With those keys, here are some more fun facts are provided us by the Lawn Institute:
– The front lawns of eight average houses have the cooling effect of about 70 tons (68 metric tons) of air conditioning, while the average home-size central air has only a 3 to 4 ton capacity (2.7 to 3.9 metric tons).
– In a well maintained, thick 10,000 square foot (929 square meter) lawn there will be 6 turf plants per square inch (25.4 millimeters), 850 turf plants per square foot (30.45 square meters) for a total of 8.5 million turf plants.
– A lawn, 50 by 50 feet releases enough oxygen for a family of four, while absorbing carbon dioxide, ozone, hydrogen fluoride, and peroxyacetyl nitrate.
– A dense, healthy lawn prevents run-off, absorbing rainfall six times more effectively than a wheat field and four times better than a hay field.
– Grass plants are 75 to 80% water, by weight.
– Up to 90% of the weight of a grass plant is in its roots.
– Grass clippings are approximately 90% water, by weight.
– Clippings contain nutrients useable to the grass, when left on the lawn.
– Turfgrass helps control pollution, trapping much of an estimated 12 million tons (10.9 million metric tons) of dust and dirt released annually into the US atmosphere.
– As part of a well-designed and maintained landscape, turfgrass increases a home’s property value by 15 to 20 %.
As part of “ThinkDifferent”, I have repeatedly made the statement that “within 5 years, there WILL be a natural grass alternative to synthetic turf.” That is a statement that the natural grass industry is closer to than any of us realize. Through combining the best technologies and techniques with creative thinking… we are close! No one has any idea what the future holds!
During a recent visit to France, I got a peek into what the future does hold for natural grass fields and us as Grass Field Managers. For possibly the first time ever, two grass field agronomists (Mr. Chris Hague from Denmark and myself) spent several hours in a NeuroMusculoskeletal Biomechanics lab with some of France’s top research and medical specialists. Country and western singer Brad Paisley’s 2009 hit “Welcome to the Future” played in my mind as we were exposed to research on the interaction between players and the field surface from a scientific, biomechanics perspective. Or maybe the more proper song would have been the introduction to the “Twilight Zone“, as we truly were introduced to an entirely new dimension in which grass fields soon will be moving. Either song is fitting. And the opportunity Chris and I had to be introduced to some exciting new ideas technology for natural grass fields was game changing. Let’s take a quick look:
The group Natural Grass is responsible for the game changing ideas and research taking place in France. Their concept revolves around the use of granulated cork in a sand root zone for a natural grass sports field. The cork mixed in sand absorbs energy displaced into the sand from each step a player running takes. The energy is being absorbed, lowering the injury potential. The cork in the field gives, not the player’s ligaments or tendons. What a great idea yeah?!? Wow.
Granulated Cork Pieces
The agronomic benefit is similar. With the energy absorption, the compaction potential in the sand root zone is lowered/ eliminated. The result is an air-filled root zone in which strong, healthy grass roots can always exist. Strong, healthy roots allow the grass can always continue to grow and recover. And a grass sward that is always growing and recovering can take an increased amount of traffic without an increased amount of maintenance.
4″ Width x 8″ Profile Sample
The research behind the cork concept is being done at the George Charpak Institute for NeuroMusculoskeletal Biomechanics. The institute has 3 teams for research:
1) Musculoskeletal Modelling and Clinical Innovation: Oriented towards patient-specific biomechanical modelling of the musculoskeletal system, this research aims to improve the understanding of pathologies resulting from degenerative processes, traumatism or handicap, as well as develop computer aided diagnosis and therapeutic tools, or design implants and technical aids
2) Biomechanics and Nervous System: Motion Analysis and Restoration: This research is based in clinical site (CHU Henri Mondor Creteil). The aim is to better understand relationships existing between motion muscular actuators and their neurocontrol command. Analyzing and modelling motion disorders that happen subsequently to a neurological handicap, leads to design and objective evaluation of rehabilitation protocols.
