Empiezo hoy!: #GFFF Grass Field Foto Friday

La popularida de “Hashtag Holiday” por los medios socials sigue creciendo. ¿Has participado en alguno de estos?

#MM: Motivational Monday (Lunes Motivacional)

#TT: Tip Tuesday (Martes Propina)

#WW: Wednesday Wisdom (Miércoles Sabiduría)

#TBT: Throw Back Thursday (Recordar Jueves)

#FF: Follow Friday (Siga Viernes)

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Hashtags son un gran instrumento para llevar la emoción y la conciencia de muchas cosas diferentes. Entonces ¿Por qué no usamos el Hashtag para compartir el fantástico trabajo que usted y otros gerentes de céspedes de deportivo hace cada día en los campos de césped natural de todo el mundo?

Presentando #GFFF Grass Field Foto Friday. Durante todo el mes de Septiembre, utilice el hasta #GFFF: Grass Field Foto Friday y compartir sus fotos mas favoritos de campos de céspedes naturales. Publicar fotos que muestran el arte y la maestría de su trabajo…haciendo campos de céspedes natural fantástico! Campos de juego, campos de entrenamiento, campos en su propio césped…mostrar su trabajo! Comparte en Facebook, Twitter, Instagram y cualquier otro medio social que podría utilizar. Compartir y estar orgulloso de su trabajo y reforzar la profesionalidad de ti mismo y de los gerentes de céspedes deportes de todo el mundo!

Juntos podemos construir un día internacional promoviendo la participación de todo el mundo!

¿Por qué ahora? Los meses de agosto y septiembre es el tiempo ideal para campos de césped natural de todo el mundo. Con el comienzo del futbol americano y futbol, la Liga Mayor y Menor de beisbol en la recta final, y futbol en America y J-League con pocos meses que queda, estamos en un punto que muchos deportes están en temporada. Utilice esa ventaja para mostrar su gran trabajo y crear conciencia de las posibilidades de los campos de céspedes naturales producidas por ti y todos los Gerentes de Céspedes Deportes.


#GFFF Grass Field Foto Friday – Empiezo hoy!

THANKS John Torres, Head Grounds Manager of PPL Park in Philadelphia, for the transcription and involvement!  Follow John’s magical work at @jjtorres9 on twitter!

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Key #2: Traffic Management; Three Keys of High Traffic Grass Fields

Traffic Management 

Of the “3 Keys to High Traffic Field Maintenance”, Traffic Management should be considered just as important as the first key: Aggressive Cultivation. (Key 1: Aggressive Cultivation). Creative traffic management alone can give a high traffic field with limited maintenance a chance for survival.

With its importance, traffic management could be considered the most challenging key. Why? Because traffic management involves communication and cooperation from 2 sides: Field managers and field users. However, the communication and cooperation can curb field deterioration more than aggressive cultivation or nutrient management. Managing traffic effectively will allow all fields to meet the needs of the users and require less repair work.

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Traffic management includes two parts:

  • Moving around practice/ training work into low traffic competition areas
  • Re-sizing and shifting competition fields to adjust traffic patterns

Moving around practice/ training work into low traffic competition areas

A full size competition field has areas that get little use during the competition. For example, the corners of a soccer field or the end zones on an American football field. Likewise, it is not often that the full is used in full for practice. With that in mind, a few thoughts:

  • Always have 4 goals on a soccer field w/ small sided fields painted if needed
    • Having 4 goals on a soccer field eliminates the need for the competition goal spots to be used. Having additional boxes/ fields painted helps that even more
    • When the field is not being used for competition, goals should never be in competition place. Avoid the temptation!
    • Avoid installation/ use of permanent goals. New style portable goals look identical to permanent goals. If permanent goals are desired, install extra sleeves or have portable set for different positions.
  • Similar for other sports, provide alternate direction markings
    • Football lines going across a field for practice
      • Additional goal posts on sides of fields possible
    • Lacrosse crease areas on sides or diagonal in corners
      • Multiple lacrosse goals on each field to support movement

Ultimately extra lines on a field for practice/ training would be best avoided. But in the age of multiple sport synthetic fields, a wide array of colors and lines is already accepted. On grass, lighter paint application and timing for paint application for lines to fade or be mowed provides assistance.

Different fields are different colors

Different fields are different colors

 Re-sizing and Shifting Competition Fields

Re-sizing and shifting field layouts moves high traffic areas and provides the embattled turfgrass in those areas a chance to recover. Soccer and lacrosse fields have the most flexibility for re-sizing and shifting because the rules call for minimums and maximums on the competition dimensions.

  • Start with shifting the center of the field.
    • Core of soccer and lacrosse is played up and down the center of the field
    • High traffic areas such as goalmouths, referee lines, and bench areas get moved with the move of the field center.
  • Rotate sides of bench areas
    • Teams for all sports warm up directly in front of their bench
    • 1 day of 7 soccer matches, a minimum of 126 players stretch and kick to get loose in front of the bench
    • Rotating the benches in conjunction with shifting the field allows the field to experience optimum recovery while still in play
  • American football fields are much narrower than soccer or lacrosse fields, so they too can be shifted
    • Especially true for practice fields where goal posts are not required
      • Even a slight shift moves the heavy traffic area

 

Soccer field shifted over

Soccer field shifted over

Lacrosse field shift over

Lacrosse field shift over

The foundation of traffic management is communication and cooperation. Field managers and users should be in constant contact to ensure there are no surprises from other side. Both sides should strive to be respectful and understanding of the needs of the other.

