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

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

Surface Playability Results

On Wimg_3040ednesday Nov. 16th the HCS 3370 Sports Turf Management class measured playing quality at the OTF Research Facility. Students measured green speed, surface firmness, hardness and soil moisture (at 3 inch depth) on a putting greens (USGA sand), a sports turf area (perennial ryegrass on sand:soil blend) and artificial turf.

A stimpeter and soccer ball roll apparatus measured speed (ball roll). The Clegg Impact Hammer (Clegg) tested hardness (Gmax) of the turf. Firmness was tested with the Firmness Meter. Soil moisture was tested by the TDR 300 Soil Moisture Meter.

The results are summarized below.


In the comment section below, answer the following questions:

  1. Which surface was “fastest?
  2. How do you think speed affects ball performance in games like golf & soccer? Give an opinion as to why soccer players may prefer natural grass over synthetic/artificial.
  3. Which surface was “hardest”?
  4. How does soil moisture affect surface hardness?

You can answer these Qs for an extra bonus point!