October 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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8 SportsTurf | October 2014 Field Science | By Tim VanLoo, CSFM I never thought I would be writing an article with Environmental Conservation in the title, but as I reflect on how sports field managers do their job that is exactly what we are trying to accomplish. We are all trying to create an environment in which both grass and athlete can have success. When it comes to athletes we all make safety our priority. While making the fields safe, we are usually doing something to the fields to help it thrive in the environment in which it lives. Conservation for a sports field manager could include irrigation practices, pesticides, fertilizers, and cultural practices. IrrIgatIon Irrigation across the country means many different things. Some are being faced with major water restric- tions while others of us irrigate freely without much thought given to water shortages. As I have managed multiple fields and systems in the past years, I like to think that I am getting better at conserving water. For me it started by understanding some of the technolo- gies that are available and not pulling a plug and feeling the soil every afternoon. Instead I started using two particular technologies in tandem; ET (evapotranspira- tion) rates and a TDR (time domain reflectometry) soil moisture meter. Using ET can be accomplished a couple different ways. We have our own weather station next to one of our practice football fields that reports the data to our central irrigation system. This allows us to have weather data very close to the facilities that we are managing. Obviously there is some cost associated, but the water we have saved has more than paid for the weather station. We irrigate with city water, so only watering with the amounts of water necessary can save money in hurry. The other way to use ET is by using your local weather reports. Many of the common weather web- sites report ET rates for the day. You should be able to see the ET for the day and set irrigation run times Environmental conservation: one sports turf manager's story Field capacity is the amount of water the soil holds in its micropore spaces within the soil.

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