Results tagged ‘ Turfgrass ’
Back in 2005 I started Blogging for MLB.com. My good friend Mark Newman thought a grounds keeping blog might be pretty unique to provide information to folks around the world related to taking care of sports fields and or your homelawn. I’ve been asked some fun questions about my blog ( that I write out of the love for educating folks about the sportsturf industry). Looking back at 2005 when I started at a few of the early blog stories , I came across one that highlighted some facts about natural grass. A lot has happened in 9 years but one constant has been the evolution of better, stronger and more durable turfgrasses for our baseball fields.
During this crazy spring weather where we are seeing temps go from 80 degrees to 30 with snow OVERNIGHT, i take my hat off to all the natural grass turf managers that get those fields ready everyday for the teams. It’s a tough job and the average person has no idea what happens behind the scenes on a daily basis. Not to mention the stress of making sure the field is safe for your players day in and day out. Salud!
Below are a few excerpts from the 2005 blog about some turfgrass facts.
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. 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 bunch of fungus problems. 2 or 3 varieties 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 working in your lawn!
FACT- The first white house lawnmower. Washington and Jefferson used sheep to keep the lawn under control!
FACT- “There are over 200 varieties of tall type fescues in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Delaware. The type everyone knows about in the store and probably the first type…was K-31.
FACT- The grass seed state is 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 – Groundskeeping is actually Mankinds first profession: Genesis 2:15 …. The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.
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.
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.
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.