The impact of fraze mowing bermudagrass is beginning to show. Fields that were “cleaned off” at Maryland SoccerPlex and at FC Dallas Park are all setting themselves apart.
Maryland SoccerPlex fields that were “cleaned off” are illustrating improved wear tolerance, even just 6 weeks after fraze mowing. During a lacrosse tournament last weekend, SoccerPlex Patriot bermudagrass fields hosted 34 lacrosse matches per bermudagrass field in rainy, humid conditions. The durability from the fraze mowed fields was far superior. The treatments have been the same; no fertilizer and 1 pass w/ 3/8″ hollow coring tines on 1″ centers; accept that the non-fraze mowed fields were scarified to promote recovery. The results follow….
Fields Not Fraze Mowed:
Because bermudagrass is so quick to recover, it is accepted before such a lacrosse event that the bermudagrass will nearly be completely worn away. The bermuda is able to recover completely within 2-3 weeks even at this pace.
Then that is compared to the fields that were fraze mowed 6 week prior to hosting 34 lacrosse matches in 4 days. Results:
The results speak for themselves. Yes, in both pictures the field is extremely worn initially on Day 1. However, look closer and compare the amount of green tissue remaining on the ground in the fraze mowed picture compared to the field not fraze mowed. The field not fraze mowed is nearly all dirt where new bermuda will need to push back up through the soil or have sprigs added to the area. The fraze mowed field still has nearly 75% cover, so the plants can quickly grow back in the worn area.
Keep in mind that fraze mowing took place only 6 weeks prior on 3 fields:
Because of the increase in durability of the fraze mowed bermudagrass, it is recovering in only 1 week. Not only does this allow the field to recover faster, but it can allow for the fields to sustain even more play. Win. Win.
So WHY is the difference so vast already?
1) Re-growth is more durable: Just 6 weeks after the field was cleaned off completely, the re-growth back up through the soil is much stronger. The number of growing points has multiplied and the cleats go into the soil instead of thatch to reduce shearing/ tearing/ increasing traction.
2) Organic removal reduces moisture and compaction potential: During the 4 day lacrosse tournament, wet and rainy conditions prevailed. The drying speed of the fraze mowed fields was much faster than the non-fraze mowed fields, and the 3 fields that were “cleaned off” historically hold water the longest. WHY? The organic layer was removed, so water was not held in the organic layer as long and allowed to soak into the native soil faster. The organic removal also reduced the compaction potential at the soil surface.
The FC Dallas Training Field is also experiencing similar superior wear tolerance:
FC Dallas 1st Team Training Field:
The pictures also illustrate the difference in the quality of the bermudagrass re-growth. Without having to grow up through thatch and having more growing points, the picture illustrates how much stronger the bermudagrass is after fraze mowing. Additionally, the poa is removed as well.
The FC Dallas Training field has been in use daily for nearly 3 months and is illustrating superior wear tolerance, especially through the high traffic areas:
The grass tennis courts at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, or better known as Wimbledon, were in the sports headlines last week. Some players exiting early to defeat took some parting shots at the slickness of the courts. The rebuttal, support, and the education about grass that followed those negative headlines reached a standard never seen before in grass sports surface maintenance.
Wimbledon’s CEO immediately issued a statement about the courts:
London, UK: “There has been a high number of withdrawals at The Championships today and we sympathise with all the players affected. The withdrawals have occurred for a variety of reasons, but there has been some suggestion that the court surface is to blame. We have no reason to think this is the case. Indeed, many players have complimented us on the very good condition of the courts.
“The court preparation has been to exactly the same meticulous standard as in previous years and it is well known that grass surfaces tend to be more lush at the start of an event. The factual evidence, which is independently checked, is that the courts are almost identical to last year, as dry and firm as they should be, and we expect them to continue to play to their usual high quality.”
Richard Lewis, Chief Executive
The All England Club
The “factual evidence” that Mr. Lewis is referencing comes from a strict and regular testing program that the Wimbledon Grounds Department is on in conjunction with the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI). The testing data allows the Wimbledon to ensure the courts are consistent and prepared every day for their own players and for the players at the Championship.
Then following the Wimbledon CEO statement, the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) also issued a statement.
“The highly-professional and experienced All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) grounds management team works year-round preparing the world-renowned Wimbledon grass courts with the Championships very much in mind – as the annual showcase of playing surfaces that represent the ultimate in top-class playability as well as appearance.
“The considerable expertise of the AELTC grounds management team is underpinned by a multi-million pound turf care industry where companies spend many years developing high-performance turf grass seed specifically for sport. Alongside this, the very best in turfcare machinery and equipment is also on hand to ensure that by the time the tournament starts the courts are in the very best condition possible.
“Independent scientific testing on the courts is regularly carried out and the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) is in no doubt that this year’s playing surfaces at Wimbledon are of the same usual high standards, as evident at last year’s Olympic and 2012 Championships”
Then in what has to be a completely unprecedented move by Mr. Geoff Webb, IOG CEO, Mr. Webb. went on CNN News to discuss the facts with the general public about what was happening at Wimbledon. Mr. Webb also reiterated the professionalism, the specialization, and the meticulous nature of the Wimbledon Grounds team (and all grass sports surface managers for that matter).
The Wimbledon Grounds team received much and well deserved credit last year as they set a new standard for quality with keeping the courts immaculate through the Championships followed by the Olympics only 16 days later. As the Wimbledon Championships wrap up this weekend for this year, they have done yet another miraculous job of proving that grass CAN take more. And inadvertently they have created yet another new standard of support and education about the specialization of the natural grass sports surface industry. Kudos to them for another job WELL DONE… and kudos to all those who supported them with facts and education about the possibilities of natural grass.