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upkeep for sports turf

What is Proper Upkeep For Sports Turf?

Sports turf can be used to cover high school football fields, large soccer complexes, and even golf courses.

While a game can’t always be perfect, the turf always can. What some might just see as grass, any athlete knows differently that it can help to make or break the game. Proper upkeep for sports turf can immensely change the game.

So you want to have a beautiful playing field with yards and yards of lush green sports turf. However, it isn’t necessarily that easy and turf carries it’s own list of duties for upkeep. But what are those things? If you are new to the sports turf world, you might wonder what could possibly be worried about when it comes to sports turf – it just gets installed and sits there right? Wrong. Sports turf can last for a long time if it is properly managed and well taken care of. Here, we will list just some of the many things that one should be concerned about when they have sports turf installed on playing fields.

 

Upkeep For Sports Turf

Do you know anything about soil compaction or grade in heavy traffic areas? How about aeration schedules, nitrogen application plans, or standing water? Some seasons can make your turf too spongy while others have the ability to dry it out completely. Some turf needs rest after it has been overused in events such as tournaments, and certain years others might need to be overseeded. Colors can change and even the feel can change. Sometimes turf is supposed to look and feel certain ways, and sometimes it isn’t. These are all concerns that you probably don’t want to be constantly worrying about.

 

Why try to figure out all of these things on your own? It’s not enough to pay somebody to install your turf and then watch the company leave. Use a professional company that is committed to proper maintenance and knows what they are doing. It will save many headaches and give you the piece of mind that your investment is being used to the best of its ability. If you want to learn more you can visit sportsturfonline.org or give Commonwealth Sports Turf Services a call today!

MANAGING TURFGRASS UNDER HEAT STRESS

Managing Turfgrass under Heat Stress

Throughout Virginia, cool season turfgrasses experience problems associated with summer heat stress. Typically, heat stress is most acute on turfgrasses under conditions depicted by extremely high temperatures and humidity levels that persist for several months. The summer heat with high humid conditions comes with stress on how to keep grass intact and endure the harsh weather conditions. Turfgrass becomes more vulnerable to both biological and mechanical damage that accompanies the hot season.

The Virginia Extremes

According to Virginia‘s weather reports, daytime temperatures move up to 90 degrees and 70 degrees during the night. During this warm season, artificial turf fields are considered unsuitable for play since field surface temperatures levels during the day usually reach up to 150o F; levels that pose safety concerns to field users.

Sustained heat stress greatly increases soil temperatures; thus, affecting root health, growth and function. Less damage is experienced to the roots during high spring temperatures since the soil temperature is usually cool. However, as summer reaches, the night temperatures become less cooling on the soil, resulting in a significant soil temperature rise.

High soil temperatures cause reduced root production, minimal new roots production, faster maturation and die back of the roots. Eventually, the turf thins and become more spindly.

Measures Taken to Curb Heat Stress

Managing Special Events on Turfgrass (2)

It is indeed a challenge to maintain turfgrass under heat stress.However, that does not mean that it can’t be managed. The following tips are associated with alleviating most of the problems that accompany excessive heat:

  1. Mowing heights: For the warm season, cut the grass to 1.5 to 2 inches. Taller mowed turf typically thrives compared to grasses cut at heights that are ideal only in optimal growth periods. Interchange mowing practice and rolling out greens with consideration to skipping a day if the schedule of play allows.
  2. Watering modes: Watering to supply enough soil moisture, but avoid over-irrigating since the saturated soil will result in rapid weakening of the turfgrass. With more rain during early summer, water 1 to 1.5 inches per week taking two different days. If the turf shows stress due to lack of water, field managers should water the entire green using the overhead sprinklers.
  3. Aerify using smaller tines: A superintended should use smaller tines when gasifying if the putting surface is sealed since the ones with larger diameters may penetrate deeply removing even parts of a soil core.
  4. Little amounts of fertilizer: Small doses of fertilizer should be applied with observation being done before fertilizing again.
  5. Monitoring traffic patterns to minimize stress on the turfgrass.
  6. Mower Selection. During the heat stress period, managers need to consider switching from a triplex unit to a walking greens mower or a solid roller to minimize wear stress when recovery of shoot growth is compromised by heat stress.

Better turfgrass during summer

From golf owners to superintends, it should be known that maintaining turfgrass during summer is still a challenge. Common practices like mowing and irrigation either before or during summer make turf perform better.

Irregular irrigation during spring gives room for roots to grow and preparation is also brought for the summer by leveling cooling process. When the weather is hot, irrigating frequently and light is essential since transpiration is high. What is prohibited is over-irrigation. Moderating the counter on some of the effects of hot weather, keeping the right measures will see the turf become healthy to survive the summer season.

Managing Special Events on Turfgrass

Managing Special Events on Turfgrass

Turfgrass while durable is not indestructible. It takes careful planning and maintenance to keep the surface in top condition. Each scheduled event requires careful planning and execution before, during and after the scheduled event.

Different events create varied impact

The planning begins with communication among athletic directors, coaches, band directors, ground managers, and ground keepers. This communication must include what types of events are scheduled and how those events are likely to affect the turf grass surface. Each event will affect the turf grass in different ways. Marching band practice has more foot traffic whereas a football game is more likely to stress the surface and produce more foot traffic on the sideline areas.

The need for planning

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Planning prior to the event allows grounds crews to properly maintain the turfgrass surface to ensure that it has had time to recover from the last event as well as provide necessary treatments and repairs. This maintenance may include surface repairs as well as treatments to provide necessary nutrients whether that is water, fertilizer or steps to reduce compaction or thatch build up. Ground crews will also communicate how the surface should be used leading up to the next event. This may involve sectioning off certain areas to allow repairs to have appropriate time to reach maturity.

Spaced out events help in turf retention

Scheduling is a vital element in ensuring that a surface is ready for each event. Turfgrass surfaces require time to recover from each event. Too many events scheduled too closely together can lead to damage to the surface and increase the opportunity for injuries due to a poor playing surface. Not only can too many events scheduled closely together have a negative effect on the surface the weather during and surround the event will also affect the surface and how it recovers from the event.

For this reason, practices, and other non-essential events should be held on separate practice surfaces allowing the primary playing surface the opportunity to be reserved for the main events only.

Role of the ground crew

The success of each event to be held is reflective of much planning and scheduling prior to and after the event to ensure that the turfgrass surface is able to handle the scheduled event as well as those upcoming events. Grounds crews are constantly monitoring the surface to ensure that it receives the appropriate attention whether repairs or other treatments to ensure that the scheduled events are successful and all individuals using the surface are able to enjoy the experience of the event.