Fraze Mowing Bermudagrass- Summary of A New Concept

Fraze Mowing Bermudagrass- Summary of A New Concept

Fraze mowing is a process that has spread across the European field maintenance industry.  Fraze mowing is simple-  using a Koro Field Topmaker, the top layer of the field is removed (1/4-1/2″ down).  That removed top layer includes materials that can cause issues with a field…. detrimental build ups from a growing season are annually removed to create a better environment for plant strength and field playability.

1) Black layer/ surface slickness is eliminated

2) Thatch build up causing softness and giving a home for disease pathogens and pests is cleaned out

3) Weed seed (including poa annua) is removed.

Cultural practices such as core aeration, verti-cutting, sweeping, topdressing, etc clean out these “challenges” as well.  The difference in these cultural practices v. fraze mowing is that the cultural practices slowly  remediate the issues over time.  Fraze mowing removes the issues immediately.  Certainly the intentions with slow remediation are good… but likely the end goal never gets reached.  With fraze mowing, the recovery time can be a bit longer… but the issues are completely fixed and the field is at full strength again.

Fraze mowing with a Koro Field Topmaker is a process created for cool season turf grass, as European fields are primarily ryegrass.  And fraze mowing, in conjunction with the entire Koro Renovation Process, has been revolutionary for cool season surfaces…  creating a more durable surface free of poa annua and weeds.

  Fraze Mowing Bermudagrass Playing Fields in the USA

Fraze mowing warm season turf looks to have more potential to revolutionize warm season fields even more so than cool season.  Heres why:

1) Clean out thatch completely                                                                                                       –   No thatch allows bermudagrass to grow laterally instead of vertically to get through the thatch, creating a more durable plant                                                                –   No thatch reduces the potential for disease pathogens and pests to attack            –   No thatch creates a better environment for overseeding to grow, as seed easily can make soil contact to root completely and requires less water

2) Clean out previous year’s overseeding and weed seed bank

3)  Promote stronger bermudagrass plants that are attached to the soil and save energy as they grow laterally…  not vertically through thatch

At Maryland SoccerPlex, we tried froze mowing bermudagrass in early September for the 1st time.  Here is how the process proceeded:

Fraze Mowing Bermudagrass

Fraze Mowing Bermudagrass Day 1

Fraze Mowed Bermudagrass Day 1

Fraze Mowed Bermudagrass Day 4

Fraze Mowed Bermudagrass Day 4

Fraze Mowed Bermudagrass Day 8

Fraze Mowed Bermudagrass Day 8

The results were dramatic with recovery… And no fertilizer or extra water was added to promote grow-in.  The existing rhizomes started putting on leaves and runners nearly immediately, even in early September when day length was shortening and night-time temperatures fell into the 40’s by Day 7.  The experiment was to see how quickly the bermudagrass would re-establish w/out encouragement.  Certainly it showed it is resilient!

Campey Turf Care and Imants (manufacturer of the Koro Field Topmaker) then introduced us to the new “Universe” rota that had been designed for the Field Topmaker that has  just come to market at the STMA Show in Daytona.  “Universe” was initially designed for fraze mowing Desso fields (sand fields sewed with synthetic carpet fibers).  The cork screw motion and smaller teeth do not break off or pull out the synthetic fibers.

It instantly became obvious that the “Universe” would work very similar on the long, bermudagrass plants as it does on the synthetic Desso fibers                               –   The cork screw motion would “clean out” the thatch and foreign material in the top layer of a bermudagrass field without removing the strong, established bermudagrass plants completely                                                                                                   –   The established, strong plants then would have the ability to re-generate even more quickly than when fraze mowed with the standard Field Topmaker rota with much wider teeth

Upon demoing a prototype of the “Universe” in October on burned down bermudagrass at a golf course in Phoenix, AZ, it became clear that the “Universe” is a next generation cultivation tool for “cleaning out” bermudagrass:

Fraze Mowing Burned Down Bermudgrass w/ the "Universe"

Fraze Mowing Burned Down Bermudagrass w/ the “Universe”

"Universe" Fraze Mowed Bermudagrass

“Universe” Fraze Mowed Bermudagrass

"Universe" Fraze Mowed Bermudagrass

“Universe” Fraze Mowed Bermudagrass

Now the “Universe” has been introduced to the world via the winter trade shows in Europe and the United States.  There are 4 “spirals” of teeth wrapped around the rota for a 100% removal of material.  2 “spirals” of teeth can be removed to reduce the impact of  fraze mowing and leave more material if the user desires.