With that, the days of field managers dictating to coaches how the field gets used are gone. The “stay off the grass” mentality creates negativity and resentment while promoting an environment of disrespect. In that environment neither the field nor the team wins. Field managers that are flexible to support and cooperate with user’s needs while communicating in a positive manner create education and empowerment. Coach’s equally should reciprocate and respect the work of the field manager. When the cooperation and communication is mutual, everyone wins with traffic management. Especially the field!

The success of “managing traffic” will be evident in increased quality of a high traffic field. With the extra work that goes into the cooperation and communication and field movement, sod work and field closures for repairs will be reduced and/or eliminated. And as your own traffic management process evolves, the condition of high traffic fields will continue to improve as you discover new ideas and try different approaches that fit your specific situation.

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IDEAS! OSTMA Newsletter Case Study : Pro-Active Solutions for Fall Field Overseeding

IMG_0685 - Version 2

Case Study #1: In-season, high traffic football and soccer field on native soil with Kentucky bluegrass and fescue

This field manager has the ultimate challenge in order to get new seed established during the busy season of the year. This field will experience high traffic through the fall even through the time it goes dormant. If you were that manager, what would you do?

Compaction from high traffic is the biggest challenge with this native soil field. Especially through the center and on the sidelines of the American football surface. Overseeding during such heavy play seems nearly impossible. But an open mind and creativity can create possibility!

Cultivation: Aeration should be the #1 cultivation focus for this field. Aeration should take place as often as manpower allows. If multiple games are being played each week, some sort of aeration can take place weekly through the high traffic field center. Yes… weekly! There can be fear of aeration of a grass field under high traffic. However we know the damage that compaction and surface hardness can cause. Especially on native soil.  Avoiding the fear to be aggressive while using good judgment on how and when can counteract those compaction issues and increase use on a grass field.

De-compaction:   Deep tine or soil wave aeration is non-disruptive for de-compaction every other week during the playing season through the high traffic field center and sidelines. The entire field should be de-compacted every other time. Frequent de-compaction will keep the root zone open for deep rooting and will allow rainwater to move vertically through the soil profile to reduce the impact of rain events. De-compaction in combination with fall weather will allow the existing stand of grass to recover from summer stress and withstand heavy use as well.

Surface aeration: Solid tine, rapid tine aeration or slicing is non-disruptive and can take place every other week, alternating de-compaction weeks, during the playing season through the high traffic field center and sidelines. The entire field should be done every other time. Surface aeration will soften the surface and create a seedbed for overseeding. Surface aeration will also open voids for topdressing sand to blend into the surface.

Seeding: Overseeding a field under constant using takes more creativity.

Seed Selection: Using quick germinating seed with good traffic tolerance is important. In the past, perennial ryegrass has been an overseeding grass to avoid because of summer stress issues. But with genetic improvement for disease and traffic tolerance, overseeding with perennial ryegrass in season is possible. Aggressive new Kentucky bluegrass varieties are also available that germinate fast and sustain traffic. Combine perennial ryegrass with Kentucky bluegrass and seed the center of the high traffic field lightly (Up to 2 lb perennial ryegrass, 1 lb Kentucky bluegrass) each week of September prior to play. Seeding into October isn’t recommended unless in south Ohio as frost and cool temperatures limit seedling growth. Springtime seeding should utilize fescue with Kentucky bluegrass and limit the ryegrass use in the spring.

Seed to Soil Contact: Seeding prior to the events of the week with allow the seed to get worked into the soil by cleats through the high traffic area of the field. In addition, the bi-weekly surface aeration will work in the seed. Aeration can be used as a seeding tool by seeding right behind surface aeration. The seed can fall down into the aeration holes allowing the crown of the seedling plant to be protected from traffic so it can re-generate after leaf damage. Light topdressing following the surface aeration and seeding will cover the seed to hold moisture for germination as well.

Summary:

  • De-compaction aeration 2x a month during season (1x center, 1x entire field)
  • Surface aeration 2x a month during season (1x center, 1x entire field)
  • Seed center of field lightly w/ up to 2 lbs perennial ryegrass & 1 lb Kentucky bluegrass each week of September
  • Combine surface aeration with seeding or use cleats/ traffic to work in seed
  • Light topdressing can protect seed as well

DSC00208


 

Case Study #2: End-of-season, high traffic in early spring through late summer baseball field on a sand soil with Kentucky bluegrass and ryegrass

This field manager may feel relief for the end of the season, but fall overseeding will be the catalyst for the field’s survival through a busy spring and summer. This field will be exposed to high traffic even before the grass breaks dormancy in the spring. If you were that manager, what would you do? 

Fall recovery and spring preparation are the goals for this high traffic field. Early season play likely aids the Poa Annua population in the field, so Poa control in the fall is important as well.

Cultivation: Aggressive cultivation is important to promote recovery for the existing grass and create a good seedbed to encourage seed growth and establishment.

Verticutting or Universe fraze mowing: Immediately following the season in preparation for overseeding, verticutting or Universe fraze mowing should take place. Verticutting is the standard practice for thatch and organic build up, removing 11%-15% of material. Universe fraze mowing can remove up to 100% of the thatch and organic build up, along with removing the Poa Annua plants and the Poa Annua seed. Re-generation from both practices makes the field more durable, with Universe fraze mowing producing a dramatic improvement in density and durability. Use either practice followed with the remaining cultivation practices.

