Are we “Aquatic” Turf Grass Managers?

This is a realistic question considering the 15 plus inches of rain most of Western Oregon and Western Washington has received in December along with what is occurring in January. Most of the turf will survive this unless it has been totally suffocated. Unfortunately the grass best suited to recover quickly will be the annual bluegrass poa annua. It does better with wet feet than most others. What can we do to encourage the other turf when things return to normal? If you have not done so consider testing your soil. The best balance of nutrients and particularly the soil ph (for acidity) is your best offense. If the ph is below 6.2 consider a lime application. Pelletized lime should not be applied at more than 50 LBS/1000 sqft in any one application because it will cake on the turf – and by all means do it during the rainy season to encourage immediate action. When the soil ph is in the 6.2- 6.4 range two things are occurring: there is maximum microbial activity taking place in the soil and a majority of the nutrients are most readily available to the plants. Later in the spring continue with your normal cultural practices –particularly the aeration to encourage more air into the root zone.