Spreading How #GrassCanTakeMore: Take Part in the Upcoming Events!

#GrassCanTakeMore is spreading around the world.  With it, the possibilities of natural grass fields are multiplying!

During the next few weeks, Growing Green Grass’s Jerad Minnick will be sharing those possibilities and exploring more ideas to help you learn more!

Follow along with these events and to take part in the ideas and learning here at Growing Green Grass, or at @GrassRevolution on twitter.  Hopefully you can take part in one of the upcoming events to ask questions, provide feedback and become a living part of the #GrassCanTakeMore movement!

Upcoming Events In The USA and Europe to Be Part of #GrassCanTakeMore:

Friday, November 7:  Texas Recreation & Parks Society North Conference
Location: Grand Prairie, TX

Click to access trapsmatrix2014.pdf

Tuesday, November 11: 36th Annual Congress of Greenkeepers
Location:  Valencia, Spain

Tuesday, November 18:  North Carolina/ South Carolina STMA Conference
Location: Mrytle Beach, SC

Click to access 2014%20STMA%20Conference%20Brochure.pdf

Thursday, December 4: Institute of Groundsmanship Awards
Location: stadiummk: Milton Keynes, UK

Wednesday, December 10:  Missouri Green Industry Conference 
Location: St. Charles, MO

Thursday, December 11: Ohio Turfgrass Foundation Conference
Location: Sandusky, OH


Air Into the Soil: Air2G2 Demo at Toyota Stadium


On Monday of last week, Mr. Glenn Black, inventor of Air2G2, and Jeff Kadlec (GLK Turf Solutions) performed a demonstration of the Air2G2 on Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX. Toyota Stadium, home of FC Dallas (MLS) is one of the most high traffic professional grass fields in the USA. The field plays host to 3 Frisco High School football games each week, 3 concerts a year, the NCAA Division 2 National Championships, and several other high profile events. Mr. Allen Reed, CSFM, is the Sports Field Manager for the stadium. Allen wrote a guest piece for Growing Green Grass in 2013. “How Our Grass Field Takes More”

Air2G2 has gained exciting attention over the last year. The concept of pushing high-pressure air into the soil to fracture it to allow plant roots to breath certainly makes sense.

Mr. Reed is currently aerating the high traffic areas on the field 1-3x/ week. (Yes.. you read that correctly. 1-3x/ week). Now that’s aggressive aeration! The results are evident too, nearly through high school football season the field is still magnificent.  With such aggressive aeration being administered to the field, the expectation could have been that the Air2G2 machine would not make a significant impact.  But not so!  Even on sidelines that had been knife tined on 2″x 2″ spacing only 30 minutes before the Air2G2, the high-pressure air forced up through the sand still made a visible impact.

More about the machine:
Mr. Black shared the background on the idea for the machine very passionately. If you get a chance to talk with him, do so. He is a positive, solutions based man that made the Air2G2 his life’s work. Here is a video that Turf Republic produced on the machine following the Tennessee Turfgrass Field Day last month:

The Air2G2 has 2 options on probe depth: 5” and 9” probes. There are 3 probes that can cover an area up to 5’ wide. The machine inserts the probes into the soil until they meet their first level of resistance.  At that resistance, usually around 4”, the first blast of air is released. The probes, having softened the ground with the initial blast, then push down to the full depth where a 2nd blast of high pressure air is made.

The Air2G2 machine is built with easy of operation in mind. Pressure is simply set for the pneumatic cylinders to push the probes into the soil. Pressure can be set equally as simple for the amount of air pressure to be pushed into the soil. An air tank on the base of the machine stores air to reduce the workload on the air compressor and the quiet 19-hp Koehler engine. The machine is very simple and comfortable to operate.

Using a pentrometer, we were able to register a percentage of additional de-compaction on the field from the machine. There is scientific quantitative data becoming available from University of Tennessee on the compaction and surface hardness reduction. The results were somewhat obviously though from being able to witness the visible rising of the entire sand profile when the air was released 9” down. Amazing!

The Air2G2 is a well-built machine using a fascinating concept of using high pressure air to de-compact or “air-ate” soil. This machine is sometimes being compared to the old Toro Hydroject, but overall it is nothing like that. The Hydroject was forcing high-pressure water into the profile, but only at the top. The Air2G2 de-compacts from the bottom up. Air2G2 is simple to operate and to maintain, with probes lasting for up to 15 acres. Yes, using the machine is a slow process, taking 6-8 hours to do a field. But really any good aeration takes time. The benefit far outweighs the time. If you get a chance to see a machine, take that opportunity!

