Results tagged ‘ Horticulture ’

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.

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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