How to manage your garden after too much rain

muddy garden

Rain is a good thing, especially when it comes to growing plants, but too much rain can ruin a garden.

What happens when your plants get too much rain

The soil can only take so much water. After it’s maxed out, the water can pool, flooding your plants and washing seeds away. Weeds can grow rampant. It’s even impossible to get into your garden to tend to your plants without sinking several inches in the mud. You may end up with stunted plants and poor production after too much rain.

Excessive soaking after rain showers and storms can ruin plants’ roots, which in turn affects how plants grow. According to Kansas State University Extension’s Horticulture Blog, waterlogged soil will push out oxygen. All parts of plants need oxygen to survive, so if they don’t have oxygen, they won’t survive. Deep roots may be affected first, but shallow roots can also succumb to damage if wet weather continues.

What to do if your garden receives too much rain

If your region has received too much rain recently, consider these four ways to help your garden recover.

Turn off your irrigation system. Stop watering your garden when rain is in the forecast. Even though soil moisture levels may be high, excess rain can remove oxygen from the soil and drown roots.

After the rain, check your plants to see if they are wilting or have leaf scorch. This is common in hot weather.

Stay out of the mud. Avoid walking in your garden if it’s muddy. Consider putting down mulch between rows of plants. Or, walk on boards or similar materials in your garden when the dirt is soaked instead of traipsing through the mud and adding to soil compaction.

Also, avoid digging in wet soil. Wait until it has dried out before working in your garden.

Combat soil compaction. Delaware Cooperative Extension System recommends applying mulch or groundcovers to soil to reduce compaction. Or, aerate the soil by using a core aerator, which is a tool that removes small plugs in the soil and eases compaction. A wooden dowel rod or metal rod can be used to make the holes, too.

Take care of your plants. Wet weather brings out an abundance of slugs that will feed on both living and decaying plants. You can handpick slugs or set up traps to get rid of them. University of Minnesota Extension suggests drowning slugs in soapy water, smash them, spray them with 5 or 10 percent diluted ammonia or even pour fermented food into a container that will lure and kill them.

Bear in mind that disease can spread from standing water to fruits and vegetables on plants in your garden. Kansas State University Extension advises not eating any fruits or vegetables from plants with yellowed leaves. If water has been contaminated with sewage or animal manure, do not consume fruits or vegetables that have come in contact with it.

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Katie Woods grew up in Columbiana, Ohio. Katie likes reading, writing, enjoying the outdoors and DIY projects.


  1. Heavy and I mean heavy rains have hit the Carolina’s! My deck plants have had more water then they need. Question. Should I pull the planters under the roof or put some slats under each 40 gallon tub for proper drainage? I have an outdoor fan that is running right now. No rain so far this morning? Trying to keep plants a little bit dry? Anything else I can do? You know how the old saying goes. When it rains it pours. Thanks. Good day,mate

  2. if I find slugs or snails in my garden can i put them in my compost?

    Also what do I do if i just planted potato plants and it rained A LOT?


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