IMG_1319 IMG_1320 IMG_1322

OSTMA Newsletter Case Study Feedback: Pro-Active Solutions for Fall Field Overseeding

The fall Ohio STMA newsletter is out!  As part of the article “Pro-Active Solutions for Fall Field Overseeding”, the following 2 case studies were posed.  The case studies allow readers an opportunity to interact and apply their own pro-active solutions to real world challenges.  Author Jerad Minnick will follow up on Monday Sept. 15th at 6pm EST with his own feedback on possible solutions.  

Share along with your own pro-active solutions here on GrowingGreenGrass or @OSTMA on twitter or fb… Use hashtag #fallseeding  

Case Study #1: In-season, high traffic football and soccer field on native soil with Kentucky bluegrass and fescue

This field manager has the ultimate challenge in order to get new seed established during the busy season of the year. This field will experience high traffic through the fall even through the time it goes dormant. If you were that manager, what would you do? Take 5 minutes to create a solution and share it with your colleagues on twitter to @OSTMA and @JeradRMinnick, hash tag #fallseeding. I will share some solutions via GrowingGreenGrass.Net to @OSTMA and @JeradRMinnick on Monday September 15th.

Case Study #2: End-of-season, high traffic in early spring through late summer baseball field on a sand soil with Kentucky bluegrass and ryegrass

This field manager may feel relief for the end of the season, but fall overseeding will be the catalyst for the field’s survival through a busy spring and summer. This field will be exposed to high traffic even before the grass breaks dormancy in the spring. If you were that manager, what would you do? Take 5 minutes to create a solution and share it with your colleagues on twitter to @OSTMA and @JeradRMinnick, hashtag #fallseeding. I will share some solutions via GrowingGreenGrass.Net to @OSTMA and @JeradRMinnick on Monday September 15th.

OSTMA Fall Newsletter Article

Pro-Active Solutions for Fall Field Overseeding
Creative techniques for seeding in the fall to insure a durable field all year round.

The fall season is the most ideal time for cool season field cultivation and overseeding. Consistent rainfall and cool night temperatures help existing cool season grasses recover quickly, while higher soil temperatures created from the summer heat make an ideal time to get quick germination and growth on seed.

However, fall is also one of the most high traffic times of the year on many cool season fields. To avoid having to close fields completely, grass field managers are challenged to be creative and pro-active on fall field maintenance practices to meet the demands. Let’s re-examine some cultivation and overseeding approaches.

Fall is a wonderful time for cool season turfgrass to recover from summer stress and grow roots for fall and winter play. But black layer from consistent watering, thatch from clipping and stressed or dying turfgrass, and compacted soils from limited cultivation during summer stress limit what existing grass and new seed can do. Before overseeding and fertilization are considered in a fall maintenance program, cultivation should be Step #1.

De-compaction aeration: Soften the soil deep

Examples of Solutions:

  • Deep tine aerator
  • Soil wave aerator (ex. Imants Shockwave, Redexium VertiQuake)
  • Soil air refresher (ex. Koro Recycling Dresser)

De-compaction aeration is softening the soil down below a 6” depth. De-compaction allows for deeper rooting of existing turfgrass, allows better irrigation and rainfall infiltration, and softens the entire field surface for safety and playability.

Timing: De-compaction aeration should take place a minimum of 3x during the fall season (or as much as budget allows). A deep tine or soil wave machine can be run the same day as a field event, so even if the field is under high traffic de-compaction aeration can take place. Soil air refreshing deep for de-compaction requires a 7- 10 day break and also can take place at the end of the fall season.

  Surface aeration: Open up the surface

Examples of Solutions

  • Rapid tine aeration (Coring tines/ solid tines/ needle tines/ knife tines)
  • Linear slicing (blades or solid slicing rollers)
  • Soil refreshing aeration (KORO Recycling dresser)

Surface aeration has multiple positives in the fall. Surface aeration is any type of aeration that vents the surface (top 3-4”) for air, water infiltration, and to soften the field for player safety. Using hollow tines to core aerate removes organic matter build up and/or sod layer and creates channels for air and topdressing (if it fits into the budget). Core aeration is labor intensive with the clean up of plugs, but the benefit outweighs challenge. Core aeration and solid tine aeration equally create holes for seed to fall into for seed to soil contact when overseeding. Slicing can open more surface area than most tine aeration methods to open the surface of the field as well and promote healthy plant growth

Timing: The type of surface aeration used is to be dictated by the schedule of use. Core aeration could require a break of up to 7-10 days. On native soil, solid tine aeration and/or slicing can take place with play on the field immediately after. Sand could need a 3-5 day break in order for the surface to become stable again before play. Soil air refreshing down to a 4” depth requires a 5-7 break to grow in the slices.


