Overseeding? Verticutter? Slit-Seeding? Slice Seeder? What to Do!?
Caring for sports turf can be difficult, not only due to the wear-and-tear from constant use by athletes, but because those responsible for the turf may not have the knowledge necessary to keep the turf healthy and looking attractive. Often, sports turf is managed by small municipalities, school districts or park services that have not had the benefit of extensive training in the maintenance of the turf used for sports. Therefore, it is important to understand the differences between the many methods for preparing and maintaining turf.
Overseeding is the process of adding seed to or over existing turf, and can be accomplished in a variety of ways. This can occur before the season begins or to address problems that develop after the seasons begins. During sports seasons, high traffic areas can get worn away, allowing brown patches to develop on the field. These areas include:
In those cases, overseeding the entire field Is not necessary, but by overseeding the area as soon as thin turf develops can help avoid the formation of bare spots. However, it is important to choose grasses that germinate and establish quickly, such as ryegrass or festulolium. These grasses germinate in three to five days. Ref Sports Field Management Magazine
One overlooked method for boosts turf health is the use of a verticutter. A verticutter has vertical blades, normally arranged between .025 and 1.5 inches apart on a disc that dredge up thatch and open the canopy in order to allow the turf to breathe. Not only does the process remove excess thatch, but it also extracts organic material at or below the plant crown area. The machine is often confused with an aerator, but the machines provide different benefits. Verticutters dig deeper into the turf, severing stolons and stems, creating visible results. After using a verticutter, it is important to make a pass over the area with a mower to remove any residual debris that could cause damage to the turf surface. Ref Grounds Mag
Slit or Slice Seeding
A slice or slit seeder cuts grooves into the soil placing seed in the grooves in order to provide good seed to soil contact. The slit or slice seeder actually overseeds as it removes thatch and opens the canopy to provide better nutrition for the turf. Slit seeders offer a higher germination rate than broadcasting seed that may not come into contact with the soil. However, it is possible to use a verticutter to create the slits and then broadcast seed immediately after in order to allow the seed to fall into the slits cut by the verticutter. A slice or slit seeder combines both processes which can be a time and money saver, especially for heavily used sports turf fields.
Overseeding is a critical part of maintaining healthy, green sports turf. It can eliminate high-traffic areas and keep the field looking lush throughout the season. Whether using a verticutter and broadcaster to overseed the lawn or a slice/slit seeder, overseeding should be done whenever it appears that areas of the field are getting thin due to high-traffic. To learn more about verticutters, seeders and overseeding, visit us at Commowealth Sports Turf by phone or online today.