WSU Extension Q&A: Over-watering can be detrimental to irrigated pastures

July 18, 2013 

Q. Is over-watering detrimental to irrigated pastures?

A. Yes, frequent over-watering stimulates shallow root growth and root disease. With shallow root growth, you reduce the area of the plant that can absorb nutrients from the soil and reduce its ability to survive drought. Over-watering also will cause the highly water soluble nutrients such as nitrogen to be rapidly washed down through the soil, making them unavailable to the plant. This increases the chances of ground water contamination with nitrates and other pollutants.

Q. My pink and white roses have brown edges around the petals and the blossoms didn’t develop fully. They look awful. What is wrong?

A. I suspect you’re describing a problem with flower thrips, and they’re probably on your other roses too, but the damage is not as noticeable. Tap a partially open flower over a white piece of paper. Look for tiny, yellowish to straw-brown insects that feed on the petals by using rasping mouthparts to scrape plant tissues. If the damage is severe, treat your rose shrubs with pesticide sprays.

Q. Recently, you told us about teff grass. How does teff grass hay fit in as a hay crop in the Northwest?

A. In the Northwest, irrigated teff will work as an emergency or rescue crop after a crop failure as long as previous herbicide applications do not prohibit stand establishment. Teff is an excellent interim crop between crops of alfalfa. In the Columbia Basin, growing teff as a double crop may be an option. In these areas, a second planting in July will produce one harvest of hay or can serve as a green manure crop.

Q. I have a chance to get some rabbit manure. Is it good for my vegetable garden?

A. Rabbit manure is a good source of fertilizer for vegetable gardens. It is best to compost the rabbit manure before using it or to incorporate it into the soil in advance of planting your vegetables.

-- Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.

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