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.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 9 of 48

FieldScience getic": implemented a minimum of 1-2 times per month. It should show "initiative and forcefulness": taking place in short windows of opportunity between events and in conditions that may not typi- cally be seen as ideal (such as heat, at night, etc). FC Dallas Stadium, a high-traffic soccer and football field (and 2011 STMA Professional Soccer Field of the Year) sets the standard for what it means to be "aggressive." Sports Field Manager Allen Reed aerates his field everyMonday. Elsewhere, the Maryland SoccerPlex has 1-2 machines continu- ally aerating their 19 natural grass fields. The non-stop process equates to a 10-day cycle between aerations on fields that host more than 350 events apiece each year from soccer, lacrosse, and sports camps. Sporting Kansas City's Swope Park Training Center fields, placed under high demands as well, never pass an aeration window of 14-21 days. This aggressive aeration keeps grass fields from experiencing tur- fgrass decline due to compaction. It also keeps water moving verti- cally through the field's soil profile, increasing irrigation efficiency and reducing rainouts. which is a factor in turfgrass destruction on high-traffic fields. Whereas faster growth could be seen as essential to a plant's re- covery time, the faster growth actually weakens the cell walls of the plant. Just as a child who is growing quickly can have weak bones, the plant's cell walls become weak and thin. They are easily invaded by pathogens and punctured by traffic. A stand of turf subjected to aggressive nitrogen fertilization will thin out quickly in the high traffic areas and will be prone to diseases such as brown patch and pythium. Another aspect to note is soils with levels of organic matter con- tain carbon, a source of nitrogen. As summer temperatures rise and soil microbial activity increases, organic matter breaks down and releases this carbon into the soil as a natural nitrogen source. Soil testing to track the estimated nitrogen release (ENR) from the soil is important to monitor the release. The release potential in combi- nation with a controlled fertilization program avoids a "flush" of aggressive turfgrass growth, resulting in the weak cell walls and thinning of the turfgrass stand. Additionally, "flush" growth causes the plant to burn more energy, using up the carbohydrate reserves stored in its roots. These reserves are essential for the plant to sur- vive the summer heat, when respiration uses up more energy than photosynthesis can produce. For each stress that turfgrass experiences, there are nutrients like manganese, calcium, and potassium that a plant finds essential to counteract that stress. From weather-related issues like heat, drought, excessive rainfall, lack of sunshine, and cold weather, to mowing, aeration, and heavy traffic, turfgrass is constantly under stress. When a Sports Turf Manager can provide those nutrients that are essential for maintaining plant health through each stress, the plant is able to continue to thrive and sustain the heavy traffic and the stress. >> Experimentation with new methods of aeration to prepare and recover fields for heavy traffic. NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT A high-traffic nutrient management program can focus on three areas: stresses • Expanding a bio-stimulant program in order to provide a plant with necessary, naturally-produced hormones, carbohydrates, and amino acids Maintain nitrogen in consistent, low levels. Nitrogen is one of • Maintaining nitrogen in consistent, low levels • Using the plant essential micro-nutrients for different plant EXPANDING A BIOSTIMULANT PROGRAM Because of environmental stresses such as drought, lack of sun, heat, etc and constant physical stresses like mowing, traffic com- paction, etc, the turfgrass plant is not able to perform its natural growth and development processes. Biostimulants are organic products that aid in plant metabolic processes such as respiration and photosynthesis. Essentially, biostimulants help the plant main- tain growth despite stress. Biostimulants include natural-occurring ingredients such as plant hormones, carbohydrates, amino acids, and anti-oxidants. Plant hormones serve as "signaling molecules" for plant growth three key macronutrients required for maintained plant growth and health. Because nitrogen is key in producing proteins, it should al- ways be present. However, excessive nitrogen leads to faster growth, 10 SportsTurf | October 2012 by carrying messages from one part of the plant to another. The critical growth hormones in turfgrass are auxins, cytokynins and gibberellins. Auxins signal root growth and development, and work with cytokynins to initiate shoot growth. Gibberellins help supply food for new cell growth, and promote cell division and elongation in the leaf blade of the grass plant. Sports Turf Managers can use biostimulants to supply the natu- rally occurring hormones in accordance with the particular stress. These hormones will then signal the needed action by the plant. When root development and density is needed, auxins and cy- tokynins can be applied to drive roots. If recovery is required, gib- berellins are applied to promote vertical growth. When used in

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of SportsTurf - October 2012