Examples of Solutions:

  • Wide range of sizes and types of verticutting machines available

Verticutting is extremely effective in the fall, especially in conjunction with overseeding. Verticutting removes some thatch build up, opens up the black layer that can build during summer with heavy watering, and will promoted Kentucky bluegrass density and durability. Like core aeration, the clean up from verticutting can labor intensive. But just as core aeration, the benefit outweighs the challenge.

Timing: Verticutting can take place w/ a 3-5 day break and in no effects stability or playability of a field. For practice, a field could be verticut the same day as play.

Universe fraze mowing

Examples of Solutions:

  • Universe Fraze Mowing (KORO Field Topmaker w/ Universe® rotor

The new cultivation technique of Universe fraze mowing has now proven to be a valuable practice. This is especially in the fall on Kentucky bluegrass in combination with overseeding. Similar to verticutting, Universe fraze mowing promotes Kentucky bluegrass density and durability while removing thatch and organic buildups. But instead of removing 11-15% of material like verticutting, Universe fraze mowing removes up to 100% of the material to the desired depth. That depth is set above the growing point of the Kentucky bluegrass to allow re-generation. Universe fraze mowing also removes poa annua plants that are short rooted from summer stress, the poa annua seed bank on top of the field, and other weed seed that has accumulated. Universe fraze mowing also helps smooth the field surface.

Timing: The depth or aggressiveness of Universe fraze mowing varies depending on the window of time the field as off. A light Universe fraze mow cleans the very top of a field and can take place in a window of 10-14 days. Going more aggressive to remove more organic and poa annua can require up to 21-35 days, depending on the age of the field and the amount of prior maintenance.


Once fall cultivation is addressed/ planned, overseeding should be addressed. Overseeding in conjunction with the cultivation can added effectiveness to both practices. When preparing to overseed, consider a few different things:

Seed selection

New genetics in fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and ryegrass are changing what is possible for fields and overseeding. Fast germination, increased aggressiveness for spreading and filling in, and stronger roots for establishment and quicker playability all exist. Also lowering demands for dark green color is being replaced with an appreciation for aggressiveness and durability unlike ever before. All lead to a new world for seeding. For an example, consult SportsTurf.com online and read the July article by Ms. Julie Adamski about a Kentucky bluegrass field that went from seed to play in 35 days. From Seeding to Play in 35 Days. That feat has provided an example and confidence for grass field managers exploring using new seed varieties.

Additionally, the genetic improvements now make fescue and ryegrass capable of existing on high traffic fields together, in with Kentucky bluegrass, or even on their own. No longer do grass field managers have to hold their breath during disease stress times with these varieties. Do your homework on what is available from the seed companies you have existing relationships with, but consider possibly branching outside those relationships as well to find what is working for others. Keep in mind with seed; the old proverb “you get what you pay for” is 100% true.

Seed to Soil Contact

When seeding, no matter the variety you select, seed to soil contact is important. Soil contact ensures the seed is not sitting in the thatch layer or laying on top of the ground where is could dry out quickly or struggle to push roots down into the soil. There are a few different options for overseeding to will help promote seed to soil contact.

  1. Seeding in conjunction with cultivation: Seeding following core aeration, solid tine aeration, verticutting, or Universe fraze mowing can promote seed to soil contact. Aeration holes give the seed cavities to fall down into the soil. This is effective especially for fields still in play during seeding as the crown of the plant grows below the surface where it is protected from cleats. Do not aerate too deep though if doing so to promote seed. Verticutting cleans some thatch out and creates linear channels for seed. Universe fraze mowing cleans the thatch completely from the top, but it still needs an additional cultivation to work the seed into the soil. Keep in mind that when seeding in conjunction with cultivation, the more surface area that is opened up, the better success seeding will have.
  2. Using a penetrating seeder: Several different seed application machines are available on the market. With a seeder, just as when cultivating for seed, the more surface area that is penetrated the better off the seed application will be.
  3. Seeding before heavy traffic: Our forefathers in grass field management have handed down this method through years of use. Applying seed to the high traffic areas of a field 1-2 days before a heavy use will allow play to create the seed to soil contact. An example would be seeding the center of a football field prior to play. Keep in mind that if using any clean up techniques following the heavy traffic, it could also pick up the seed. Follow the high traffic event with a deep irrigation cycle to settle in the seed to ensure success with this technique.
  4. Topdressing to cover seed: Topdressing with sand, compost, or even lightly with the field’s native soil will create seed to soil contact. Keep in mind that too much topdressing burying the seed can be a bad thing .

