May 2016

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 12 of 51 May 2016 | SportsTurf 13 and comes up great in the low use areas of the fields; but in areas of high use that need the cover, most are often difficult to get established. By the time the high traffic areas do get established, it's time to start thinking about transitioning them out. This is the part that makes a lot of managers anxious each spring. Each spring we are hoping that the winter was not too harsh and that our bermuda will come back. Some years we are fortunate enough to have great results managing this way and other years we deal with the challenges of establishing bermuda back to 100%. Many managers will need to seed or sprig bermuda to get the field re-established. I have read where bermuda grass needs 100 days of competition-free growth to provide maximum performance during the summer months. In some years, this can be a challenge and once the field is re-established it is just about time to over- seed again and start the process all over. So we can ask, "Does this still make sense for us in the transition zone?" A BETTER WAY I believe there is a better way for some of us to manage our high-use facilities. If any of you have taken the time to observe newer cool season grasses over the past 8 years, you have seen some impressive varieties appear in NTEP (National Turfgrass Evaluation Program) and real turf situations. While warm-season breeders have been producing bermuda to travel North, cool season breeders have been producing ryegrass and bluegrass varieties to travel South and there we are, in the middle. I believe they can co-exist, and this may be a viable option for some turf managers in the transition zone. So why would you try this? 1) Extend the growing season for the FIELD. There is always a real fear of winterkill in the transition zone. 2) Provide dense and consistent green turf year round that is aesthetically pleasing. 3) Develop a stronger root system and healthier field. 4) Reduced weed invasion during winter dormancy. 5) Protect your asset while saving time and money. At our facility we need to be able to extend the season as long as we can. If you have ever looked at the growth charts for warm and cool season turfgrasses, you can see that the peak growing seasons for each come at different times in the year. If you overlay the two charts on top of each other you would see a steady growth pattern almost year round. We have managed our fields with this concept in mind and have kept both warm and cool season grasses actively growing together. We are more concerned about turfgrass cover on our fields than we are about any particular species of turfgrass. Green is green. Managing both this way has allowed us to provide a dense and consistent green field almost year round without the dips in quality that come with transitioning cool season out of bermuda. The fear of winterkill is in almost all of us who live and work in the transition zone. Working at a complex that plays almost year round, we cannot afford to close a field due to winterkill. By having both warm and cool season turfgrass co-existing on our fields, we have virtually eliminated field closures due to winterkill. Having a By the time the high traffic areas do get established, it's time to start thinking about transitioning them out. Two weeks after fraze mowing and seeding.

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