Results tagged ‘ Grass ’

A new stadium in 2014 for the Tomateros de Culiacan


Acceso estadioA new park is underway in Culiacan , mexico.  The future home of the Tomateros is designed to hold 18000 people!     Its a natural grass stadium with some wonderful site lines.  This is going to be a fun project because the city is really cool.   The architect took some time in designing the seating bowl which will generate a lot of fun for fans.   It’s going to truly be a fan friendly facility.    The planned opening is October 2014.

Campo de juegoThe owners of the club are the Ley family.  They are really excited about this new sports venue in their home town and deserve to be. They are a good family with a long history in the Mexico and the baseball community.     The club has a very strong history of winning the Mexican Winter league and has had numerous championships over the years.   This park is being constructed directly beside the current baseball stadium so  logistics will be challenging for the 2013 season but in the end,  they will have new jewel in the Mexican winter  league.   Congrats to Juan Manuel Ley Lopez, his family and the architect Jim Sevilla

Keeping It Real In Amsterdam


infield skin

The new natural grass sport complex being developed in Amsterdam is really taking shape.  Congrats to the City of Haarlemmermeer / Hoofddorp and the Pioneers Club team.   The construction of the mound and home plates are almost complete and the  sand based root zone is being installed.  Chad Olsen is also proofing the finish grade this week before seeding the bluegrass blend.    Looking back on the planning process of this project provided some interesting thoughts.  I’ve been asked a few times by some of my peers as to why they didn’t go with synthetic grass.  After all,  here is a country that sees a lot of rain and cloud cover as well as low temps and they have a short outdoor sports season.   However, its a question I could see coming from folks.   The  Grass /turf selection  was discussed extensively and through a few testimonials from dutch horticulturists and local sportsturf  managers,  we stayed the course with natural grass.   It was the right choice for many reasons, but the municipality needed to collect accurate information to justify the decision.

tulips in amsterdam

The Dutch grow some of the most beautiful plant material in the world.   The ground and soils are  designed for agriculture and the culture embraces nature and a natural  lifestyle.   The land of bicycles ,  the windmills for energy are abundant,  garden after beautiful garden criss-cross the countryside and recreational athletic fields are managed at a very high level.  I  could go on and on about this forward thinking country.  The streets are clean of trash,  all the common ground areas are free of weeds/high grass and the landscaping  is well-kept.  Bottom line,  the deciding factor to go with natural grass was due to the country having a huge appreciation  for maintaining things as well as the drive to develop a state of the art playing surface for their baseball and softball community.

Over the years I have had the chance to work at a few great places.  Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando was one of them.   The complex was programmed and designed to be open 365 days a year.  Ive heard the question a couple times as to why we didn’t consider going with synthetic turf.     One of the reasons… Reggie Williams , the VP of Sport for Disney was a former NFL Bengals football player and had spent  many years playing on synthetic turf which he was not a  big fan of at the time.   We all followed his lead and designed the fields and event management system with the ability to host multiple events.  For example we were able to host 1500 baseball games in a 6 week slot during the heat of summer.    We proved that natural grass could sustain extremely high use if the fields were designed and maintained properly.    The fact that Disney has a culture of maintaining things at a high level also helped with planning the maintenance operations.

When you are building that new ballpark or field, do your homework before selecting a playing surface whether it be synthetic or natural.  Both have pros and cons,  Many of you have played on both good and bad surfaces.     It may appear to be an easy financial choice but in the long run when you weigh all the facts,  there really isn’t a major cost savings when you compare both surfaces.    For many years I have managed  the baseball field at Hiram bithorn stadium in Puerto Rico for multiple MLB games.  It’s a synthetic surface and the staff, equipment and products we use are equal to managing a professional  natural grass baseball field.     The turf was replaced in 2004 for a new in-fill turf product and since this was the Montreal Expos home ground they wanted to keep it similar to what they had at Olympic stadium.    The City of San Juan has struggled with budgets like many around the world making it tough to justify field maintenance over police protection.    After 8 years of moderate use,  the turf is ready to be replaced/renovated and either option is an expensive process.