3) Biomechanics: Sport, Health and Safety: This research, carried out in clinical site (CHU Avicenne-University Paris 13), copes with three issues: inter-relationships between sportive practice and musculoskeletal remodeling in order to optimize performance while reducing induced pathology; mechanisms of injury after impacts (road crashes, sports) to improve protection devices; tissues and structures characterization at various loading speeds
(*Information from the Institute information sheet provided us)
The Institute has completed 4 years of testing on different concepts for sports field and how they react to energy absorption and the human body. The work is amazing. And the results are eye-opening. There truly is a relationship between the shock from players legs and the field surface. Not only does the data expose the need for absorption in the soil, but also for we as grass field managers to embark on an aggressive surface testing program.
Again…. THE FUTURE!?!?
Will it become common for grass field managers to be communicating with fitness experts and biomechanical experts? I think YES! Outside experts becoming involved in research and innovation for natural grass create entirely new possibilities for the limits of natural grass fields. EXCITING!
Chris and I also had the opportunity to visit Aube Stadium in Troyes, France. Aude is the first stadium to install the “AirFibr” system on their field (summer of 2013). Thank you to Aube Head Grounds Manager Eric Robin for hosting us!
R to L: Chris Hague, Eric Robin, Jerad Minnick
(As you look through the Natural Grass website, yes there are a few more components/ parts to the first Natural Grass product, “AirFibr”. The additional of synthetic microfibers helps with stability of a weakened root zone for winter time play, and silica sand helps with superior drainage in the French market. And yes, some of the information Natural Grass has is commercial, as they believe in their product and want to sell it.
But let us focusing on the concept of the cork and the energy absorption. Let us see the creativity and importance of the Natural Grass relationship with some of France’s best researchers in the biomechanics field of study)
Here is another snap shot of the particular “Air Fibr” product:
Background on Organic Sand Amendments… and How Global Communication is Improving the Industry During a tour of the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) last fall (October 2013) with Mr. Simon Gumbrill of Campey Turf Care, STRI’s Dr. Christian Spring lead us past an abandoned trial on sports field root zone mixtures involving coconuts husks. Seeing visible squares of live and dead grass, Simon’s inquisitive mind asked the question of what was happening. The plots containing coconut had survived the uncommon summer heat of 2013 better than the plots without, even with the trial abandoned.
That experience left me curious about the possibilities of organic soil amendments for sand to increase durability and decrease compaction potential without introducing something like peat. Peat is great for golf. Why do we always have to follow golf? For sports peat is expensive and can lead to compaction potential.
With those thoughts on my mind, later that week I was meeting with Premier Pitches Mr. Carl Pass and Mr. Russell Latham and discussing the topic of sand reinforcement and sustainability for high traffic fields. Carl and Russell had recently visited Paris, France to see a new reinforcement product with cork called “Air Fibr”. There and then the connection to France and the USA via England was made. Now our United States marketplace has another idea for innovation and natural grass durability for the future. Communication and sharing is changing our world… Thank you to everyone involved in sharing, communicating, and idea exchange. Together we are re-defining our FUTURE!
The world-class Stub Hub Center in Los Angeles has become the latest addition to the list of facilities to put fraze mowing into practice . In a demonstration/ field day this week, the training field for the MLS club Chivas USA was fraze mowed and renovated with pieces of the KORO renovation process. Stub Hub Center, formerly known as Home Depot Center, is home to Chivas USA, the back-to-back defending MLS Champion LA Galaxy, US Soccer, and several of the United State’s highest profile events;
The renovation was organized by STS Services (Jock Eddington) of Phoenix, AZ and Campey Turf Care (Simon Gumbrill) of Manchester, UK. The rest of the renovation/ demonstration team was made up of Mr. Paul Burgess (Real Madrid), Jerad Minnick (Maryland SoccerPlex), Julie Adamski (Maryland SoccerPlex), Kevin White (Seattle University), Brian Wood (Commercial Turf & Tractor) and Mr. Jose Maria Aldrete (Chivas Guadalajara). The Stub Hub Center staff, lead by Mr. Shaun Ilten, played an absolutely vital role as well. Kudos to them for all the support and the open mind to proceed!
