By Anessa V. Cohen

So much for global warming! This past week has been so cold, I was adding thermals on top of thermals before putting on my coat. While we shiver here, most of the town has left for intersession week, heading to warmer and sunnier climates, without jackets, just soaking up the sun and forgetting about the rest of us stuck here back at home with the snow and the ice.

Just thinking about warmer and sunnier climates makes me mellow and relaxed. I keep looking at the calendar and thinking, “Only one or two months left until wonderful weather and putting this winter behind us.” Maybe I should use this as my Purim theme, since with the early calendar this year, Purim is just around the bend (hopefully together with spring).

One of the concerns after fixing our homes, post-flood, is what to do with the damage caused to our landscaping from the floodwaters and debris carried with it. Since we really do not know what was present in the floodwaters, we have to assume that our lawns and flowerbeds, as well as various bushes and trees, were either damaged or destroyed by the floodwaters and its contents, or at the very least by the salt content.

I found this informative direction on eHow about how to clean and repair our lawns post-flooding. I thought I would share it with everyone.

General instructions. Use a water hose to rinse away the sediment left behind from the floodwaters in your flood-damaged yard. Lightly rake the yard to remove any metal, plastic, or other foreign items left from the flood.

Take an assessment of your grass to determine if it is healthy enough to be saved. If the lawn has sustained minimal damage–the grass retains much of its green color and the root structure is intact–purchase some dolomitic lime from a local hardware store to disinfect the lawn. (If you are doing this during the winter and there is no green, take a chance and just try to save it.) The calcium in the lime will also nourish the damaged grass. The University of Missouri Extension’s website advised tilling and reseeding a lawn that has been waterlogged or sediment-covered for longer than four days

Use a soil pH tester to check the acidity of the soil in your yard before reseeding. Set the switch on the tester to the “pH” position, and then stick the probes on the bottom of the tester into your soil. Read the tester’s pH meter to find out the level of acid present in your soil. Test several other spots in your yard to get an idea of how acidic your soil is. This will indicate how much lime you need.

Place the lime into a drop spreader and then distribute the lime evenly across your lawn. Use one 20-to-30-pound bag of lime for every 1,000 square feet of yard space. If your yard’s pH is just barely outside the optimal level of acidity for the type of grass you will grow, use less lime–try using one bag for every 1,500 to 2,000 square feet of yard space.

Work the lime into the soil with a garden rake. For lawns that are too damaged to revive, use a shovel and garden rake to mix the lime about half a foot down into your yard. Reseed and fertilize the lawn two weeks after you’ve mixed the lime into your soil.

Tips and warnings. Wear a pair of thick-soled boots to protect yourself from any sharp objects that may have washed in with the flood. Keep children and pets out of the yard while the lawn is being restored.

Even if this is something you do not want to do yourselves and you would like your gardener or some hired workers to do for you, giving them this instruction advisory might be helpful, since most of the people that you might hire will not have experience with restoration of landscaping after a flood.

Here’s to all of our lawns looking green again by the spring! v

Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker and a licensed N.Y.S. mortgage broker with over 20 years of experience, offering full-service residential and commercial real-estate services (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and mortgaging services (First Meridian Mortgage) in the Five Towns and throughout the tri-state area. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to

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