October 2012

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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FieldScience | ByJerad Minnick and Sarah Hardy >> Verticutting Kentucky bluegrass following a large tournament to push lateral growth for recovery. to managing high traffic, high quality athletic fields THREE KEYS A pinch of the weak economy with budget cuts and decreased revenue. But with change comes challenge, and this case is no exception. In response to in- creasing demand for outdoor sports and ac- tivities, cash-strapped facilities and departments must provide fields that are safe and prepared for play, while many times operating with limited resources. Sports Turf Managers are being called upon to find pro- active and creative new solutions to main- tain and even increase the quality of their athletic fields that are placed under higher traffic demands. Pro-active and creative solutions come from a re-examination of the basic princi- ples of turfgrass management. Grass plants are living and breathing or- ganisms, just like humans. As humans, we stay healthy through a balanced diet, hydra- tion, and exercise. These habits keep our en- ergy level high and help our immune system naturally fend off infections and diseases. With a proper nutrient intake, a strong root system, and the right amount of water, a 8 SportsTurf | October 2012 AERATION Concentrated foot traffic quickly com- pacts soil on fields, which eliminates air space and leads to suffocating roots. The gasping roots weaken and cause divots, which results in the stand of grass thinning S RECREATIONAL ADULT LEAGUES AND COMPETITIVE YOUTH CLUBS GROWin popularity, sports facilities and parks de- partments around the country are tackling the unique challenge of in- creased demand for matches and events. The rising level of competition provides a welcome change for facilities and departments feeling the grass plant will sustain life much like the healthy human. A healthy plant can fend off diseases with a natural immune response and also withstand heavy traffic damage from play. Keeping this human analogy in mind, >> Top: Aerating immediately following a large soccer tournament (note the multiple sets of lines on the field); field got shifted over 2 days in a 4-day soccer tournament. >> Bottom: Sand spread in a lacrosse goal before a large tournament. out. The weak roots also require addi- tional hydration, yet water from irriga- tion and rainfall is not able to penetrate the compacted soils easily. Aggressive aeration solves many of these problems by increasing turfgrass density and decreasing water usage. Be- cause water is better able to move through the soil profile, it also decreases the number of events cancelled due to rainfall. defines the word "ag- let's examine three keys to help find new so- lutions to maintaining high traffic athletic fields: aggressive aeration, nutrient manage- ment, and traffic management. Aggressive aeration combined with a balanced nutrient management program creates a healthy, strong and durable stand of grass. Traffic management then addresses the abused areas directly and decreases the amount of repair work required on fields. gressive" as "vigorously energetic, espe- cially in the use of initiative and forcefulness." This definition is an excel- lent outline to use in your decision mak- ing towards aeration. An aeration program should be "vigorously ener- Nutrient management A high-traffic nutrient management program can focus on three areas: Maintaining nitrogen in consis- tent, low levels Using the plant essential micro- nutrients for different plant stresses Expanding a bio-stimulant pro- gram in order to provide a plant with necessary, naturally-produced hor- mones, carbohydrates, and amino acids

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