The Chivas training pitch is a tight mix of bermudagrass and ryegrass. But as every grass field experiences, an organic layer was beginning to accumulate and poa annua was starting to populate. Mr. Ilten, Stub Hub Center’s Head Grounds Manager, recognized that fraze mowing and the KORO renovation process could be something that could not only help with keeping those challenges from increasing… but also create an even stronger and traffic tolerant surface for Stub Hub Center year round.
1) Eliminate/ reduce poa annua population
2) Increase durability of the field by cleaning out/ breaking up organic layering and de-compacting sub-base
3) Create a strengthened bermudagrass base to act as stability for the inner-seeded ryegrass
4) Keep the entire surface smooth to increase playability by the high level teams
To start the renovation, the field was fraze mowed. With frazing, the challenges of the field: thatch, organic build up, ryegrass, poa annua plants and poa seed: were removed off the surface while leaving the base of bermudagrass below. As fraze mowing multiple fields in 2013 has demonstrated (Fraze Mowing Results), the Universe® rotor on the Field Topmaker cleaned the material off the surface and left the bermudagrass rhizomes to re-generate.
Fraze Mowing Off Thatch and Organic Matter w/ the KORO Universe® Rotor
Fraze Mowing w/ KORO Universe®
The bermudagrass rhizomes exposed to the sunlight began to re-generate and run across the ground immediately. That network creates a base of natural stability in the sub-soil.
Following cleaning, the sub-surface profile was de-compacted using the Imants Shockwave w/ 8″ blades. Shockwave, a soil wave de-compaction machine, is ideal for a heavy soil sub-surface that needs softened.
Imants Shockwave De-Compacting Sub Soil
Imants Shockwave De-Compacting 8″ Deep
Incorporation of Sand Into Soil Surface:
With the thatch, organic matter, poa annua, poa annua seed bank and ryegrass removed, followed with the sub-soil de-compacted… 1/2″ of sand was added to the surface. Using an Imants RotoKnife to slice up the top, sand was worked down into the soil profile to promote infiltration, reduce compaction potential, and to provide air space for stronger plants.
Imants RotoKnife Slicing Profile to Incorporate Sand
Seeding Ryegrass Into Bermudagrass Base:
Ryegrass was seeded into the bermudagrass base of the field following cleaning off, de-compaction, and sand incorporation. With bermudagrass rhizomes beginning to re-generate across and through the soil surface, they will prove natural stability for the ryegrass that is seeded down into the soil. The resilience of ryegrass will sustain heavy amounts of traffic without divoting or wearing away at the crown of the plant because of the bermudagrass reinforcement.
3 Days Following Fraze Mowing, Bermudagrass Beginning to Regenerate
Sun Setting Following Seeding of Ryegrass Progresses
With the beautiful Southern California sunshine beaming down on it, the ryegrass seed will now germinate and fill in quickly. The low sun angle and mild temperatures will inhibit complete bermudagrass regeneration, but that is ok since the bermuda is there for reinforcement and playability, not turfgrass cover. Within 4 weeks time, the training field will be available to be back on-line for the busy winter season at Stub Hub Center… and absolutely bullet proof by the time Chivas USA returns for the start of the MLS season in January.
THANK YOU to all the participants of the field day and the demonstration of the renovation practices!! THANK YOU to Mr. Shaun Ilten and his staff and Stub Hub Center for the support and for the open mind to try the new renovation techniques. And THANK YOU to Assistant GM of Stub Hub Center, Mr. Kyle Waters, for his time and for hosting the group for the LA Galaxy v. Real Salt Lake Playoff match at Stub Hub Center Stadium. Stub Hub Center is one of the world’s finest… Mr. Ilten and Mr. Waters are absolutely majors reasons why!!
More updates to come on the re-establishment. Keep the questions coming!
Jerad Minnick has never calculated the point of diminishing returns as it relates to the cost of seed at the Maryland SoccerPlex, but he knows he hasn’t come close to reaching it yet.
Minnick, head groundskeeper at the 22-field complex in Boyds, Md., since 2009, renovated the facility’s main stadium field last year, with Barenbrug’s Turf Blue Kentucky bluegrass that is enhanced with HGT technology. At $4 per pound, the seed, he says, is worth every penny.