De-Compaction: De-compaction aeration should take place 1x immediately after verticutting or Universe fraze mowing in conjunction with overseeding. De-compaction will allow the existing grass to recover and open the sand profile to keep water moving through from regular irrigation for seed growth.   De-compaction aeration can also take place as the grass goes dormant in late October to encourage natural aeration from freezing and thawing.

Surface aeration: Surface aeration should take place following de-compaction in the fall overseeding process. Surface aeration with surface removal is important to encourage existing grass recovery. Core aeration or recycle dressing will open the surface and allow sand to be blended in. Seed immediately after surface aeration and use the open surface as a seedbed to establish seed. Topdress following seeding to cover and protect seed if possible.

Seeding: Establishing seed during the fall with no traffic is a grass manager’s dream. But don’t be overly relaxed because establishment is essential for spring.

Seed selection: Kentucky bluegrass can be the primary seed of choice in fall seeding with limited traffic. New varieties of Kentucky bluegrass are quick to germinate and establish. Depending on how early in the spring that play begins, keep in mind that perennial ryegrass is early to green up and grow in the spring. Fields with play in February and March can blend in perennial ryegrass with Kentucky bluegrass to provide an early season surface. 3-4 lbs of Kentucky bluegrass is an excellent overseeding rate. Do not use too much, as Kentucky bluegrass should be pushed to spread and fill-in. Add 2 lbs of perennial ryegrass to the early season fields as well. That rate of ryegrass will likely be taken over by the more aggressive Kentucky bluegrass in the summer.

Seed to Soil Contact: Verticutting or Universe fraze mowing followed with core aeration or recycle dressing will create a seedbed for overseeding. A light topdressing can be combined to cover seed if desired.

Summary:

  • Verticut or Universe fraze mow to remove organic material
  • De-compact following to soften sand then de-compact again as field goes dormant
  • Surface aerate with core aeration or recycle dressing to open surface for recovery
  • Overseed with 3-4 lbs Kentucky bluegrass, 2 lbs of perennial ryegrass for early spring play
  • Light topdressing to cover seed

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Did you approach these the same way?  Share your experiences, both positive and negative, with your colleagues in the industry!  THANK YOU for the feedback and participation.  GREAT, GREAT feedback!


 

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OSTMA Fall Newsletter Article

Pro-Active Solutions for Fall Field Overseeding
Creative techniques for seeding in the fall to insure a durable field all year round.

The fall season is the most ideal time for cool season field cultivation and overseeding. Consistent rainfall and cool night temperatures help existing cool season grasses recover quickly, while higher soil temperatures created from the summer heat make an ideal time to get quick germination and growth on seed.

However, fall is also one of the most high traffic times of the year on many cool season fields. To avoid having to close fields completely, grass field managers are challenged to be creative and pro-active on fall field maintenance practices to meet the demands. Let’s re-examine some cultivation and overseeding approaches.

Cultivation
Fall is a wonderful time for cool season turfgrass to recover from summer stress and grow roots for fall and winter play. But black layer from consistent watering, thatch from clipping and stressed or dying turfgrass, and compacted soils from limited cultivation during summer stress limit what existing grass and new seed can do. Before overseeding and fertilization are considered in a fall maintenance program, cultivation should be Step #1.

De-compaction aeration: Soften the soil deep

Examples of Solutions:

Deep tine aerator
Soil wave aerator (ex. Imants Shockwave, Redexium VertiQuake)
Soil air refresher (ex. Koro Recycling Dresser)
De-compaction aeration is softening the soil down below a 6” depth. De-compaction allows for deeper rooting of existing turfgrass, allows better irrigation and rainfall infiltration, and softens the entire field surface for safety and playability.

Timing: De-compaction aeration should take place a minimum of 3x during the fall season (or as much as budget allows). A deep tine or soil wave machine can be run the same day as a field event, so even if the field is under high traffic de-compaction aeration can take place. Soil air refreshing deep for de-compaction requires a 7- 10 day break and also can take place at the end of the fall season.

Surface aeration: Open up the surface

Examples of Solutions

Rapid tine aeration (Coring tines/ solid tines/ needle tines/ knife tines)
Linear slicing (blades or solid slicing rollers)
Soil refreshing aeration (KORO Recycling dresser)
Surface aeration has multiple positives in the fall. Surface aeration is any type of aeration that vents the surface (top 3-4”) for air, water infiltration, and to soften the field for player safety. Using hollow tines to core aerate removes organic matter build up and/or sod layer and creates channels for air and topdressing (if it fits into the budget). Core aeration is labor intensive with the clean up of plugs, but the benefit outweighs challenge. Core aeration and solid tine aeration equally create holes for seed to fall into for seed to soil contact when overseeding. Slicing can open more surface area than most tine aeration methods to open the surface of the field as well and promote healthy plant growth

Timing: The type of surface aeration used is to be dictated by the schedule of use. Core aeration could require a break of up to 7-10 days. On native soil, solid tine aeration and/or slicing can take place with play on the field immediately after. Sand could need a 3-5 day break in order for the surface to become stable again before play. Soil air refreshing down to a 4” depth requires a 5-7 break to grow in the slices.

