Turf grass on athletic fields are one of the hardest to maintain. High traffic, and soil compaction are a few of the issues working against a beautiful green football field. A green lawn on a soccer field is not just an esthetic thing, but is important in providing athletes a safe surface that reduces the chance of injuries. Maintaining a healthy and playable surface is essential for any athletic field despite the demanding effort.
Have A Good Maintenance Plan
In order for turf grass on athletic fields to remain playable season after season, a good maintenance program must be set up. This program should cover very key fundamentals from dealing with weed invasion, fertilization, mowing and endurance limits outlining the use of the field. Understanding what it takes to design a successful plan is no easy task, and is best designed by a professional. However we will give you tips to know what solid turf grass maintenance program should outline.
- Mowing should be scheduled around the type of grass mixture you are working with. For example Kentucky bluegrass be cut to about 2 1/2 inches. However, Bermuda grass should be kept at 1 1/4 inch.
- Incorrect mowing schedules can throw off watering. It can also make more difficult for turf to fight disease or insects.
- Scheduling weekly mower maintenance, ensure that the blades are sharpened often. A badly cut turf makes it more prone to disease.
- Mowing should never be done with wet turf, however if it is unavoidable that proper aeration methods are established. Mowing wet destroys the compaction of a field.
- Watering schedules should only meet the absorption rate of the soil. Soil should be tested often for the depth of the absorption.
- Irrigation should be regularly checked to ensure even watering, and that puddling does not occur. Puddling can kill grass or at the very least cause spotty growth. Improper irrigation can also cause poor evaporation and leave turf exposed to the elements such as wind.
- A good watering plan will ideally work with movable sprinklers that can evenly rotate throughout a field.
- Fertilizing strategies should include proper fertilization cycles. Ideal fertilization times are usually best 6-8 weeks after growth, but should ultimately be based on complete soil tests.
- The fertilizer should address damage caused by heavy traffic wear and tear. It should also address climate elements specific to the area. Fertilizer in drought prone areas address lack of top soil moisture that is lost from longer sun exposure. While areas that deal with heavy rains, may need a fertilizer that helps with aeration.
- Ultimately turf grass programs should follow a fertilization that will best promote steady growth.
- Athletic field maintenance should include practices when addressing damage.
- It is important that aeration methods are in place to correct dense soil compaction as a result of heavy traffic. This makes water less likely to absorb to proper depths.
- Endurance limits should be set. A good lawn care program should know at what point a damaged field needs to be rotated out of use.
- Topdressing should be considered in any plan. Topdressing can be a costly method to revive heavy traffic patterns in your turf lawn, it can also put the field out of temporary use as sometimes it requires watering more often.
- Spot Seeding is less costly option that should be part of a repair plan when a field is less than 40% damaged. However results are best when grass seed is spread in springtime.
- Lawn paint or turf dye should be used when addressing brown, yellow or dead patches of grass. This will ensure the fields remain esthetic as repairs are being made.
In the end a good maintenance program for athletic field turf grass will ensure the safest surface for those using it throughout the year. Many institutions that need such programs require that candidates have a degree or certification in Turfgrass Management. It may be important for you to really know the credentials of the person(s) designing your program.