The selection of HGT, which stands for Healthy Grass Technology, along with Jump Start Kentucky bluegrass and a regimen of agronomic practices that he learned overseas, have helped Minnick, 34, produce mid-season playing conditions that he didn’t realize were possible on cool-season turf.
“Grass can take a lot more traffic than we give it credit for,” Minnick said.
“We’ve played 120 events on the stadium field, and you can’t tell it’s been played on.”
Barenbrug’s HGT (Healthy Grass Technology), which entered the market in 2011, was developed from naturally stress-tolerant plants. Its traits include improved heat and wear tolerance, rapid establishment and quick recovery.
The stadium field at the Maryland SoccerPlex was ready for play 35 days after seeding. Thanks to a program of aggressive agronomic practices, he’s been able to keep it in like-new condition.
Within 60 days of seeding, the complex had hosted several tournaments, including the Atlantic Coast Conference men’s championship that was decided on the stadium field 75 days after seeding. Minnick now uses HGT on the other cool-season fields at the complex as well.
Hundreds of games each year are played at the 160-acre complex that includes 10 cool-season turfgrass fields, nine Bermudagrass fields and three that are carpeted with synthetic turf. The complex near Washington, D.C., is open every day except New Year’s, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and keeping the fields ready for play at all times is critical.
“If it snows in December, January or February, we have to clear it immediately and get it open,” said Minnick, who has managed the fields at the Maryland SoccerPlex since 2009.
Producing championship conditions is as much about agronomic practices as it is turf selection.
“Aggressive cultivation is the key,” Minnick said. “Each field has something done to it every two weeks. We have an aerifier and a verticutter running all the time. That is how we keep grass on our fields.”
Minnick earned a bachelor’s degree in turfgrass science at the University Missouri and was in his last semester of graduate school in 2002 when he accepted a job with the Kansas City Royals. He spent 2007-09 across town prepping with Sporting KC, Kansas City’s Major League Soccer franchise.
Since heading the soccer complex, Minnick has visited dozens of European soccer facilities. While overseas, he met people like Simon Gumbrill from Campey Turfcare and Barclays Premier League groundskeepers Paul Burgess of Real Madrid and Steve Braddock of Arsenal. Each taught him various things about the European way to manage turf, which includes regular agronomic practices throughout the playing season.
For example, Braddock said he runs a deep tine aerifier over Arsenal’s practice fields on a monthly basis, alternating between depths of 6 inches to 10 to 12 inches throughout the playing season. When the season is over, he scrapes the field clean of its cover using the Imants Koro Field Topmaker in a process called Fraze mowing and establishes a new field for the next season.
This process removes all organic matter from the surface and each year results in improved drainage at the surface, Braddock said. It’s a philosophy that is not taught at U.S. turf schools, but it is something that is widely used by turf managers in other parts of the world.
“All my practices have been self taught using what I believe is common sense over the years.” Braddock said.
“My belief is that practical experience is more beneficial as the person can see what tasks they are carrying out will have a positive impact on the surface and learning about how important timing can be when conducting tasks.”
Minnick wasn’t a believer at first, but he is now. His program in Maryland includes aggressive agronomic practices throughout the playing season, including almost constant aerification except during the most extreme summer conditions. He renovates the stadium field each year and uses the Fraze mowing method on actively growing Bermudagrass. The process removes thatch, ryegrass, Poa annua and leaves Bermudagrass stolons exposed. Scarifying in two directions promotes better lateral growth of the Bermudagrass. Minnick rotates through the other cool-season and warm-season fields, renovating several each year. He doesn’t yet renovate all every year, but, as he says, “we are moving in that direction.”
“I didn’t think it was possible either seven or eight years ago,” he said. “The fields we do the most to always look the best.
“To me, the biggest mistakes people make are too much water, too much nitrogen and not enough aerification. Granted, I’m not going to do it if it is 105 degrees outside. We were still solid tining to open the organic layer when we broke a record for most consecutive hours above 80 degrees.”
It has come as no surprise to Erik Ervin, Ph.D., who was a professor at Missouri when Minnick was a student there, that his former pupil has adopted such revolutionary tactics.