Be Creative!

These are just a few ideas to help solve the complex challenge of fall cultivation and overseeding. Yes, there are many, many other ideas for meeting the challenge. Make sure to ask questions of your fellow grass field managers to create more possibilities to meet the challenge. Follow colleagues, STMA Chapters, and sports field managers around the world on social media to witness the creativity that others are using. Share your experiences equally for others to learn from your lessons to help build creativity and idea generation.

Consider the ideas above and how they can be implemented in these two challenging situations:

Case Study #1: In-season, high traffic football and soccer field on native soil with Kentucky bluegrass and fescue

This field manager has the ultimate challenge in order to get new seed established during the busy season of the year. This field will experience high traffic through the fall even through the time it goes dormant. If you were that manager, what would you do? Take 5 minutes to create a solution and share it with your colleagues on twitter to @OSTMA and @JeradRMinnick, hash tag #fallseeding. I will share some solutions via GrowingGreenGrass.Net to @OSTMA and @JeradRMinnick on Monday September 15th.

Case Study #2: End-of-season, high traffic in early spring through late summer baseball field on a sand soil with Kentucky bluegrass and ryegrass

This field manager may feel relief for the end of the season, but fall overseeding will be the catalyst for the field’s survival through a busy spring and summer. This field will be exposed to high traffic even before the grass breaks dormancy in the spring. If you were that manager, what would you do? Take 5 minutes to create a solution and share it with your colleagues on twitter to @OSTMA and @JeradRMinnick, hashtag #fallseeding. I will share some solutions via GrowingGreenGrass.Net to @OSTMA and @JeradRMinnick on Monday September 15th.

Jerad Minnick is an international natural grass advisor and educator. Follow him on Twitter at @JeradRMinnick and find more ideas at GrowingGreenGrass.Net. Come interact in person with Jerad when he is a speaker at the Ohio Turfgrass Conference in December.

#TBT….. Picture Summary- SoccerPlex Stadium Renovation


This gallery contains 16 photos.

Originally posted on Growing Green Grass #GrassCanTakeMore®:
Poa Infestation GreenOne Industries Koro Field TopMaker GreenOne Industries removes SoccerPlex Stadium Field SoccerPlex Stadium after removal Paint lines showing 4″ down into sand profile SpeedDresser 18 adding 1/2″ of new sand at 4.5 mph SpeedDressing…

Greetings from Japan!

Happy Thursday morning from Tokyo, Japan.  Its only Wednesday night in the USA… hurry and catch up with us across the ocean!  Looking forward to the 1st ever Japanese Sports Field Manager workshop this afternoon.  No doubt some fantastic ideas will be exchanged!  

This trip to Japan has been extremely exciting and thought provoking already.  The highlights from Tuesday’s visit include: 

Tuesday:  A trip via bullet train south to Kobe, Japan.  Train travel at 200mph is certainly efficient.  The need for such travel in the USA is unfortunately a political discussion we will avoid…  But wow!  

In Kobe, we visited Noevir Stadium.  Noevir is home of Vissel Kobe of the J-League (Japanese top soccer league),  INAC Kobe Leonessa of the Japanese women’s soccer league, and the Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers of the Japanese Rugby Union top league.  Head Grounds Manager Kanji Yamanaka was very gracious with his time to show me around and share about his challenges and solutions.  Thank you to him for being so open and kind!  Noevir is extremely unique by American standards, as it is a 30,000 seat stadium with a retractable roof.  It was originally built for the World Cup in 2002.  





