June 2014

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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Page 20 of 51 June 2014 | SportsTurf 21 removing the 4-inch heavy organic layer, it would increase drainage capacity and air movement and reduce the compac- tion potential. The original pitch also had stability fibers mixed into the soil profile, but with the existing 4-inch layer, those fibers were not being used. By removing the layer, the grass roots would be able to wrap around those fibers to give the pitch a more durable playing surface, allowing it to handle more traffic. Removing the inheritedPoa infestation would make the field more aesthetically pleasing and be able to sustain more traffic. It would also reduce the stress tolerance of the pitch and the water use. Not only would the pitch use fewer pesticides, but would also be less susceptible to winter injury. The third reason for the renovation was to return the field to its original grade, which is essential for a successful pitch. Due to the inconsistent grade, there were major drainage issues, such as puddling and unhealthy turf. Getting back to the original grade would allow for an ideal drainage pattern, allowing the water to move smoothly across the surface grade and to filter into the soil. After the issues of the existing pitch were determined, the problem solving stage came next. Would there be a full renovation to cut out the existing field and replace it, or would there be gradual amendments used, such as core aerification, topdressing and overseeding? Because the organic layer was too large and the Poa infestation was too severe to reduce without the use of chemical control, the gradual amendment option was thrown out. When deciding to go with a full renovation there were two options, sod or seed. Below is a chart of the factors that went into determining whether we should seed or sod the pitch: European influence also had an impact on the decision making process. Many premier pitches in Europe renovate annually and are considered to be some of the best in the world. They are all almost exclusively done with seed. When our crew talked to a European field expert, he asked us, "Why would we sod when we had this open win- dow of time to seed?" Seeding is the "norm" across the pond, and they simply could not understand why we debated between the two. Not only were we looking at all options, but we also wanted to challenge ourselves in the whole process. The general consensus was that we had to sod. We heard doubt from all angles when we proposed growing a stable Kentucky bluegrass stand and prepare it for use in just 35 days. Our different ways of thinking pushed us past the "norm," and our crew began to think that this would be a great opportunity to push the envelope and test the newest grass genetic technologies out there. The final decision was to go ahead and seed the field because using the European-style renovation that many top-level clubs have used interested us. There was also an up-front savings that was too large to ignore, and growing from seed would eliminate any potential sod layer. Choosing this option defied the perception that seeding could not be done. A 35-day grow-in was achievable with the new grass genetics, and it would also challenge us profes- sionally. When deciding to seed, the renovation process was then planned out completely. The existing field was cut out on the first pass at a 2-inch depth. This removed the top 2 inches of the sod layer. After the first initial cut out was done, the second pass was started, removing the remain- ing organic layer and exposing the original sand/stability fiber mix. Using a Speedresser, the pitch was topdressed with 3/4-inch with USGA spec 100% sand. The pitch was then laser graded, which removed all accumulated material and exposed the original grade. Once the laser grading was complete, a recycling dresser was used to incorporate the new 100% sand with the existing sand, which contained the fiber mix. This process refreshed the existing sand with the new material and combined the new sand with the fibers. A mesh drag was then used to break up the clumps and bunches of soil and fibers. Following that, a three-ton double-drum roller was used on the pitch. By doing this, we created a stable base for the seed- ing and topdressing equipment. Growth Chart Revovation Process Chart

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