Verticutting

Examples of Solutions:

Wide range of sizes and types of verticutting machines available
Verticutting is extremely effective in the fall, especially in conjunction with overseeding. Verticutting removes some thatch build up, opens up the black layer that can build during summer with heavy watering, and will promoted Kentucky bluegrass density and durability. Like core aeration, the clean up from verticutting can labor intensive. But just as core aeration, the benefit outweighs the challenge.

Timing: Verticutting can take place w/ a 3-5 day break and in no effects stability or playability of a field. For practice, a field could be verticut the same day as play.

Universe fraze mowing

Examples of Solutions:

Universe Fraze Mowing (KORO Field Topmaker w/ Universe® rotor
The new cultivation technique of Universe fraze mowing has now proven to be a valuable practice. This is especially in the fall on Kentucky bluegrass in combination with overseeding. Similar to verticutting, Universe fraze mowing promotes Kentucky bluegrass density and durability while removing thatch and organic buildups. But instead of removing 11-15% of material like verticutting, Universe fraze mowing removes up to 100% of the material to the desired depth. That depth is set above the growing point of the Kentucky bluegrass to allow re-generation. Universe fraze mowing also removes poa annua plants that are short rooted from summer stress, the poa annua seed bank on top of the field, and other weed seed that has accumulated. Universe fraze mowing also helps smooth the field surface.

Timing: The depth or aggressiveness of Universe fraze mowing varies depending on the window of time the field as off. A light Universe fraze mow cleans the very top of a field and can take place in a window of 10-14 days. Going more aggressive to remove more organic and poa annua can require up to 21-35 days, depending on the age of the field and the amount of prior maintenance.

Overseeding

Once fall cultivation is addressed/ planned, overseeding should be addressed. Overseeding in conjunction with the cultivation can added effectiveness to both practices. When preparing to overseed, consider a few different things:

Seed selection

New genetics in fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and ryegrass are changing what is possible for fields and overseeding. Fast germination, increased aggressiveness for spreading and filling in, and stronger roots for establishment and quicker playability all exist. Also lowering demands for dark green color is being replaced with an appreciation for aggressiveness and durability unlike ever before. All lead to a new world for seeding. For an example, consult SportsTurf.com online and read the July article by Ms. Julie Adamski about a Kentucky bluegrass field that went from seed to play in 35 days. From Seeding to Play in 35 Days. That feat has provided an example and confidence for grass field managers exploring using new seed varieties.

Additionally, the genetic improvements now make fescue and ryegrass capable of existing on high traffic fields together, in with Kentucky bluegrass, or even on their own. No longer do grass field managers have to hold their breath during disease stress times with these varieties. Do your homework on what is available from the seed companies you have existing relationships with, but consider possibly branching outside those relationships as well to find what is working for others. Keep in mind with seed; the old proverb “you get what you pay for” is 100% true.

Seed to Soil Contact

When seeding, no matter the variety you select, seed to soil contact is important. Soil contact ensures the seed is not sitting in the thatch layer or laying on top of the ground where is could dry out quickly or struggle to push roots down into the soil. There are a few different options for overseeding to will help promote seed to soil contact.

Seeding in conjunction with cultivation: Seeding following core aeration, solid tine aeration, verticutting, or Universe fraze mowing can promote seed to soil contact. Aeration holes give the seed cavities to fall down into the soil. This is effective especially for fields still in play during seeding as the crown of the plant grows below the surface where it is protected from cleats. Do not aerate too deep though if doing so to promote seed. Verticutting cleans some thatch out and creates linear channels for seed. Universe fraze mowing cleans the thatch completely from the top, but it still needs an additional cultivation to work the seed into the soil. Keep in mind that when seeding in conjunction with cultivation, the more surface area that is opened up, the better success seeding will have.
Using a penetrating seeder: Several different seed application machines are available on the market. With a seeder, just as when cultivating for seed, the more surface area that is penetrated the better off the seed application will be.
Seeding before heavy traffic: Our forefathers in grass field management have handed down this method through years of use. Applying seed to the high traffic areas of a field 1-2 days before a heavy use will allow play to create the seed to soil contact. An example would be seeding the center of a football field prior to play. Keep in mind that if using any clean up techniques following the heavy traffic, it could also pick up the seed. Follow the high traffic event with a deep irrigation cycle to settle in the seed to ensure success with this technique.
Topdressing to cover seed: Topdressing with sand, compost, or even lightly with the field’s native soil will create seed to soil contact. Keep in mind that too much topdressing burying the seed can be a bad thing .
Be Creative!

These are just a few ideas to help solve the complex challenge of fall cultivation and overseeding. Yes, there are many, many other ideas for meeting the challenge. Make sure to ask questions of your fellow grass field managers to create more possibilities to meet the challenge. Follow colleagues, STMA Chapters, and sports field managers around the world on social media to witness the creativity that others are using. Share your experiences equally for others to learn from your lessons to help build creativity and idea generation.

HGT Kentucky bluegrass under aggressive cultivation following 167 events in less than 6 months.

OSTMA Newsletter Case Study Feedback: Pro-Active Solutions for Fall Field Overseeding

The fall Ohio STMA newsletter is out!  As part of the article “Pro-Active Solutions for Fall Field Overseeding”, the following 2 case studies were posed.  The case studies allow readers an opportunity to interact and apply their own pro-active solutions to real world challenges.  Author Jerad Minnick will follow up on Monday Sept. 15th at 6pm EST with his own feedback on possible solutions.  