Back aboard the bullet train, our next stop was Toyota Stadium in Toyota City, Japan.  It doesn’t take much to figure out that the Toyota Motor Company world headquarters is also in Toyota City.  Head Grounds Manager Mr. Osamu Tainaka ironically drives a shiny Dodge Challenger! haha.  Thank you to him for staying late to see us and for being so open as well.  Toyota Stadium is another stadium with a retractable roof, reaching a capacity of about 45,000 people.  Toyota Stadium is home to a J-League team as well, along with rugby, concerts, the FIFA Club World Cup (Toyota Cup), and multiple community events.  What an amazing structure!  









Off to the Japanese Sports Field Managers workshop… but more updates to come on additional stadium visit!  Good night USA! 

Growing the Revolution!

IMG_3445From Growing Green Grass Founder Jerad Minnick:

2014 is off to an amazing start!  The STMA Conference in San Antonio was one of the most exhilarating events I have ever had the privilege to attend.  New ideas are everywhere.  People are excited about new possibilities.

The Grass Field Revolution is Alive!

With the Revolution growing, I am making a professional change to dedicate more to the possibilities of natural grass fields.  Starting March 10, I am moving into the role of President at Growing Innovations full-time.  Growing Innovations (www.GrowingInnovations.Net) is an education and support firm founded for one mission:  Establishing that Grass Fields CAN Take More!

Additionally, I am heading the Grass Stain Preservation Initiative to soon be introduced.  This initiative is designed to educate about the possibilities of grass fields at the grass-roots level: coaches, players, parents, and administrators.  This blog, Growing Green Grass, will also be expanding to provoke more thought. Growing Green Grass will provide additional free information about the possibilities of natural grass fields to those in need, in particular at the grass-roots level.

Leading the Grounds Management team at Maryland SoccerPlex has been an amazing experience.  Over and over again, our SoccerPlex team has achieved the “impossible”.  I am proud of how the SoccerPlex organization has been able to re-defined what is possible for high traffic natural grass fields.  There is no doubt the team and the facility will continue to improve and grow, and I am excited to be able to continue working with them in an agronomic support capacity.

Next week I am off to Japan to collect and share ideas, followed with a trip to Germany and France the following week as well.  Stay tuned for updates sharing the successes with high traffic fields in those countries and join the discussion on creating new possibilities for natural grass fields.

Happy Friday!

STMA Conference 2014: Share #ThinkDifferent

Excitement abounds in the sports field management industry as preparations take place to ascend on San Antonio, TX next week for the National STMA Conference and Trade Show.  The annual networking and education event agenda is jammed packed with speakers and exhibitors who believe grass fields CAN take more!  It is jam packed with people who “Think.Different”!

STMA Digital Brochure

There is no doubt new possibilities for natural grass athletic fields will be created through interaction and discussion next week.  Growing Green Grass will be in San Antonio with updates and sharing great ideas from the STMA event. Will you be there too?

For those of  you who are in attendance in San Antonio for the STMA event, please join Growing Green Grass in sharing the possibilities for natural grass fields!  When in seminars, having conversations with your colleagues at networking events, or listening to vendors on the trade show floor…  share with everyone great ideas that encourage to “Think.Different”!!

Tweet those ideas to Growing Green Grass @GrassRevolution with the hashtag #ThinkDifferent.  Make sure to include the speaker’s twitter address to make sure to give credit where credit is due!  Speakers… share your twitter handle to start your presentation to encourage the sharing of #Think.Different!

Additionally on the social media/ idea sharing front, Harrell’s is hosting the 1st ever STMA Trade Show Tweet Up!  See more on Mr. Waldo Terrell’s (@waldo_terrell) “Front Porch Blog” to learn what a “Tweet Up” even is!!  Harrells to Host Tweet Up  .  Growing Green Grass will be there.  Hope to see you there too!

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Fall Summary: Bermudagrass Performance Test

Summary of Fall Results of Maryland SoccerPlex Bermudagrass Performance Test

SoccerPlex Grounds & Environment

Welcome to 2014! SoccerPlex Grounds & Envrionmental Management is updating you on the fall results of the Bermuda Performance Test taking place on Fields 14 & 17.  Announcement: Bermudagrass Performance Test gives a few more details.

SoccerPlex Fields 14 & 17 were re-constructed from their native soil/ heavy clay base into sand soil rootzones in August, 2013.  The sand rootzone allows the fields to never close during rain and to sustain more use from matches, trainings, events, etc.  Late summer heat during the field installation and heavy traffic being put on the fields only 6 days after installation made bermudagrass the grass of choice for the fields.