“Jerad was not your usual undergrad,” said Ervin, who is now a professor at Virginia Tech. “He was a polite young man who introduced himself right away and asked insightful questions. He was a leader in our turf club, and I was not surprised to follow his success as we both moved from Missouri to the East Coast for promotions. Jerad is willing to try new things, but reads, discusses and experiments before going all in with his unique turf care practices.”
Minnick maintains the stadium field at nine-sixteenths of an inch and the other cool-season surfaces at heights of 1 to 1.75 inches.
“I like to manipulate the turf,” he said. “If you add a quarter inch, that’s 25 percent more photosynthetic surface.
“I try not to mow as much, but I don’t shy away from cultural practices.”
The Bermuda fields at the complex, which include Patriot, are overseeded with a mix of Barenbrug’s SOS and RPR ryegrasses, are maintained at a height of about one-half inch during the summer when they subjected to 40 hours of play per week.
“We load them up in the summer,” Minnick said. “Summer camps are big for us. Kids are on those fields from 9 to 5, and the Bermuda is perfect. It doesn’t wear out.”
Adopting new methods of doing things is nothing new for Minnick. He currently is evaluating HGT Kentucky bluegrass as an overseed option, and also is evaluating performance characteristics of several vareities of Bermudagrass, including Patriot, Latitude 36, NorthBridge and Riveria. He believes looking for better ways to produce healthy, stress-tolerant playing surfaces quickly should be the norm, not the exception.
“Why are we still talking about all of these old ideas? We need to get rid of them. If we continue to learn new things, thinking like this will be the norm in five years.
“Some people say it is far-fetched, but others in other parts of the world have been doing it this way for a long time. In Europe, it’s been mostly on ryegrass. In Australia it’s been on Bermuda. When we take it to bluegrass, yes, we’re setting new trends. I like to think of the day when people will look back and think of when they thought grass couldn’t take a lot of traffic.”
SPECIAL FEATURE: This blog is privileged to have a guest share with us on the recent experience of the Major League Soccer All Star Game in Kansas City, KS at Sporting Park. Mr. Casey Montgomery is the Assistant Sports Turf Manager for Sporting Kansas City tasked with managing day-t0-day maintenance at Sporting Park. Directed by Mr. Justin Bland, Sporting Kansas City’s sports field management program sets an entirely new standard for high traffic, professional field quality in the United States. Sporting Park is the jewel of not only soccer stadiums in the Western Hemisphere, but for all sports venues in the United States. The playing field is a reflection of the quality that Sporting Park was built too. THANK YOU to Mr. Montgomery for sharing about his experience!
Also an FYI: Major League Soccer does their All Star Game different from many other sports. Instead of splitting the league into two teams, the All Stars of MLS match up again a major International club. The 2013 opponent was AS Roma, an Italian power club from Rome.
“Preparing for the 2013 MLS All Star Game” provided by Casey Montgomery
2013 MLS All Star Game
In 2012 when all of us at Sporting Kansas City were first told Kansas City would host the MLS All Star game, everyone in the organization was thrilled. There was no better way to show off Sporting Park and Kansas City, the city that we feel is the greatest soccer city in America, than to host the biggest match of the year! During the 12 months leading up to the All Star Game, everyone in the entire organization worked extremely hard to make sure the match was first class. However the overall preparation of the stadium and the pitch for the big match wasn’t much different from preparing for any match. We strive to have the best game experience possible, and with that comes the best playing surface possible game in and game out.
On the pitch we worked with MLS to add some extra classic touches to commemorate the uniqueness of the All Star Game. MLS All Star Game logos were painted off both touchlines and 7 stars were added in the grass going through the middle of the pitch. 6 of the starts were 30 feet point to point and the 7th star was in the center circle measuring 60 feet from point to point:
Adding Stars For the MLS All Star Game
Spraying On Boundaries for MLS All Star Game (Note MLS All Star Logos Behind)
Mowing Pattern Attempted to Turn Attention Towards Stars
Water Hose Was Also Used to “Blast” in Stars… But 3″ of Rain During 2 Days Prior to All Star Match Limited Its Effectiveness
Game Day Prior to Pre Game Half Time Rehearsal; All Star Touch Coming Together
Adding the stars was an exciting addition, but it ultimately turned into a major challenge! It became apparent after the first lay out and mowing on Saturday morning prior to the game on Wednesday that we would have to work on the stars daily to get them to stand out for the match. Our maintenance and plant feeding regiments encourage our Kentucky bluegrass mowed at 7/8″ to be very rigid and upright in order to be more durable and strong under high traffic. Trying to get the grass to lay down to lay down to illuminate the stars was completely opposite of that approach. We received much needed assistance from Mr. Trevor Vance, Head Groundskeeper of the Kansas City Royals. Mr. Vance was gracious to let us borrow an 80 lbs tile roller that we used instead of brooms. The roller was great help, and was less abrasive on the grass than continual brushing.