Share along with your own pro-active solutions here on GrowingGreenGrass or @OSTMA on twitter or fb… Use hashtag #fallseeding  

Case Study #1: In-season, high traffic football and soccer field on native soil with Kentucky bluegrass and fescue

This field manager has the ultimate challenge in order to get new seed established during the busy season of the year. This field will experience high traffic through the fall even through the time it goes dormant. If you were that manager, what would you do? Take 5 minutes to create a solution and share it with your colleagues on twitter to @OSTMA and @JeradRMinnick, hash tag #fallseeding. I will share some solutions via GrowingGreenGrass.Net to @OSTMA and @JeradRMinnick on Monday September 15th.

Case Study #2: End-of-season, high traffic in early spring through late summer baseball field on a sand soil with Kentucky bluegrass and ryegrass

This field manager may feel relief for the end of the season, but fall overseeding will be the catalyst for the field’s survival through a busy spring and summer. This field will be exposed to high traffic even before the grass breaks dormancy in the spring. If you were that manager, what would you do? Take 5 minutes to create a solution and share it with your colleagues on twitter to @OSTMA and @JeradRMinnick, hashtag #fallseeding. I will share some solutions via GrowingGreenGrass.Net to @OSTMA and @JeradRMinnick on Monday September 15th.


OSTMA Fall Newsletter Article

Pro-Active Solutions for Fall Field Overseeding
Creative techniques for seeding in the fall to insure a durable field all year round.

The fall season is the most ideal time for cool season field cultivation and overseeding. Consistent rainfall and cool night temperatures help existing cool season grasses recover quickly, while higher soil temperatures created from the summer heat make an ideal time to get quick germination and growth on seed.

However, fall is also one of the most high traffic times of the year on many cool season fields. To avoid having to close fields completely, grass field managers are challenged to be creative and pro-active on fall field maintenance practices to meet the demands. Let’s re-examine some cultivation and overseeding approaches.

Cultivation
Fall is a wonderful time for cool season turfgrass to recover from summer stress and grow roots for fall and winter play. But black layer from consistent watering, thatch from clipping and stressed or dying turfgrass, and compacted soils from limited cultivation during summer stress limit what existing grass and new seed can do. Before overseeding and fertilization are considered in a fall maintenance program, cultivation should be Step #1.

De-compaction aeration: Soften the soil deep

Examples of Solutions:

  • Deep tine aerator
  • Soil wave aerator (ex. Imants Shockwave, Redexium VertiQuake)
  • Soil air refresher (ex. Koro Recycling Dresser)

De-compaction aeration is softening the soil down below a 6” depth. De-compaction allows for deeper rooting of existing turfgrass, allows better irrigation and rainfall infiltration, and softens the entire field surface for safety and playability.

Timing: De-compaction aeration should take place a minimum of 3x during the fall season (or as much as budget allows). A deep tine or soil wave machine can be run the same day as a field event, so even if the field is under high traffic de-compaction aeration can take place. Soil air refreshing deep for de-compaction requires a 7- 10 day break and also can take place at the end of the fall season.

  Surface aeration: Open up the surface

Examples of Solutions

  • Rapid tine aeration (Coring tines/ solid tines/ needle tines/ knife tines)
  • Linear slicing (blades or solid slicing rollers)
  • Soil refreshing aeration (KORO Recycling dresser)

Surface aeration has multiple positives in the fall. Surface aeration is any type of aeration that vents the surface (top 3-4”) for air, water infiltration, and to soften the field for player safety. Using hollow tines to core aerate removes organic matter build up and/or sod layer and creates channels for air and topdressing (if it fits into the budget). Core aeration is labor intensive with the clean up of plugs, but the benefit outweighs challenge. Core aeration and solid tine aeration equally create holes for seed to fall into for seed to soil contact when overseeding. Slicing can open more surface area than most tine aeration methods to open the surface of the field as well and promote healthy plant growth

Timing: The type of surface aeration used is to be dictated by the schedule of use. Core aeration could require a break of up to 7-10 days. On native soil, solid tine aeration and/or slicing can take place with play on the field immediately after. Sand could need a 3-5 day break in order for the surface to become stable again before play. Soil air refreshing down to a 4” depth requires a 5-7 break to grow in the slices.

 Verticutting

Examples of Solutions:

  • Wide range of sizes and types of verticutting machines available

Verticutting is extremely effective in the fall, especially in conjunction with overseeding. Verticutting removes some thatch build up, opens up the black layer that can build during summer with heavy watering, and will promoted Kentucky bluegrass density and durability. Like core aeration, the clean up from verticutting can labor intensive. But just as core aeration, the benefit outweighs the challenge.

Timing: Verticutting can take place w/ a 3-5 day break and in no effects stability or playability of a field. For practice, a field could be verticut the same day as play.

Universe fraze mowing

Examples of Solutions:

  • Universe Fraze Mowing (KORO Field Topmaker w/ Universe® rotor

The new cultivation technique of Universe fraze mowing has now proven to be a valuable practice. This is especially in the fall on Kentucky bluegrass in combination with overseeding. Similar to verticutting, Universe fraze mowing promotes Kentucky bluegrass density and durability while removing thatch and organic buildups. But instead of removing 11-15% of material like verticutting, Universe fraze mowing removes up to 100% of the material to the desired depth. That depth is set above the growing point of the Kentucky bluegrass to allow re-generation. Universe fraze mowing also removes poa annua plants that are short rooted from summer stress, the poa annua seed bank on top of the field, and other weed seed that has accumulated. Universe fraze mowing also helps smooth the field surface.