Puerto Rico in San Juan for WBC

Some countries take the “synthetic turf needs less  maintenance”  pitch  to the extreme which is unfortunate.  I’ve seen neglected  turf fields that need to be replaced after just a few of years of use because they were not groomed properly.  Maintenance is key to any surface selected.   The playing surface selection process should also be based on how the community views cultural  practices and if they have the capacity, resources or ability to maintain either surface at a safe level.    If you are thinking about changing out your field  do your  homework  about all the different options.   Reach out to your local natural grass professionals or contact the STMA (www.stma.org) for up to date info on some of the new varieties of turfgrass.        At the end of the day I’m hoping you can “keep it real” !

America’s Front Lawn is planning a Makeover


The National Mall is planning a much-needed renovation of a few of  the 30+ panels this year and the first phase is slated to begin late this summer.  www.nationalmall.org/nationalmall.php    What a great project and something ( Brickman‘s Sportsturf team) is excited to be a part of as the official turf consultant for the “Trust for the National Mall“.   Over 20 million people see the Mall every year.  The parks service issues around 3000 permits for multiple functions and one of the main complaints from people  is how it always looks.  Trying to compare this venue to anything else in the world is really difficult so we looked at every park and various large sports complex operations that appeared similar.    Keeping grass growing is tough in this transistion zone area …. much less trying to  keep it green with millions of people walking on it.    It’s a 3 pronged approach which includes renovating the lawn with better soils , drainage. and an irrigation system, managing the events a little differently and updating the maintenance operations.   The National Parks Service does an unbelievable job taking care of the mall with the resources they have.   With budget cuts and more people wanting to use the Mall it really is amazing what they achieve with so little. 

Sometimes when I talk to  people about the “Mall” in DC they really think I am talking about a shopping center.  Then I tell them its America’s front lawn and ….I get the AHA moment .  

There is a slate of turf folks involved in some capacity with this renovation including Dr. Peter Landshoot-Penn State,  Dr  Norm Hummel ,  Dr  Mike Goatley- Virginia Tech Turfgrass - Mike and his  folks are  working on a study regarding  turf protective coverings for events.  Steve LeGros  is helping with the fertility planning, etc…  All great turf people.

The renovation will involve removing existing soils, amending them,  adding drains and new irrigation and installing a few cisterns –  Each are 150’ x 34’ wide  x 10’tall.  250,000 gallons each and there are 2 in the 1st phase.   Completely irrigated turf areas with an automatic system and a full underdrainage system that will assist in collecting the rain water to fill the cisterns  .  Seed selection was fun -  After a full review of local seed varieties Peter and Steve narrowed down a 4 way blend of grass seed that everyone agreed on.  30% Wolfpack 2 Tall fescue, 30% Firenza Tall fescue, 30% Turbo Tall fescue and 10% P-105 Kentucky Bluegrass      HOK is the Architect of record.

More to come as this project develops.

The Baseball Field


 

What makes a baseball field so beautiful is in the eyes of the beholder but how it becomes that lush field of  manicured grass is all about the sportsturf manager and his staff.  (For those old-timers groundskeepers are now called sports turf managers.)   Baseball fields haven’t changed drastically since the 1840s back when the sport was known as knickerbockers. The bases were measured at 90ft then and they remain that distance today. The mound however has changed quite a bit.  In the last 20 years,  field playing surfaces for all levels have improved tremendously, Standards have increased and the need for safety was stressed.  even with all of the new fancy equipment and field protection materials there is still one part of the field that remains a true art.  Managing the clays. The infield mound and homeplate.  To hard or to soft.  It’s all about moisture and how your field takes the water during certain times of the year.  Mother nature has a calendar but she will sometimes tweak it a bit and throw everyone a curve like the Yankees practicing in a snow fall a couple of days ago.    The turf managers in the north had a pretty rough winter and  those fields are green and ready.  I’ve blogged a bit about  lot of How to grow your fields etc… but each spring seeing our fields go green after harsh winters is really amazing.  The amount of hours and time spent on maintaining these fields is immense.

With the 2011 Baseball season officially underway we need to say thanks to  our Spring training site ground crews  for getting the guys ready for the season and the job our MLB and Minor League clubs are preparing to begin. Have a great season!

