Field Crowns & Surface Drainage

What is a field “Crown“? – The elevated center portion of a sports field, raised to promote the runoff of surface water. (Puhalla, Krans, & Goatley, 1999)

If surface water is not removed from the field:

  • Surface becomes slippy and unsafe, as well as providing a poor spectacle
  • Soil compaction will occur more readily on cohesive native soils, increasing surface hardness
  • Oxygen is excluded from the soil and roots will not grow = grass pulls out during games & grasses will not be as stress tolerant (e.g. drought stress)
  • Anaerobic conditions develop, leading to black layer problems & lack of important nutrients
  • Cancellation of events/games
  • Delayed maintenance practices e.g. mowing
  • Increase in pest & disease problems (annual bluegrass etc.) because of wet favorable conditions or reduced grass health
  • Soils take longer to warm up, so seed germination is delayed in spring

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Ohio State Turf Club Update

By Amanda Folck

On April 21, the Turf Club was represented at the Ag Olympics competition. It was an event that had 12 other college fraternities, sororities, and organizations from CFAES competing for the top prize. Events included best uniforms, tug of war, backyard jenga, water balloon toss, etc. For their first appearance at the Ag Olympics in 28 years, the Turf Club came in 3rd place!

The Turf Club also sponsored the golf outing held at Homestead Springs Golf Course on April 23rd. During the event, over 28 sponsors and 24 teams participated at the outing. The total money raised at the outing was $4,500! The money raised will go toward the OSU Turf Club for expenses such as taking students to represent Ohio State in Turf Bowl competitions at GIS and STMA conferences in 2018. Thank you for those that came out for the golf outing. Continue reading

Irrigating Soccer Fields Prior to Play

Some soccer field managers are asked to apply water just prior to a game. Why is that, and how much should be applied? During my own experience as a soccer player, and also as an agronomist, I have seen a variety of watering requirements from coaches, managers, players and grounds managers prior to a soccer game. Continue reading

Mowing Heights for Athletic Fields

By Pam Sherratt and John Street

Mowing is a turf stress. Removing leaf tissue reduces the turfs ability to produce photosynthate (sugars) that are needed for healthy growth and recovery, so getting it right is critical. Turfgrasses mowed too low have limited leaf area to sustain photosynthesis rates necessary to maintain good plant vigor.

In addition to leaf area, a direct relationship exists between the height of the turfgrass and the depth and total mass of the root system. Continue reading

Calcined Clay

Calcined clay is a popular soil amendment used on baseball infields for water management and soil conditioning. Clay is heated at a high temperature, about 1500 degrees Fahrenheit to expand the clay forming calcined clay. On baseball fields calcined clay is used to fill in infield depressions caused by cleats and smooth the surface to provide a true baseball bounce, which contributes to the safety of the field. Calcined clay absorbs water that can help dry a field after a rainstorm, and firm the surface. Continue reading

Selective Creeping Bentgrass Control

By Pam Sherratt

Creeping bentgrass is considered a weed on athletic fields and lawns. It produces a superb playing surface for golf and it has great recuperative potential, but it’s shallow roots and lack of wear tolerance make it unsuitable for most athletic sports.

Tenacity (mesotrione) is the first herbicide that results in rapid, easy to visualize reductions in weedy perennial grasses, including creeping bentgrass.  Best control, according to most research of creeping bentgrass, is achieved if three applications are made on 14-21 day intervals. Continue reading

Leaf Spot/Melting Out

By Pam Sherratt

Extended periods of cool, wet spring weather this year has triggered extensive leaf spot on lawns. This is a troublesome spring diseases on Kentucky bluegrass (especially common bluegrasses), fescues and other lawn grasses. Some leaf spot can be found on most home lawns in the spring, but it normally does not cause significant damage to the lawn. This year due to the weather conditions leaf spot has occurred and now in progressing into the melting-out phase. Leaf spot is caused by several different fungi. The fungus overwinters in the thatch layer or in small lesions on leaf blades. Continue reading

Dealing with Flooded Turf

By Pamela Sherratt

What can you do when your turf is flooded after all the precipitation occurs?

Submerged turf needs to be uncovered quickly and renovated, since turf will die if it is submerged under water for several days. It’s important to get the water off asap and pumps can help to do this.  Removing deposited silt and debris will be the next big task ahead. Brooms, rakes, vacuums and/or high pressure hoses can help to get the silt and debris off the turf. Tilling the silt into the top few inches of soil will cause all kinds of surface drainage problems in the future so the silt must be completely removed from site. Once the silt has been removed, evaluate the turf damage. If the field has been submerged more than a few days the grass will likely be dead so new turf establishment will be needed. Continue reading

Extending the Green on Athletic Fields

By Pamela Sherratt and John Street

Growth covers can offer many advantages to field managers

Consistent rain and low temperatures, coupled with cloudy days (sunlight seems to have been non-existent), has led to some pretty unhappy grass lately.

The sports facilities are closing their fields down for the winter. Those facilities that host spring games might investigate purchasing a growth cover/tarp. Continue reading