How to Prepare Your Turf for Winter

Sports fields need to be maintained year round for the safety of the athletes. Field and turf have to be ready for the athletes to play on safely and to do also well at their sport. Late fall care is pertinent for high school and kids football fields. This is to help avoid damages as much as possible from the winter freeze.

Maintaining field and turf for these football fields allow commissioners, coaches, officials and parents to understand what is needed to maintain a safe playing field for their kids.

Football Fields in the North

The turf on the football fields in the northern part of the US, is mostly Kentucky Blue grass, perennial ryegrass and tall fescue. The turf may remain green in some areas in November, before it dies. So preparing early for the winter will bring an early spring where you can fertilize in the middle of April, instead of in the beginning of the month. The grass may be gone, but the roots may be growing into the winter, in most areas. Always fertilize with extra seeds, in the late fall.

Early Spring Healthy Field

Applying fertilizer in late fall is beneficial to having healthy growing turf in early spring for the green-up. A good rule of thumb is to apply one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, right after the first hard frost. This also helps the turf plants deal with the cold weather.

Use SEO or Google to get a guide to tell you how much fertilizer what you need. Check to see if there are any restrictions with your State on any times of the year that fertilizer is not allowed to be applied first. Use slow release nitrogen and apply it right after the frost has gone down and the soil has just become softer.

Aerification is Needed

Heavily used fields could cause soil compaction. This means that the air gets squeezed out of the pores between soil particles. As those air pockets disappear, there is less oxygen for the turf roots to grow. As a result, the turf suffers from a host of other problems that involve soil compaction.

Soil compaction is relieved through a process called, aerification. This involves removing the soil cores from the field. Then you re-create the air pockets in the soil. That produces a softer surface for the turf to grow and a safe field for the players to play on.


Real_CompostCompost with aerification could give great results in improving your field’s soil. To determine if your field can benefit from this, you can get the organic matter tested at your state’s land grant university. They can perform an organic matter test for your field and turf.

Some labs will not only test the organic matter, but they will give a generalization as to how much compost to apply. It’s important to select the compost with characteristics that will improve healthy turf growth.


Speading SeedHopefully, you have been overseeding. When you have some leftover seed, spread it onto the field after the last game. Pulling all these maintenance factors together is a great way to put your field to bed for the winter.


To seek professional help, contact Commonwealth Sports Turf Maintenance and they help get your field ready.



Keith Kitchen