Sloping lawns can be a real challenge to water for many lawn owners. Dependent on the particular lawn and its soil type and location, a sloping lawn may push a lot of water downhill and off the majority of the lawn’s surface instead of that water soaking into the soil. Other problems can occur for other types of sloping lawns as well, such as when flooding can happen at the lowest area of the sloping lawn, leaving water buildup in the area or extremely soggy wet soil that can be prone to heavy wear and tear conditions, or as an ideal breeding ground for lawn diseases or moss if the affected area is also shaded.
Whatever the end result of having a sloping lawn is for each of us and our own particular lawn situations, there are a few different ways to help alleviate watering problems on sloping lawns.
Water Runoff On Sloping Lawns
In this situation much of the water is not being soaked into the lawn soil, but instead runs off the lawn at the bottom of the slope. Quite often the soil will be hydrophobic / water repellent when this occurs, so this is the foundation from where to begin to repair this watering problem.
Lawn Aerification can help to loosen up old and heavily compacted lawn soils, which are then more easily accepting of water being applied to them and can also soak in more water.
Switching to using organic natural lawn fertilizers that are derived from manure or plant based sources can greatly aid in improving soil health, and can be considered for future use. Healthy organically fed soils should help soak in more water and be less water repellent.
Top dressing the lawn with a rich organic lawn soil mixture will also help to improve lawn soil quality over time, thus also aiding in reducing hydrophobia.
And the same can also be said for implementing mulch lawn mowing, which leaves lawn clippings on the lawn surface which then break down to organically feed the lawn soil, while also providing a thin protective layer of mulch to the lawn soil to reduce the effects of water evaporation. Remembering that a soil which is very dry is naturally more water repellent, whereas a soil which remains even slightly moist will soak in water far more easily.
Mowing lawns higher will create greater insulation to the lawn soil in Summer, which also aids in reducing water evaporation from the soil, which again makes the soil less hydrophobic if it is not allowed to dry out too much.
Soil Wetting Agents applied once or twice per year can also be of assistance in allowing more water to soak into the lawn soil.
If the lawn is being watered with an automated irrigation system, then staggering the watering times will also help to reduce water runoff on sloping lawns. Instead of running the irrigation for a single 20 minute session for example, we would water for 5 minutes, let that water soak into the soil for another 5 minutes, and then water again for the remaining 15 minutes. Or for particularly difficult situations, we could stagger the lawn watering into 4 five minute sessions, allowing each watering session 5 minutes rest between waterings to allow the water to soak into the soil.
Finding The Right Mix To Solve The Problem
All of the above listed methods will all help to reduce water runoff on sloping lawn areas to varying degrees. It is more than likely that a single method will not work on its own to solve the problem, so therefore a mix of some of the above methods should be considered or tested to see which can be applied together to solve the problem of water runoff on sloping lawns for good.
Every lawn, lawn soil, and lawn type are different, as are the different locations and situations where that particular lawn is being grown. So trial and error, and applying different methods at the same time will need to be tested for each individual lawn.
Flooding Or Water Buildup At The Bottom Of Sloping Lawns
When we have a situation where excess water is gathering at the bottom of lawn slopes without draining away with adequate speed, it can become a hazard for light flooding or even a slipping hazard for people, or it may foster lawn disease, or the lawn may quickly become ruined and worn out due to its always weakened state.
Some of the above listed methods to increase the soaking in of more water into the soils of sloping lawns will help more water soak into the soil at the higher end of the slope, and thereby reduce the amount of water that is gathering at the bottom of the slope. So this would be the first place to begin to ensure the water being applied to the lawn is adequately being absorbed by the soil of the entire lawn.
The lawn soil could also be replaced at the bottom of the lawn slope, so as to remove any clay type of soil that isn’t easily draining, and to replace that soil with something that has a lot more of a coarse sand component to its structure. This will also help to reduce water buildup in lawn soils, though would require the removal and replacement of the turf in the affected area.
Alternatively, by removing the affected turf again, some loose free flowing sand could be dug into the existing lawn soil to make it more free flowing for water, and which also would aid in reducing the buildup of water in the area.
A guttering channel can be installed at the bottom of the lawn slope, which catches all excess water and drains it off to another area of the yard or into an underground water drainage system. These systems are similar in dimension to roof guttering, but are installed level with the top of the lawn soil at the bottom of the sloping lawn. A grate covers the channelling so there is absolutely no tripping hazard whatsoever.