Recently, the Southeast was ravaged by Hurricane Irma as she transformed from a category 5 hurricane to a tropical storm, leaving a variety of damage in her wake. We recognize that the tragedy reaches far beyond debris-filled lawns, and our thoughts and prayers are with those who are suffering the consequences of this natural disaster.
For those surfacing to evaluate outdoor damage and commence post-storm yard cleanup, we have advice gathered from the Davey blog and their recommendations on How to Clean up the Yard and Trees after a Storm, with special emphasis on handling tree problems. However, we’ve added in our own key lawn tips for you to keep in mind during this season.
Follow along with these step-by-step tips to care for your lawn after the storm.
1. Plan to treat Bipolaris with 5-10-30 fertilizer
Bipolaris is a lawn disease that results from a lack of potassium, and it’s been attacking warm season lawns like Zoysia, Bermuda, and Centipede especially hard this year. Bipolaris is caused by 10 hours per day of moisture on leaves but worsens when the ground dries out. Also, high nitrogen applications augment the disease, so go easy with that nutrient.
If you’ve already had a problem with bipolaris, the heavy rain from Irma created the “perfect storm” for Bipolaris because the rain has likely leached out potassium you have recently applied to address the problem. If you haven’t had the problem yet, please look out for it because the dry forecasts projected in the next couple of weeks may cause the disease to manifest.
Because the conditions have been perfect for bipolaris this year, and are gain PERFECT because of Irma, Super-Sod stores are now stocking high-potassium, low-nitrogen 5-10-30 fertilize to treat the Bipolaris problem. Find your nearest store location.
2. Inspect trees and power lines before clean-up
Before heading outside, make sure there are no downed power lines or trees leaning on power lines. Safety first! Before roaming around your yard to clean up, inspect trees that look as if they may pose a safety risk. Call a tree professional if this is the case.
3. Separate trash into piles
According to one Florida report, the best way to stay organized during clean-up is by separating the various debris in your yard into three piles: vegetation, garbage, and construction waste. Vegetation should include larger limbs and branches that you can easily move.
Keep the piles clear of power lines, fire hydrants, and mailboxes so trash trucks can access them without having to maneuver around the stationary obstacles.
4. Rake up twigs, leaves, and debris
Moisture from leaves left on your lawn will contribute to the likelihood of damage from Bipolaris. You can add these objects to your vegetation pile or repurpose them. If you have a compost pile, add the leaves to it. If you enjoy a nice fire in the winter, set the twigs aside to use as fire starters.
5. Evaluate plant damage
If stems on your plants have completely snapped, they are not likely to recover and you will, unfortunately, need to remove those annuals, perennials, or vegetables from your landscape.
However, if the stem is still intact, simply trim off damaged leaves and let your plants continue to grow.
6. Plan to fix drainage issues
After the big storm’s deluge, it’s likely you’ll notice areas of your lawn that hold water longer than others. Even in a typical rain storm, these areas usually take a while to drain. During yard clean-up, take note of these problem areas so you can fix them in the future.
To fix areas with standing water, level uneven parts of your lawn with Level Mix, a combination of 70% sand and 30% compost that will provide structure and promote growth in your lawn. Find written leveling instructions and a video on the Soil3 website.
If it makes sense to add some extra landscaping to the area with drainage problems, explore options such as installing a dry creek or even planting water-loving shrubbery.
If the notorious puddle magnet is causing erosion, you may also consider installing a permeable pavement system such as Drivable Grass to get a better handle on drainage.
|Keep these tips in mind as you clean up your lawn after Hurricane Irma.|
If you’re seasoned at post-storm lawn cleanup and have any other tips, we would love to hear them. Comment below to tell us about your lawn process post-storm.