August 2013

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 | By Jerad Minnick & Allen Reed Concept to active practice: fraze mowing bermudagrass makes debut Challenge: Thatch/organic build-up on bermudagrass athletic fields. Issues challenge is causing: Reduced durability, including plants growing vertical up through the thatch instead of laterally so it is not as strong and healthy as needed; and thatch breaking down into organic material is full of fines, creating surface compaction and slickness. • Isolated dry spots due to inconsistent rooting • Increased water requirement for ryegrass overseeding (seed is growing in thatch instead of in the soil) • Decreasing ryegrass overseeding durability (seed is growing in thatch instead of soil) Concept solution: Fraze mow to clean out thatch completely. Thatch management on bermudagrass is an on-going challenge 26 SportsTurf | August 2013 for sports field managers. Advancements in breeding to create more aggressive bermudagrass varieties create a solution for high traffic fields. But conversely, vigorous growth compounds the challenge of maintaining thatch and organic material build up. Verticutting, core aeration, and topdressing are the accepted maintenance practices with which sports field managers address thatch and organic material build up on all grass fields (cool or warm season). According to data from the International Sports Turf Research Center, a verticutting machine with 3mm blades on 1" centers removes 11.81% of the surface area. Core aeration with 5/8" hollow tines on 2"x 2" spacing removes 7.67%. Thus ultimately verticutting and core aeration can not keep with maintaining the current thatch levels, let alone reduce the amount of thatch and organic build up taking place on top of a bermudagrass athletic field. INTRODUCTION TO FRAZE MOWING In 1996, Ko Rodenburg decided that the practices of verticutting, core aeration, and topdressing for thatch and organic management on his Kentucky bluegrass and rye fields needed another option. As With overseeding and feeding the fields, the grass could regenerate quickly, nearly thatch and organic free.

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