Lawn Bubble and how to fix it

Have you ever seen a lawn bubble? Isn’t it fun to hop around on that soft, bulging portion of the lawn that looks much like a waterbed, or stab it to drain the water away?

lawn bubble
A video screencast of lawn bubble courtesy of Craveonic ZooM from YouTube

Grass bubbles aren’t unusual occurrences. A few years ago, a man named James Callender shared a video of a lawn bubble, which was larger than the waterbed, in his residence in Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania. The footage also showed what he did to flush out the excess water.

Then there was also a news story about two Alabama kids who hopped onto the lawn blister, causing muddy water to gush out from the surface.

While it is fun to see lawn bubbles, turf blisters, or grass waterbeds – whatever you might want to call them — they can be quite annoying especially when you want to keep your lawn tidy and presentable. That pockets of water stuck beneath the grass wouldn’t drain easily, so they can damage your lawn in the long run.

See Top 10 Huge Grass Bubbles

So, what causes a lawn bubble?

There are several reasons why grass bubbles develop and the most common one is due to the plastic sheeting that’s layered to cover bad soil, specifically heavy clay soil.

Because clay soil compacts easily, it becomes difficult to grow and keep a lush green lawn with it. That’s why some landscapers cover clay soil with plastic sheeting before adding the topsoil to grow the grass on.

The major drawback of using this method is that the water gets trapped between the grass and the plastic, causing a “bubble” or “blister” to protrude on the surface of the lawn.

Another reason is the heavy rainfall, which happens even without the plastic layers underneath the lawn.  In this case, lawn bubbles are formed when the water is trapped between the thick grass and the soil underneath.

Bubbles may also form when the lawn becomes too soggy as a result of a broken water pipe. When the pipe is broken, the water continuously flows until your lawn gets all soaked up in the water. An example of this was the 18-inch high lawn blister that was reportedly found in the Greywolf Golf Course in Canada.

Are Lawn Bubbles Dangerous?

Grass bubbles are not necessarily dangerous, but because they practically contain large quantities of muddy water, your grass becomes susceptible to drowning or getting uprooted. If left untreated, lawn bubbles can eventually kill your grass.

What could make grass bubbles hazardous is when carbon dioxide and methane are trapped beneath the grass instead of water, like the 15 lawn blisters that were formed in Siberia. These gas pockets were originally thought to be the icy top layers of the soil that melted but didn’t penetrate the ground because it was still frozen underneath. Later, scientists came to believe that the permafrost melted due to abnormal heat, which resulted in the release of greenhouse gases that formed a bubble.

These bubbles are dangerous because they can destroy the Earth’s atmosphere and worsen the climate situation when ruptured.

Steps to Getting Rid Of Lawn Bubbles

Now that you know what lawn bubbles are, what causes them, and how dangerous they can be, you should prep yourself in case you see one or two wobbly patches around your lawn.

Surely, they are more ways than one to eradicate those troublesome lawn bubbles. The goal is to get rid of them as carefully as possible without causing any further damage to your lawn.

So, let’s find out in this tutorial the proper way to treat them and some tips and tricks to protect your lawn from those irritating blisters.

Figure out the causes

Don’t just pop the blisters in your lawn right away; you should first identify the causes as to why they are formed. Heavy downpour may be one of the obvious reasons, but if the source is a broken water pipe, you’ll have to get it fixed before starting to repair your lawn. Doing so will save you more time, money, and energy in the long run, so make sure to check your pipes for any crack or leakage to prevent lawn bubbles from reappearing.

pipes leakage

Have your tools ready

It is important to choose the right tool for tearing a portion of the grass bubble to minimize the damage it may cause to your lawn. In this case, you can use any sharp-pointed tool to pierce through the turf and drain the water inside the bubble.

Gardening tools

Create drainage points

Before bursting the bubble, you’ll have to create some drainage areas to move the water away from the bubble. Once you’ve decided where to place the drainage, you’ll have to dig some trenches to allow the water from the bubble to flow outside your lawn. As soon as your trenches are ready, you can start tearing the bubble apart.

As much as possible, create only a few holes around the bubble. A single tear wide enough for the water to come out is better than multiple punctures, which will surely leave your lawn sodden or damaged.

Lawn Bubble drainage points
Video screencast courtesy of Michael Cudaback from YouTube

Repair your lawn

The process does not end with puncturing the lawn blister. You’ll soon find out that after removing the bubble, your lawn won’t probably be as attractive as it was before.  That’s why you’ll have to make the necessary repair to the affected portion to bring your lawn back to life.

Patching is one option to restore the damaged areas of your lawn. You’ll need to prepare the soil first by removing the weeds. Then mix a handful of seeds with the soil and spread them over to the affected spot. Finally, add just enough water to moisten the area. The result would look like a patchwork quilt on your lawn, which doesn’t look bad at all.

However, if you want to redo your entire lawn, by all means, do it. If your lawn is layered with plastic sheeting underneath, you may consider ditching them altogether and amend the soil instead. In amending poor soils, you can apply limestone to improve its structure and increase nutrient availability. Another is to mix organic matter like decayed compost or animal manures on the soil surface.

Still another way is by mulching it with grass cuttings. After mowing, simply dump the clippings on the lawn; they serve as a protective layer and also help fertilize your lawn.

Lawn Maintenance and Other Ways to Get Rid of Lawn Bubbles

Lawns need proper care and maintenance. Even after eradicating the grass bubbles, they may recur if you don’t take the proper action. Below are some additional tips for your consideration:

  • Create a drainage system. Proper drainage is necessary to protect the lawn from waterlogging and to prevent bubbles from reappearing. You can accomplish this by digging a necessary trench for the excess water to flow easily into the lawn’s periphery. If the lawn is oversaturated with water, you might want to consider installing French drain, which is a channel filled with gravel or stone, to allow water to move more easily.
  • Aerate Your Lawn. When you see pools of water forming every time it rains, it’s time to aerate your lawn. Aeration utilizes a machine to break up the soil surface, allowing the water and fertilizer to infiltrate the ground and reach the roots of the grass.

Aerating your lawn is also necessary to remove the cores from the soil and to reduce compacting, which will affect the growth of your lawn. Ideally, you need to aerate your lawn every two to three years.

  • Install a rain garden. A rain garden is designed to collect rainwater, reduce storm runoff and flooding, and sieve dirt and other impurities that come with the runoff. It also acts as a retention basin that slowly drains the water, thus preventing the accumulation of excess water that can cause lawn blisters to form from the ground.

Rain gardens have plenty of environmental benefits, hence, it’s highly recommended to have one installed on your property. Not only does it reduce localized flooding, but it also refills groundwater, improves water quality, and adds beauty to your home, among others.

  • Inspect your lawn from time to time. The best precautionary measure to get rid of lawn bubbles is by regularly checking your lawn. Make sure to create a proper channel for the water to flow once it rains to help protect the grass from “drowning”.
  • Seek help from a professional landscaper. You can always choose to have artificial turf installed in your property. This needs little maintenance than the natural grass because it won’t need much water.

Conclusion

Lawn bubbles are not entirely challenging to deal with, but due to their damaging effects on your lawn and the environment, you need to follow the correct methods to eliminate them completely and to shield your lawn from further destruction.

Has this tutorial been helpful? I hope it has provided you with all the information you need to combat grass bubbles and fix your lawn and gradually restore its beauty. Let us know how we can improve this tutorial by leaving your comments and suggestions below.

 

Nicolas Wayne

Gardening and lawn care enthusiast

Nicolaslawn
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