Chronicling Game Week:
Rain! Sporting Park received 1″ of rain on Monday, keeping us from accomplishing many tasks prior to Wednesday’s match. Our crew waited out the rains to paint the pitch boundaries at 8pm for Tuesday when both the MLS All Stars and AC Roma would train
Tuesday (Training Day)
Rain! Sporting Park received 1.9″ of rain Monday night into Tuesday mid-morning, bringing the total rainfall over the 2 days to nearly 3″. We didn’t let that dampen our excitement though! Tuesday morning prior to the first training session at 9:30am, we mowed the pitch and rolled in the 7 stars. Both teams then proceeded with their training sessions followed with a 7.5 hour pre-game ceremony rehearsal. When the rehearsal ended around 10pm, we again mowed the pitch and rolled in the stars again.
Wednesday (Game Day)
Sunshine! Sporting Park was blessed with a gorgeous day for the 2013 MLS All Star Game. Our staff mowed and re-painted the boundary lines and MLS All Star logos, then rolled the stars to brighten them up. At 3pm, another rehearsal for the pre-game ceremony was held for 3 hours. That allowed us about 45 mins to touch up the stars on the pitch before the gates opened and warmups began for both teams followed by the pre-match ceremonies. An exciting match saw the MLS All Stars fall to AC Roma 3-1. But it absolutely was a match full of excitement from start to finish!
Roma remained after the match for a 30 minute training session for their players that did not see action. Being that their team was in pre-season competition, it was important for all of their players to get work in even if it added a few more hours to our day.
Challenges of the Week Equal Reward
With an event like the MLS All Star Game, we began brain storming and preparing for the challenges months before the match. So the biggest challenge of the week was the one most out of our control: The Rain. We were well prepared to have 2 trainings as well as 2 days of rehearsals. And the heavy rainfall is something that can be expected from the unpredictable Kansas City climate. The rain on Monday just came on the day that was most important for our preparation. Fortunately at Sporting Park we are provide with excellent tools do deal with such conditions. Our Sub-Air system works wonderfully in vacuum mode to pull rain water out of the sand profile of the pitch. Yet water still holds around our sod layer, causing the surface to compact quickly from excessive foot traffic like that came from the 500 people on the field for the 10 hours of the pre-match ceremony rehearsals. Aeration will be our most popular practice through the end of the season in preparation for what is hopefully an even bigger match at the end of the season, the MLS Cup!
Hosting the 2013 MLS All Star Game in Kansas City was an exciting time for our city and especially the fans and employees of Sporting Kansas City. Being able to show off the finest soccer stadium in the country not only to AS Roma but to the world was very rewarding. I was glad to be part of such a historic match! Kudos to our grounds staff lead by Justin Bland, along with Ryan Lock, Chad Homan, and Shane Montgomery on the tremendous effort to overcome the challenges to create a successful experience for all!
Every month or so it seems Sports Turf Managers are being inundated with information regarding the viability and cost effectiveness of artificial turf. This information is often disseminated by those who have the most to gain from such information, the artificial turf manufacturers themselves. There is a growing group of Sports Turf Managers led by Jerad Minnick at the Maryland Soccer Plex who are proving time and again that “Grass Fields CAN Take More Traffic”. Jerad maintains a blog Growing Green Grass that chronicles the innovation going on in our industry. The latest and most intriguing of them is the concept of Fraze Mowing.
Below are a handful of practices that if implemented will allow grass fields to take more traffic.