Timing: The depth or aggressiveness of Universe fraze mowing varies depending on the window of time the field as off. A light Universe fraze mow cleans the very top of a field and can take place in a window of 10-14 days. Going more aggressive to remove more organic and poa annua can require up to 21-35 days, depending on the age of the field and the amount of prior maintenance.

Overseeding

Once fall cultivation is addressed/ planned, overseeding should be addressed. Overseeding in conjunction with the cultivation can added effectiveness to both practices. When preparing to overseed, consider a few different things:

Seed selection

New genetics in fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and ryegrass are changing what is possible for fields and overseeding. Fast germination, increased aggressiveness for spreading and filling in, and stronger roots for establishment and quicker playability all exist. Also lowering demands for dark green color is being replaced with an appreciation for aggressiveness and durability unlike ever before. All lead to a new world for seeding. For an example, consult SportsTurf.com online and read the July article by Ms. Julie Adamski about a Kentucky bluegrass field that went from seed to play in 35 days. From Seeding to Play in 35 Days. That feat has provided an example and confidence for grass field managers exploring using new seed varieties.

Additionally, the genetic improvements now make fescue and ryegrass capable of existing on high traffic fields together, in with Kentucky bluegrass, or even on their own. No longer do grass field managers have to hold their breath during disease stress times with these varieties. Do your homework on what is available from the seed companies you have existing relationships with, but consider possibly branching outside those relationships as well to find what is working for others. Keep in mind with seed; the old proverb “you get what you pay for” is 100% true.

Seed to Soil Contact

When seeding, no matter the variety you select, seed to soil contact is important. Soil contact ensures the seed is not sitting in the thatch layer or laying on top of the ground where is could dry out quickly or struggle to push roots down into the soil. There are a few different options for overseeding to will help promote seed to soil contact.

  1. Seeding in conjunction with cultivation: Seeding following core aeration, solid tine aeration, verticutting, or Universe fraze mowing can promote seed to soil contact. Aeration holes give the seed cavities to fall down into the soil. This is effective especially for fields still in play during seeding as the crown of the plant grows below the surface where it is protected from cleats. Do not aerate too deep though if doing so to promote seed. Verticutting cleans some thatch out and creates linear channels for seed. Universe fraze mowing cleans the thatch completely from the top, but it still needs an additional cultivation to work the seed into the soil. Keep in mind that when seeding in conjunction with cultivation, the more surface area that is opened up, the better success seeding will have.
  2. Using a penetrating seeder: Several different seed application machines are available on the market. With a seeder, just as when cultivating for seed, the more surface area that is penetrated the better off the seed application will be.
  3. Seeding before heavy traffic: Our forefathers in grass field management have handed down this method through years of use. Applying seed to the high traffic areas of a field 1-2 days before a heavy use will allow play to create the seed to soil contact. An example would be seeding the center of a football field prior to play. Keep in mind that if using any clean up techniques following the heavy traffic, it could also pick up the seed. Follow the high traffic event with a deep irrigation cycle to settle in the seed to ensure success with this technique.
  4. Topdressing to cover seed: Topdressing with sand, compost, or even lightly with the field’s native soil will create seed to soil contact. Keep in mind that too much topdressing burying the seed can be a bad thing .

Be Creative!

These are just a few ideas to help solve the complex challenge of fall cultivation and overseeding. Yes, there are many, many other ideas for meeting the challenge. Make sure to ask questions of your fellow grass field managers to create more possibilities to meet the challenge. Follow colleagues, STMA Chapters, and sports field managers around the world on social media to witness the creativity that others are using. Share your experiences equally for others to learn from your lessons to help build creativity and idea generation.

Consider the ideas above and how they can be implemented in these two challenging situations:

Case Study #1: In-season, high traffic football and soccer field on native soil with Kentucky bluegrass and fescue

This field manager has the ultimate challenge in order to get new seed established during the busy season of the year. This field will experience high traffic through the fall even through the time it goes dormant. If you were that manager, what would you do? Take 5 minutes to create a solution and share it with your colleagues on twitter to @OSTMA and @JeradRMinnick, hash tag #fallseeding. I will share some solutions via GrowingGreenGrass.Net to @OSTMA and @JeradRMinnick on Monday September 15th.

Case Study #2: End-of-season, high traffic in early spring through late summer baseball field on a sand soil with Kentucky bluegrass and ryegrass

This field manager may feel relief for the end of the season, but fall overseeding will be the catalyst for the field’s survival through a busy spring and summer. This field will be exposed to high traffic even before the grass breaks dormancy in the spring. If you were that manager, what would you do? Take 5 minutes to create a solution and share it with your colleagues on twitter to @OSTMA and @JeradRMinnick, hashtag #fallseeding. I will share some solutions via GrowingGreenGrass.Net to @OSTMA and @JeradRMinnick on Monday September 15th.

Jerad Minnick is an international natural grass advisor and educator. Follow him on Twitter at @JeradRMinnick and find more ideas at GrowingGreenGrass.Net. Come interact in person with Jerad when he is a speaker at the Ohio Turfgrass Conference in December.

