Plant grass flooded land for soil health

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Don't wait to develop a restoration plan for land devastated by floods. Quick action can prevent erosion and maintain soil health, said Matt Fenske, vice president of business development for Millborn Seeds, a grass seed company located in Brookings and North Sioux City, S.D.

"I know it's an overwhelming mess today, but if nothing is done to repair and replant this summer, soil biology will disappear and there will be nothing to stop further erosion," said Fenske, who vividly recalls working with his team of specialists to restore land following 2011 flood events. Areas of South Dakota, Minnesota and northwest Iowa had major flooding in recent weeks.

Fenske went on to suggest that living plants are essential to soil health. "They maintain soil biology, prevent compaction, enhance water infiltration and keep weeds at bay."

Waiting until next spring to replant and repair flood damaged ground is not a good option as it puts top soil at risk.

"Whether you are working with a flooded lawn, ballpark or farm field, if nothing is growing, top soil will be lost," Fenske said.

Fenske is among a team of grass seed specialists who work to provide restoration tools and intelligent grass seed solutions for various projects. He outlines a few options below.

For parks, lawns and roadway rights of way, once the soil dries out, if the land is replanted in August or early September there is still time for turf to establish before winter.

This is also an opportunity to replant a grass seed mixture that is better suited for the land's growing conditions or to meet a new landscaping goal such as introducing a variety that requires less water or mowing.

As for farmland, quick growing forages or cover crops are a good solution. Along with the benefits of maintaining soil health, weed and erosion control, varieties can be selected to fix nitrogen, increase water infiltration and alleviate compaction.

"The overall objective is to make the right restoration choices this summer so that the land makes a healthy return next spring," Fenske said.

Additional information is at

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