4Rs: Right Type, Right Rate, Right Time and Right Place.


Mow lawns to the proper height, 3” for most lawns with a sharp blade, and never cut more than one third of the existing grass height at one time. Cutting too low leaves the lawn vulnerable to stress and disease.


Consider replacing soggy section of lawn with a native plant garden. Instead of planting grass in that wet spot in your lawn, consider landscaping with plants that grow well in wet areas. Water-loving plants offer great possibilities for interesting easy-care gardens and help soak up that extra water. It is important to first determine how large the area is, how deep the water gets and how often it remains wet. Some varieties of plants require very shallow water and others, deeper water. Plants that can tolerate short periods of standing water as well as fluctuating water levels are good choices for the lowest zone because the soil may dry out during dry periods. Species that can tolerate extremes of wet soils and dry periods are also appropriate for the middle zone, which is slightly drier.


A rain garden is another possibility. A rain garden intercepts water so it doesn't pool in a low area.