Organic & Synthetic Herbicides for Athletic Fields

Crabgrass (Digitaria sp.)on football field

One of the routine maintenance tasks for athletic field management is the control of weeds. This is not just for aesthetic purposes. Sometimes the weeds can result in reduced lateral shear strength and increased chance for athlete injury. Herbicides, when used according to the label, have been shown to present minimal risk to end users and are typically employed by athletic managers to selectively remove different weeds. However, we are increasingly seeing laws and regulations being passed aimed at reducing exposure to pesticides, including bans of pesticide use on public lands or on school property. In these areas the use of synthetic herbicides is not permitted and alternative management strategies need to be used. Continue reading

2017 Turfgrass Pathology Disease Day

On Thursday July 13th, 2017, the Turfgrass Pathology team at The Ohio State University will be hosting a Turfgrass Disease Field Day.

Attendees are invited to spend time looking at disease trials and hear about current and new fungicides. There will be an update on the diagnostic clinic and time for a Q&A session.
This is an ideal opportunity for turfgrass managers to spend time with Joe Rimelspach & Todd Hicks and get the most up-to-date information on turfgrass disease issues.

The event is free.

For more information, download this flyer, call (614) 778-9172 or email hicks.19@osu.edu

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

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

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