Spring is in the air, and if you’re like most Minnesotans, you’re ready to get outside and enjoy the weather. Spring also brings some work to do when it comes to gardens, lawns, and general spring clean up. Many homeowners, like you, will be experiencing some standing water in their backyard which can saturate your yard and potentially cause damage to your lawn. If you’re looking out your back patio and notice water ponding, we’ve got three things you’ll want to know as you get your yard ready for spring.

1. The root cause of standing water

If you’ve asking yourself why spring can leave these unintentional ponds in your backyard, then you’re not alone. Most standing water in the spring is due to heavy spring rains or overflow from a nearby stream or river. Another cause of standing water can be poor drainage in your yard. In either case, standing water can be common as the snow starts to melt, so you’ll want to keep watch to avoid lawn damage.

2. The damage to watch for

When it comes to standing water in your yard, you’ll want to know a few things about keeping your lawn healthy as the water starts to drain. There are two factors that affect lawn damage from standing water.

  • Water temperature and depth.  Water temperature is the most important factor in determining damage and survival. The weather is on your side as most damage from standing water occurs in higher temperatures (like 80 degrees and above). Water damage in spring can occur when standing water deprives your grass of oxygen for too long.
  • Secondary damage. When water takes too long to drain, your lawn can experience sediment buildup, fungal diseases, moss, algae, and possibly weed infestations. These factors can wreak havoc on your lawn for the entire spring and summer season.


Signs of water damage include grass that is turning brown or black in color, the soil below the grass becoming soft and muddy, and the affected areas having a foul and rotten smell. If you notice these signs, your lawn may need some extra care this spring as you nurse it back to health.

3. The timing of repairs

As much as you want to start repairs to your lawn right away, it’s a good idea to let your lawn dry out as much as possible. If your yard has good drainage, and your standing water drains quickly, you’ll be able to get to work with repairs in no time. The one exception to this is leftover silt as the standing water drains. Silt can prevent your grass from getting much needed oxygen. Plan on using a hose to wash excess silt away – even before your lawn is thoroughly dried out.

Once your lawn has dried out, aeration can help you get back your green and healthy lawn. Aeration can improve drainage to your lawn and the condition of your soil so grass seed can thrive. Regular aeration is essential throughout the spring and summer months, and can help reduce compacting soil which promotes healthy growth and minimizes water damage.

If you start to notice moss growth, consider getting a moss killer and fertilizer which can keep moss from taking over your lawn and allow space for healthy grass to grow.

If you’ve experienced standing water in your yard this spring, it’s important to watch for damage and treat your lawn with care. For many homeowners, standing water can be a common problem every spring. Stay tuned for part two of this series where we’ll give some steps you can take to prevent standing water in the future.