Aerification/ Cultivation. I’m already on the record as being a huge proponent of aerification (see the Harrell’s May 2013 Front Porch Blog) but there is a lot more to it than just core aerification. Slicing, spiking, solid tine or even fraze mowing, which I’ve never actually done, but the pictures I’ve seen speak for themselves, as often as possible will also help a field hold up to heavy traffic.
Nutrient Management including the use of controlled release fertilizers, like Polyon, and plant growth regulators. These tools when used properly will maximize the turf’s ability to take up nutrients and use those nutrients to synthesize the carbohydrates needed to withstand traffic.
Field Rotation. Moving or resizing fields to spread wear will greatly increase a grass field’s ability to withstand heavy traffic. Manage the wear, don’t let me manage you.
Sports Turf Managers are doing revolutionary things to insure that their grass fields CAN take more. Is it time for you to join the revolution?
The impact of fraze mowing bermudagrass is beginning to show. Fields that were “cleaned off” at Maryland SoccerPlex and at FC Dallas Park are all setting themselves apart.
Maryland SoccerPlex fields that were “cleaned off” are illustrating improved wear tolerance, even just 6 weeks after fraze mowing. During a lacrosse tournament last weekend, SoccerPlex Patriot bermudagrass fields hosted 34 lacrosse matches per bermudagrass field in rainy, humid conditions. The durability from the fraze mowed fields was far superior. The treatments have been the same; no fertilizer and 1 pass w/ 3/8″ hollow coring tines on 1″ centers; accept that the non-fraze mowed fields were scarified to promote recovery. The results follow….
Fields Not Fraze Mowed:
Day 1: Bermudagrass Field That was Not Fraze Mowed
Day 7 of Recovery on Fields Not Fraze Mowed
Non Fraze Mowed: Day 14 of Recovery From 34 Lacrosse Matches
Because bermudagrass is so quick to recover, it is accepted before such a lacrosse event that the bermudagrass will nearly be completely worn away. The bermuda is able to recover completely within 2-3 weeks even at this pace.
Then that is compared to the fields that were fraze mowed 6 week prior to hosting 34 lacrosse matches in 4 days. Results:
Day 1: Field That Was Fraze Mowed
Day 7 of Recovery on Fraze Mowed Field
Day 14 of Recovery: Fraze Mowed Field from 34 Lacrosse Matches (W/ Soccer Camps/ Clinics All 14 Days)
The results speak for themselves. Yes, in both pictures the field is extremely worn initially on Day 1. However, look closer and compare the amount of green tissue remaining on the ground in the fraze mowed picture compared to the field not fraze mowed. The field not fraze mowed is nearly all dirt where new bermuda will need to push back up through the soil or have sprigs added to the area. The fraze mowed field still has nearly 75% cover, so the plants can quickly grow back in the worn area.
Keep in mind that fraze mowing took place only 6 weeks prior on 3 fields:
Fraze Mowing w/ KORO Universe Field Topmaker
Field Comparisons In 6 Weeks Before 34 Lacrosse Games
Because of the increase in durability of the fraze mowed bermudagrass, it is recovering in only 1 week. Not only does this allow the field to recover faster, but it can allow for the fields to sustain even more play. Win. Win.
So WHY is the difference so vast already?
1) Re-growth is more durable: Just 6 weeks after the field was cleaned off completely, the re-growth back up through the soil is much stronger. The number of growing points has multiplied and the cleats go into the soil instead of thatch to reduce shearing/ tearing/ increasing traction.
2) Organic removal reduces moisture and compaction potential: During the 4 day lacrosse tournament, wet and rainy conditions prevailed. The drying speed of the fraze mowed fields was much faster than the non-fraze mowed fields, and the 3 fields that were “cleaned off” historically hold water the longest. WHY? The organic layer was removed, so water was not held in the organic layer as long and allowed to soak into the native soil faster. The organic removal also reduced the compaction potential at the soil surface.
The FC Dallas Training Field is also experiencing similar superior wear tolerance:
FC Dallas 1st Team Training Field:
Organic/ Thatch Build Up in 2012
Thatch/ Organic Build Up AFTER Fraze Mowing in 2013
The pictures also illustrate the difference in the quality of the bermudagrass re-growth. Without having to grow up through thatch and having more growing points, the picture illustrates how much stronger the bermudagrass is after fraze mowing. Additionally, the poa is removed as well.