Universe Rota

“Universe” Rota

"Universe" Rota

“Universe” Rota

Certainly fraze mowing bermudagrass, or any grass for that matter, is an extremely aggressive approach to turfgrass maintenance.  But the positives are overwhelming if a field is able to be taken out of rotation for a week or so:             1) Reduces/ eliminates multiple verti-cuttings during the season                                2) Reduces the amount of ryegrass seed needed for overseeding                                3) Reduces the amount of water required to germinate the rye grass seed              4) Reduces/ eliminates the need for chemical rye grass and weed herbicides for cleaning out and transitioning back to 100% bermudagrass                                           5) Creates a stronger stand of bermudagrass as the strongest survive and sustain as the plants that begin to take over the stand                                                                      6) Reduces/ eliminates scalping and “tufting” of the bermudagrass as it is growing laterally across the ground instead of growing vertically through thatch 7) Allows energy savings and creates thicker, tougher bermudagrass plants because extreme elongation isn’t taking place to get through the thatch to the sun

Closing Thoughts/ Personal Observations:                                                                              Certainly there are challenges with fraze mowing with the “Universe” rota on a Koro Field Topmaker. The amount of material generated is going to be vast, especially the 1st time.  Additionally, the availability of machines is limited.       But ultimately, the biggest challenge to fraze mowing and “cleaning out” bermudagrass is that being so aggressive to a field will make any field manager nervous.  It will create nervous administrators and users as well.

But no different from world-class facilities such as Wimbledon, Old Trafford (Manchester United), Emirates Stadium (Arsenal), Manchester United’s Carrington Training Ground, Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu, and FC Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium, United States fields can quickly adopt the aggressive approach and see a dramatic change in field quality just as those in Europe.  “Cleaning out” bermudagrass by fraze mowing is absolutely a concept from the future that will revolutionize bermudagrass field quality and durability.

Please share your thoughts and give feedback to whether you think it might fit!!

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Carry On the Excitement!!

Oh the difference a week makes!!  A cold chill has stretched across much of the middle and northern USA this week, bringing snow and temperatures in the single digits.  This time last week we were taking part in the National STMA Conference, sitting out on the beach in Daytona enjoying 80 degrees and plotting the next step of the Revolution.

As you returned home,  did you feel a renewed excitement to get back to work?  Almost a sense of refreshment… coming from the camaraderie and education sessions that you enjoyed in Daytona?  Were you carrying an extra amount of motivation? Feel like you had a bit more gas in the tank,  convinced that you could take on the world and fix all of the challenges you faced in 2013?

I know I did!  And I know I have fellow colleagues that did as well.  I hope you are experiencing that the same as we are!!!

But… now we are all back home.  Back to the cold weather, faced with catching up on piles of work from being out for a week.  For us personally, we are preparing for an early, cold Saturday morning of work tomorrow; clearing Friday night’s (tonight) forecasted 1-3″ of snow from 3 fields so that Saturday and Sunday scheduled outdoor activity can carry on.

Oh can’t we just return back to Florida?!?! 

This situation creates today’s discussion topic on how we “carry on” and continue the excitement and motivation of last week into the “real world”.  Sure last week was real..  the excitement, the motivation, the refreshment…  it was very real.  Those kind of emotions are what make life wonderful!!  But being back home… faced with challenge, having days filled with trials and tribulations, and no longer being surrounded by our colleagues that would do anything for you to ensure that you succeed…  this is “real life”.  To be the best that we can be, we want to carry the feelings and emotions of last week with us this week and continue them throughout the year!!

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr (Happy Birthday to the late Dr. this past week btw!!) had a famous quote that illustrates our challenge:  “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”  

Bitter cold weather, early morning weekend work, facing an upcoming spring of increased events and projects v. warm weather, relaxing, sharing fellowship w/ our friends and colleagues.  That equates to moments of challenge and controversy v. moments of comfort and convenience does it not?!

So we ask ourselves…  can we carry the excitement and motivation we felt in Daytona for the National STMA throughout the year?  Can we be the leaders and positive, pro-active, and strong people that we want to be even when faced with challenge and controversy?

I SAY YES!!!

But we are already experiencing it…  it will not be easy!!  Have you heard the cliche “nothing good in life comes easy?”   Frank Clark offers a different variation on that quote- “If you can find a path with no obstacles, it likely does not lead anywhere.”  Wow.  Isn’t that so true?  Carrying on the excitement and staying positive is hard!  It will take us working together:  Positive reinforcement for each other.  Sharing motivating articles and quotes with one another.  Even something as simple as writing an inspirational quote on the mirror in the bathroom to share with your family and yourself.  As we support each other.  As we work together sharing information and ideas.  As we create new ideas and strive on… YES we can carry on that excitement.

“Real life” is COLD.  “Real life” is challenging.  “Real life” is even frustrating sometimes…  But isn’t “real life” is WONDERFUL!?!?!?  “Real life” is where relationships grow stronger.  “Real life” is where we are provided with the opportunities to succeed and excel.  “Real life” is where we have the opportunity to be extraordinary.

Together, WE WILL CARRY ON THE EXCITEMENT!!

“A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes.  It is a catalyst and its sparks extraordinary results” –  Wade Boggs

Thank You STMA Participants

THANK YOU to the Sports Field Managers who spent time with us on Wed and Thursday morning discussing the concepts around maintaining high quality, high traffic athletic fields.  Also, THANK YOU to those who participated Wed morning in the discussion about the 6 Step Process for Transitioning Cool Season Fields to Bermudagrass.  Both topics received fantastic feedback and have led to a wide variety of additional possibilities.  It seems the warm Florida sunshine added to the creativity!!

The revolution of 2013 is off to strong start for sure.  Stay tuned for many, many more ideas to come.