Choosing the Right Grass for your Baseball Field


Thumbnail image for target field looking good.JPGThere are numerous types of grass that is used to cover our baseball and softball fields.

Blue grass, Bermuda grass, Zoysia, Buffalo, Rye grass, bent grass, Tifsport, 419, St Augustine, Bahia, 318, k-31, Limousine, U-3, Tifway, Fescue, Creeping red etc…  I could go on for days…Which one of these is not a real grass?   U-3 is what you call three grasses in your yard and you don’t know what they are!

Breaking it down to the basics:  Grass selection is based on Cool Season and Warm Season grasses and the mysterious transition zone. Every country has different grass growing zones but they all are defined by cool and warm season grasses.   Cool season grasses is what you have in your lawn from about the Maryland/Pennsylvania border north and warm season grasses start in Virginia and go south South. The transition line varies across the states. There are pockets in Virginia, Maryland, Texas and even Utah that you can grow both types…which explains the “transition zone”.  Picking your grass should begin with the zone you are in.

From that point you can get really creative with 1000′s of varieties of grasses.  The bottom line…keep it simple.  Don’t go crazy with a bunch of different seed choices in your lawn.  That could lead to a  fungus problems.  2 or 3 varieties different is OK but more than that is probably not necessary.

Here are some fun grass facts you can throw at the neighbor while you are out shopping for seed at the seed stores!

FACT- The first white house lawnmower. George Washington and Jefferson used sheep to keep the lawn under control!

FACT- “There are over 200 varieties of of tall type fescues in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Delaware.  The type everyone knows about in the store and one of the first types…was K-31.

FACT- The grass seed state in the US is in Oregon with sales over 300+ million per year.

FACT- In the 1800′s golf courses in the UK were infected with a pests called ….. Earth worms!  This resulted in some of the great courses in Scotland developing along the seashores. Worms do not care for the salty/sandy soils.  In the US, night crawlers are actually good for the earth!

FACT – Next time your significant other asks you if you are going to the mall and you want to work in the yard say:

“And let the earth bring forth grass..and the earth brought forth grass” Genesis 1:11-12

FACT- First lawnmower. invented by Edwin Budding in the early 19Th century. In 1870, Elwood McGuire designed a mower that made a big impact on the homeowner. By 1885, the USA was building 50,000 push mowers a year and shipping them everywhere.

FACT- A survey in 1994 listed 43 million acres of turf in the US.

FACT- The cooling power of grass!  8 average front lawns have the cooling power of 70 tons of air conditioning. (The average home has a 3 to 4 ton central unit)

FACT- Fresh Air… a 50×50 square pieces of grass generates enough oxygen for a family of four.  As mother natures filter it absorbs carbon monoxide, nitrates and hydrogen fluoride and releases oxygen.

FACT- Last one – A test was conducted by dropping 12 eggs onto a dense small piece of natural grass from 11 feet. NONE BROKE!  On a thin turf piece 8 broke…. and all 12 broke when dropped from 18 inches onto a rubberized track. 

Have fun!!

Building a new Baseball field?


Mlbphotos_2 This question comes across my desk a couple times a week.  I normally give the same answer. “It depends…on a lot of things!”  If you have bare areas of turf, or the grass is growing all over your infield and the lips on the field look like they are a foot high….. you need to do something.  Just remember, its not only what you do to improve your field, it also how you go about it and to what level!

Here are few pointers that may be helpful as you plan:

1. Evaluate what type and how many events are held on the field. You don’t want to be in a situation where you do a great job with the renovation only to find out your back in the same place again the following year.

2.  Determine your budget after you find out how often the field will be used.  This will help determine what type and level of field you will have to build.  The more the use….the more you should invest in the construction of the field.  Also determine the time you have to re-build your field? Fall , Spring or maybe you only have a 7 day window?

3.  Make sure you have someone on staff that understands field construction and specifications so they can help you design exactly what you if not seek help from your local university or extension service.

4.  Plan for maintenance operations.  Assess your maintenance budget because that may be the weak link in your field operation.  A great field can turn into a bad field very quickly without proper maintenance.

A general rule of thumb, If your field is over half covered with weeds its time to replace the turf.  Trying to change it back to one healthy grass is possible but it will take a few years.

Good Luck !

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