Mizzou Sports Field Manager Josh McPherson’s Use of Universe Fraze Mowing Featured During Mizzou Soccer Match on SEC Network+

Growing Innovations                  Logo for G.I

“Grass Fields CAN Take More”

www.GrowingInnovations.net

www.GrowingGreenGrass.net

Contact:   GrassStain@GrowingInnovations.net

  

Mizzou Sports Field Manager Josh McPherson’s Use of Universe Fraze Mowing Featured During Mizzou Soccer Match on SEC Network+

Columbia, MO; September 8, 2014: In June, University of Missouri Sports Field Manager Josh McPherson became the 1st SEC Sports Field Manager to utilize Universe fraze mowing. Friday night, Mr. McPherson was featured during the Mizzou soccer match on SEC Network.

Universe fraze mowing, a new cultivation practice adapted from an existing European practice, debuted in the United States in March, 2013.   Friday night, Mizzou Network featured Mr. McPherson and his decision to make Audrey J. Walton soccer field the 1st SEC field Universe mowed. Josh spoke of the reasoning for using the outside the box technique during the Mizzou v Northwestern soccer match on SEC Network+. See the feature here: http://youtu.be/sBwkOEWqu4c?list=UUsWz3SZVLdg3g51HSN4lPNA

 

Walton Field was one of five college soccer fields to be Universe fraze mowed in 2014, and one of 19 total fields in the US. Unique to Mr. McPherson’s use of the technique at Mizzou, Walton Field had the shortest regeneration window before it’s next use. Also unique, Walton Field was the 1st soccer field ever maintained by Universe fraze mowing developer Jerad Minnick. Minnick, President of Growing Innovations and creator of Growing Green Grass, is a graduate of Mizzou and alumni of Mizzou Athletic’s Sports Turf intern program.

For more on the development of Universe fraze mowing, see www.GrowingGreenGrass.Net.

 

About Growing Innovations: Growing Innovations is a natural grass support and education firm dedicated to a single mission: Establishing How Natural Grass Fields CAN Take More Use. Through creating and sharing new and improved concepts for natural grass field construction and maintenance, Growing Innovations illustrates a new world of possibilities for natural grass fields. Because “if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got”. www.GrowingInnovations.Net

 

#ThinkDifferent #GrassWillTakeMore

 

Contact Growing Innovations at: GrassStain@GrowingInnovations.Net

Key #1: Aggressive Cultivation

3 Keys to High Quality, High Traffic Grass Fields 


Key #1:  Aggressive Cultivation 

Concentrated foot traffic can quickly compact soil on grass fields. Compaction eliminates air space and leads to suffocating roots. The gasping roots weaken and the sword of grass to begins to thin out. Thinning, along with a sod or organic layer compounded by compaction leads to divots and blowouts.   Weak roots require additional hydration, yet water from irrigation and rainfall is not able to penetrate the compacted soils easily. A compacted field surface is a Sports Field Managers nightmare!

Cultivation solves the problems caused by compaction and yields increased turfgrass density and decreased water usage. Because water is better able to move through the soil profile, it also decreases the number of events cancelled due to rainfall. On a high traffic field, a basic approach to cultivation is not enough. A field under continual foot traffic requires aggressiveness with cultivation.

Compacted soil on sideline of field showing last cultivation practice

Dictionary.com defines the word “aggressive” as “vigorously energetic, especially in the use of initiative and forcefulness”. This definition is an excellent outline to use in your decision making towards cultivation. A cultivation program should be “vigorously energetic”: implemented a minimum of 2-4 times per month. It should show “initiative and forcefulness”: taking place in short windows of opportunity between events and in conditions that may not typically be seen as ideal. This could mean cultivating cool season in the heat or working all night right after an event in order to utilize a short break completely. Finding time when it seems that there is no time.

 Examples:
FC Dallas Stadium, a high traffic soccer and football field (2011 STMA Professional Soccer FOY) sets the standard for what it means to be “aggressive”. Sports Field Manager Allen Reed aerates his field every Monday.  See More Here:  How Our Grass Field Takes More!

Elsewhere, Ryan Bjorn at Maryland SoccerPlex has a minimum of 1 operator continually  cultivating the 19 natural grass fields he oversees.  The non-stop process equates to a 7-10 day cycle between cultivation on fields that host over 350 events apiece each year from soccer, lacrosse, and sports camps.

At Sporting Kansas City’s Swope Park Training Center fields, placed under high demands as well, Justin Bland never allows the fields to pass a cultivation window of 14 days.

Nationals Park in Washington, DC hosts Major League Baseball, concerts, and a variety of cooperate and community events.  John Turnour utilizes a form of cultivation between every single home stand.  He even sometimes doubles up on his cultivation practices and averages nearly 3x per month.

This aggressive cultivation keeps grass fields from experiencing turfgrass decline due to compaction. It also keeps water moving vertically through the field’s soil profile, increasing irrigation efficiency and reducing rainouts.