The FC Dallas Training field has been in use daily for nearly 3 months and is illustrating superior wear tolerance, especially through the high traffic areas:
THANK YOU to everyone that took part in the demonstration at Maryland SoccerPlex on Monday, June 3rd. Heavy rains Sunday night limited to the amount of work that was able to take place, but that did not limit the discussions and information sharing between the nice sized group that gathered.
Special thanks to Mr. Simon Gumbrill of Campey Turf Care (Manchester, UK) and Mr. Hans DeKort of Imants (Reusel, Netherlands) for taking the time to be with us. And special thanks to them for building and providing the turfgrass market with such well build and precision machines. The relationship between Campey and Imants is absolutely “Perfecting Play”.
Also, thank you to Mr. Niels Dokkuma from SGL Concept (Netherlands) for joining us. The age of growing grass year round w/ lights for even non-shaded fields is coming… and SGL is leading us there. Exciting things ahead!!
And additionally, a thank you for Mr. Yousef Bagdady for joining us from Garden & Farm (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia). Garden & Farm is one of the finest turfgrass equipment distributors in the world, and Mr. Bagdady being with us illustrates why. The idea sharing was beneficial for us all!
More to come w/ the re-growth of the fields. We are absolutely on track to re-open by 1 week from today… June 15th. A sneak peak at the results so far:
Patriot Bermuda Greening 5 Days After Cleaning Off
Thinnest Area Prior to Patriot Bermuda Being Cleaned Off 6 Days Before
Fraze mowing bermudagrass w/ the KORO Universe® Field Topmaker rotor became an active practice on dormant bermudagrass at FC Dallas Park in March. Now for the 1st time, the practice has been used on bermudagrass greening up and starting its summer growth at Maryland SoccerPlex (NW side of Washington, DC). The Patriot bermudagrass on 7 fields at SoccerPlex has been actively growing for about 3 weeks… so fraze mowing is taking place right at the time of transitioning the rye grass overseeding out of the bermudagrass.
Fraze mowing 2 fields took place on Thursday of last week, May 30. The top 1/2″ of the field was removed w/ the benefits being:
1) rye grass removal
2) poa annua and weed seed removal
3) thatch/organic build up removal
4) smoothing the surface of the top of the field
With all the removal, the bermuda stolons and rhizomes were exposed to the sunlight to be allowed to green up completely and actively grow across the field instead of fighting to get up through the shade of the thatch/organic and competition of the rye/ poa.
Fraze Mowing w/ KORO Universe Field Topmaker
Bermuda Plants Exposed w/ Removal of Rye, Poa, Weed Seed, and Thatch/ Organic Build Up
Stolons & Rhizomes Exposed
Following the “cleaning off” via fraze mowing, the fields were scarified at 1″ deep w/ a verticutter in 2 directions to cut the stolons and rhizomes to increase the number of plants and promote lateral and leaf growth. Each point the bermuda is cut will promote growth and increase density as the fields fill-in.
Following fraze mowing and scarifying, the fields were put into a heavy watering cycle to keep the bermudagrass soaked down in the soil… much like sprigs would be soaked when they are planted from sprigging. The water will help the remaining dormant plants to green up and start to grow.. and reduce the stress of the fraze mowing.
In 5-7 days time when leaves have re-generated and can be foliar fed, foliar bio-stimulant will be applied to promote more leaf and shoot growth. Because the leaves were removed from fraze mowing, the photosynthetic surface has been removed. Thus the additional of carbohydrates, amino acids, and plant hormones will provide food and energy to promote quicker regeneration . 1/2 lb of ammonium sulfate will also be applied, along granular polymer coated nitrogen (N) to release at 1/10th lbs N a week for the next 18 weeks and polymer coated phosphorous (K) to also release at 1/10th lbs K for the next 18 weeks.
The 2 fields clean off on May 30th re-open on June 15th to full play. (so closed 16 total days) Stayed tuned to track the re-establishment!