The challenging question to answer was which variety of bermudagrass fit the challenge of high traffic fields to be maintained at a professional quality?  Four varieties of bermudagrass are viable for heavy traffic and cold winters in the Washington, DC region; Patriot…

View original post 1,414 more words

California Renovation Grow-In Week 4

The Chivas USA training field at the world famous Stub Hub Center (formerly Home Depot Center) is progressing nicely.  The field was renovated and re-seeded 1 month ago on Nov. 5.  Read more:   KORO Renovation Methods Reach California

Nov. 2:  Renovation Start Day

Nov. 2: Renovation Start Day


Progression to Oct. 25 during Week 3 of the grow in:

Nov. 25:  Week 3

Nov. 25: Week 3

Nov. 25:  Week 3

Nov. 25: Week 3

After Week 3, the edges still show some thin areas along with a few other imperfections.  But over-all grow-in is right on schedule to be able to have the field back in play 5 weeks after the renovation

Dec. 2:  Week 4

Dec. 2: Week 4

Dec. 2:  Week 4

Dec. 2: Week 4

Week 4 is showing progressive growth and fill-in as the new plants start to mature.  With the bermudagrass base for stability beneath, the field could be played on now.  And with 1 more week of good weather and growth, the field will be established enough to sustain regular play.


A Personal Reflection from Growing Green Grass founder Jerad Minnick:


I want to share with you all about a fantastic experience I had the privilege to be a part of Wednesday of last week.  It was one of the most empowering days of my grass field management career.  Mr. Simon Gumbrill of Campey Turf Care, Mr. Paul Burgess of Real Madrid, and myself spent the day in the Seattle, Washington region with Mr. Kevin White of Seattle University as our tour guide. We had the opportunity to visit Mr. Scott MacVicar at University of Washington, Mr. Sean Vanos and Mr. John Wright with the Seattle Seahawks, Mr. Tim Wilson and Mr. Leo Liebert of the Seattle Mariners, and then ended the day at Seattle University with Mr. White and the tremendous men’s soccer coach Mr. Peter Fewing.   Mr. Casey Montgomery, new Head Grounds Manager at the University of Portland also joined us.

WOW.  What An Amazing Day.

Never in a single day have I experienced so many open-minded, positive, and PASSIONATE grounds managers.  And of all the locations in the USA!!  The general consensus is that natural grass fields have the least chance of survival in the Pacific Northwest.  The cool damp weather certainly was a vast change from the California sunshine we had previously experienced from the renovation and demo days we had just left in LA.  But from the managers to their staffs… smiles, happiness, positive statements… EXCITEMENT!  Not to mention the magnificent grass fields we got to see!! It really made all of us step back and say WOW.  What a special, special experience.  THANK YOU to each of those people for that experience.  The empowerment was intoxicating!  Their work is fantastic!

That experience got me thinking. In 2012, this blog was founded to share and create new ideas for grass field maintenance as part of tour of several European grass sports field facilities.  Growing since its inception, we have spent time-sharing, exchanging,  creating, and globalizing the grass field management industry… all with one theme:  Grass Fields Can Take More.  One of the highlights of sharing ideas about the positive possibilities of natural grass fields came last month when I had the privilege to present the keynote address for the European Stadium and Safety Management Association Head Grounds Managers seminar.  Held in Porto, Portugal, the event solidified something for me:  We Are All In This Together!!  There were 10 languages being spoken by Grounds Managers from as far west as Russia and as far south and east as Brazil. In every language we are were saying the same things and facing the same challenge with our natural grass fields:  Increased traffic demands with the expectation of increased quality in deteriorating conditions (less time between events, bigger stadium roofs, shrinking construction budgets that impact field construction, etc).

But there was so much positive.   Just like the amazing positive we experienced in Seattle last week.  Even as we are all faced with similar challenges around the world, Grounds Managers are using new creative and forward thinking ideas to meet the demands of their situation.  Many Grounds Managers (like the ones in Seattle), at home and abroad, are making things happen that before have been see as IMPOSSIBLE.

Impossible.  Where did that word come from?   Why is something impossible?

Many said it was IMPOSSIBLE to sail around the world because the world was flat… Christopher Columbus had no trouble sailing around the world!

Many told Henry Ford that it was IMPOSSIBLE for the car to replace the horse.  Hhhmm…. I didn’t see anyone riding their horse to work today.  Did you?