There are many forms and options for cultivation practices.  Here is an introduction to a few of those:

De-compaction Aeration
De-compaction aeration is one of the basic and accepted forms of cultivation. De-compaction aeration breaks up compaction deep in the soil, 8 to 10” deep. De-compaction aeration promotes water movement through the soil profile and allows roots to grow deep and strong. Two examples of de-compaction aeration are:

Soil Wave

Soil wave de-compaction following Universe fraze mow on bermudgrass

Soil wave de-compaction following Universe fraze mow on bermudagrass

Deep tine

Deep tine aeration

Deep tine aeration

Deep tine and core aeration in conjunction w/ one another on heavy compacted clay

Deep tine and core aeration in conjunction w/ one another on heavy compacted clay

Surface Aeration
Surface aeration another basic and accepted form of cultivation. Rapid tine aeration machines can make shallow tightly spaced holes to open the surface and allow air into the soil. Needle tines, knife tines, cross tines, etc all offer different options. Coring tines not only open the surface, they remove organic build up and reduce layering from sod. Slicing and spiking also open the surface as well.

Surface aeration via core aeration w/ rapid tine aerators

Rapid tine aeration w solid tines to vent surface following heavy play

Rapid tine aeration w solid tines to vent surface following heavy play

Recycle Dressing
Recycle dressing comes from a machine invented my Mr. Ko Rodenberg, former Superintendent of Park Maintenance in Rotterdam, Holland. All in one pass, the machine is able to accomplish both de-compaction and surface aeration. The recycler de-compacts the sub soil by removing soil with cutting blades. The surface soil is then opened up with slicing blades. Finally the machine “recycles” the removed material over the top of the surface as topdressing to be dragged back in.

Recycler dressing to de-compact and open the surface

Recycle dressing lines following dragging in sand

Recycle dressing lines from small blades on ryegrass following dragging in sand

Recycling dresser lines from big blades on Latitude bermudagrass following dragging

Recycling dresser lines from big blades on Latitude bermudagrass following dragging in sand

 Air Injection Aeration
Another unique and new form of aeration comes from air injection. Air injection machines force high-pressure air into the soil profile much like the former Toro hydroject force high- pressure water into the soil. The force of the air fractures even the hardest of soils to promote de-compaction and to re-introduce air into the profile.

Air Injection Machine

Brushing
Brushing is a very simple practice, but the results can pay dividends. Brushing stands up the grass and fluffs a good amount of thatch to the top of the canopy. Blowing, sweeping, and/ or catching clippings will help when there is a large amount of material brought up.

Brushing to bring up thatch

Verticutting
Verticutting is another basic and accepted from of cultivation for the attempted control of thatch and organic build up. Verticutting also promotes density and durability. Standard verticutting removes around 11% of the material, so use this practice as much as possible. Especially on actively growing bermudagrass.

Verticutting Kentucky bluegrass

Universe Fraze Mowing
With the statistic of standard verticutting removing approximately 11% of the surface material, Universe fraze mowing has been introduced in order to remove 100% of the desired depth of thatch and organic build up. Universe mowing also removes weak poa annua plants, poa annua seed, and other weed seed as well. The regeneration from Universe mowing promotes density and durability, eliminates surface slickness, and creates a smooth playing surface as well.

Universe fraze mowing bermudagrass

Universe fraze mowing Poa Annua out of Kentucky bluegrass

 


These practices, along with others, provide grass field managers with a wide range of cultivation techniques to implement as often as possible. Start small and expand.  1x every 2 months to 1x every 1 month is a 100% increase.  This is great!  If your salary was increased 100% today, think how happy you would be.  Same goes for the grass plants.

Yes, many times cultivation is avoided in a fear of causing more damage to a field.   Especially during times that the field in experiencing heavy use. However we know the damage that compaction and surface hardness can cause too.  AvoidIng the fear to be aggressive while using good judgement on how and when can counteract those compaction issues and increase use on a grass field.

Inaction may be safe, but it builds nothing.Dave Freudenthal.

Think different and take action. Grass fields can take more!

HGT Kentucky bluegrass under aggressive cultivation following 167 events in less than 6 months.

#GFFF: Grass Field Foto Friday

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The popularity of hashtag holidays on social meeting continues to grow.  Have you ever participated in any of these?
#MM:  Motivational Monday
#TT:  Tip Tuesday
#WW: Wednesday wisdom
#TBT: Throw back Thursday
#FF: Follow Friday

Hashtags are a great tool to bring excitement and awareness to so many different things.  Then how about a hashtag to share the fantastic work that you and other Sports Turf Managers do each and every day on natural grass fields around the world?

Introducing #GFFF: #Grass Field Foto Friday.  Starting with Friday tomorrow (today already on the other side of the world) through the month of September, use the hashtag #GFFF: Grass Field Foto Friday, and share your favorite grass field pictures.  Post “fotos” that showcase the art and mastery of your work… making natural grass fields fantastic! Game fields, practice fields, fields even in your back yard…  show off your work!!  Share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other social media platform you might use.  Share and be proud of your hard work and reinforce the professionalism of yourself and Sports Turf Managers around the world!

The final Friday of September, September 26th, can be the climax of #GFFF as “International Grass Field Foto Friday”.  Through the next 4 Fridays, together we can build up to that international day with promoting participation around the globe!!

Why now? Late August & early September is the prime time for natural grass fields around the world. With the start of American football and proper football (soccer) around the rest of the world, Major League and Minor League baseball in the home stretch, and American and J-League soccer with a few months left…  we are at a point that many outdoor sports are in season.  Use that advantage to showcase your great work and build awareness for the possibilities of natural grass fields produced by you and all Sports Turf Managers!!

#GFFF:  Grass Field Foto Friday.  Join in tomorrow!!

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