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Research Farm to be Named for Turfgrass Pioneer

PUYALLUP, Wash. — Whenever you visit a cool green park, play on a grassy play field or enjoy a round of golf on a well-manicured course you are enjoying the legacy of retired Washington State University turfgrass researcher Roy Goss.

On Tuesday, July 25, WSU will honor Goss by renaming its turfgrass research farm near Puyallup the Roy L. Goss Turfgrass Research Farm. The dedication ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. at the farm, located at 15403 Bowman-Hilton Road, Puyallup. Goss is scheduled to be at the dedication. The ceremony will precede the biennial turfgrass field day for turfgrass and landscaping professionals.

Goss began his career in 1958, accepting a newly created position of turfgrass researcher and extension agent at WSU’s Western Washington Research Station in Puyallup. At the time it was one of only a handful of turfgrass research programs in the country, and the second west of the Mississippi.

His research found that managing fertilizer use for all types of turf including those used for sports fields and golf putting greens was an effective way to minimize fungi and diseases, thus reducing applications of fungicides and other treatments.

Goss also instigated the use of sand as a base for sports fields and putting greens to improve drainage and reduce damage from heavy use, significantly reducing maintenance costs. His approach is still the standard used today.

His research on planting deep-rooted fescue grass to control erosion on slopes with minimal topsoil gave the state Department of Transportation a new approach to establishing vegetation on rocky banks along state highways. The new approach has saved state taxpayers millions of dollars over the years.

WSU researchers continue to build on his legacy at the research farm. The six-acre farm includes trial plots on new turf grass varieties, including twenty thousand square feet of sand-based sports turf and thirty thousand square feet of putting green turf.

Goss retired from WSU in 1988 and lives with his wife in Okanogan.

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Media Contacts

Gwen Stahnke, WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center, 253-445-4513