Many laughed at Steve Jobs and told him it was IMPOSSIBLE for the world to accept or want personal computers…  Reading this blog would be tough then eh?

Many told us on staff at Maryland SoccerPlex last year that it was IMPOSSIBLE to seed a field from Kentucky bluegrass and play on it in 35 days…  How does 35 days look to you?

SoccerPlex Stadium, Oct 6, 2012- 35 Days After Seeding

SoccerPlex Stadium, Oct 6, 2012- 35 Days After Seeding

I used a story in my keynote speech for the ESSMA conference (ESSMA Keynote Transcript) from well-known author and motivational speaker Mr. Harvey Mackay that illustrates a special point with IMPOSSIBLE:

“A  college student who shows up late for his math final exam… The student rushes in, grabs his test, then sits down and diligently goes to work.  Only being a few minutes late, the student is alarmed as other students were wrapping up and turning in the test with several minutes left in the class period.  Yet he was having a bit of a struggle with the last 2 problems on the test.  The student didn’t give in though, he worked and worked until the time ran out though he was the only person left in the class.  The next day, the professor phoned the student and proclaimed “Congratulations!! You are a genius!!! You answered the last 2 questions!!”.  Confused, the student asked the professor what he meant.  The professor explained that the last 2 questions on the test were “brain teasers” for extra credit… that they might not have had an answer.  Yet the student had answered both when no one else in the class even made an attempt at answering them.”

Now think about that story for us currently in the grass field industry.  From our 1st day as students in turfgrass school or our 1st day on the job working on grass fields, we immediately are hearing about the limitations of grass fields.  Then we advance to managers and continue that same discussions about limitations to our new generation of grass field managers.  Many of our turfgrass teachers are teaching the same curriculum they were teaching 10 years ago.  Researchers for natural grass are also researching synthetic turf.  The professional organization for grass AND synthetic has an index on playing field quality that is designed to measure a field as “poor” if it has had heavy play on it… even if it is in perfect condition.  All of these things revolve around the thinking that it is IMPOSSIBLE for natural grass fields to take more traffic.

All of these factors are NEGATIVE.  Couldn’t all of these factors be limiting the creativity and open-mindedness of our own generation of grass field managers?    Do we want to be the other students in that math class that turn in our test without even attempting to answer the “impossible” questions?

But with positive attitudes, improving technologies, a better understanding of plant responses, plant genetic advancements, evolving cultivation practices and techniques…   Impossible is changing.

“Impossible is not something that can not be done.  Impossible is just something that has not been done YET!”

As we go into the winter education season, I invite you to join us in carrying on the example of our friends in the Pacific Northwest to THINK DIFFERENT.  Instead of focusing on limitations and boundaries, instead think about trying and testing new things. Instead of complaining about more events and more work, instead highlight the growing number of high quality, high use grass fields.  Cut back on CAN’T, Increase the CAN.

Moving into the off-season, Growing Green Grass is going to dedicate more time to the possibilities and bright future of grass fields to help promote #Think.Different as well.  Please share with us with your success stories!  Email me directly at: Jerad.Minnick@gmail.com

I leave you with a real life example of reality:  The field at Wembley  Stadium in London finished a month of concerts on July 5.  Following the concert season, the field was fraise mowed off and re-grown from seed.  It re-opened August 11.  Between August 11 and Oct. 27th, the field hosted 6 major soccer matches, 2 international rugby matches, 2 NFL football games, and Roger Waters “The Wall” Concert.

11 weeks =  10 major sporting events (4 being rugby and NFL) AND a concert (the same concert that spent the summer of 2012 bringing nightmares to USA Grounds Managers because of the damage it inflicts)

Result= The field on Oct. 27th for the 49ers v the Jaguars was in nearly perfect condition.

Oh…  1 small detail:  NO SOD WORK TOOK PLACE!!!!!

What Mr. Anthony Stones and his staff did through that stretch is IMPOSSIBLE.

Well it WAS impossible.  It is not anymore, because they did it.  Kudos to them!  And Kudos to our friends in the Pacific Northwest as well.

Welcome to the new world of high traffic sports field management. I am honored to be part of it with you.  Here we go together into the bright future.


Mr. Anthony Stones of Wembley Stadium, and Mr. Paul Ashcroft of Emirates Stadium (At Wembley)

Mr. Anthony Stones of Wembley Stadium, and Mr. Paul Ashcroft of Emirates Stadium (At Wembley)