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Managing Sports Fields

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  1. Managing Sports Fields By James McAfee, Ph.D. Extension Turfgrass Specialist Texas AgriLife Extension Service Dallas, Texas J-mcafee@tamu.edu

  2. Sports Field Management ▪ Turfgrass selection ▪ Cultural practices • fertilization • mowing • irrigation •aerification & topdressign ▪ Field use management

  3. Turfgrass Selection ▪ Bermudagrass ▪Zoysiagrass ▪ Seashore paspalum

  4. Bermudagrasses ▪ Tifway 419 ▪ TifSport ▪ GN-1 ▪ Princess-77 ▪ Riveria ▪ Sultan ▪ Celebration ▪ Arizona common

  5. Sports Field Fertilization

  6. Developing a Fertility Program Factors to consider: ------------------------- ▪ Type of turfgrass ▪ Intensity of use ▪ Soil test report ▪ Quality of field desired ▪ Available budget

  7. Soil Testing Program

  8. Fertilizer Timing ▪ Bermudagrass turf • late March-early April • late May –early June • early August • mid-September • mid to late October

  9. Nitrogen Rates Turfgrass N/M/Yr. ____________________________________ Common bermudagrass 6 lbs. Hybrid bermudagrass 6 to 8 lbs. Zoysiagrass 2 to3 lbs. Seashore paspalum 2 to 3 lbs.

  10. Nitrogen Sources ▪ soluble ▪ slow release ▪ organic

  11. Organic Nitrogen ▪ sewage sludge (biosolids) ▪ animal by-products ▪ plant by-products

  12. Organic Fertilizers(concerns) ▪ Composted sewage sludges • not always fully composted • nutrient content not consistent • some contain high rates of P • can contain debris (rocks) ▪ Constructed organic fertilizers • more uniform in analysis • higher costs

  13. Fertilizer Ratios(recommendations changing) ▪ 4-1-2 or 3-1-2 ▪ 2-0-1 ▪ 1-0-0 ▪ 1-1-1

  14. Mowing Sports Fields

  15. Benefits of Mowing ▪ Increased tillering of plants ▪ Removal of culums from plant

  16. Mowing Frequency Influences ▪ photosynthesis ▪ turfgrass density ▪ root growth ▪ carbohydrate reserves

  17. 1/3 Rule for Mowing

  18. Mowing Frequency Influenced by: • height of cut • growth rate • time of year • climatic conditions

  19. Mowing Frequency Height of Cut Mowing Frequency (inches) (days) ___________________________________________ 1.5 4 – 5 1.0 3 – 4 0.75 2 – 3 0.5 1 – 2

  20. Mowers ▪ reel mower ▪ rotary mower ▪ fine blade flail mower

  21. Triplex Reel Mowers

  22. Sports Field Irrigation

  23. Sports Field Irrigation Most athletic fields are overwatered. Regulating soil moisture is the most difficult cultural practice on sports fields.

  24. Sports Field Aerification

  25. Soil Compaction ▪ Decreased root growth ▪ Decreased oxygen levels ▪ Increased level of toxic gases ▪ Reduced water movement rates ▪ Less mobility and uptake of nutrients ▪ Increased root rot and other diseases

  26. Aerification - Equipment ▪ hollow/solid tine ▪ slicers ▪ drill and fill

  27. Hollow Tine

  28. Solid Tine

  29. Deep Tine Aerifier

  30. Slicers

  31. Aerification – How Often DEPENDS !!!!!! ▪ degree of compaction ▪ number of events ▪ type of players ▪ budget

  32. Number of Events

  33. Construction Problems

  34. Heavily Compacted Soil

  35. Aerification-Timing ▪ warm season grasses • spring through fall • spring and early summer best ▪ cool season grasses • fall to early winter • early spring

  36. Clegg Impact Meter

  37. Developing a Weed Control Program

  38. Weed Control Strategy for Sports Fields ▪ Using best management practices for : • mowing • irrigation • fertilization • aerification & topdressing ▪ Use management ▪ Overseeded vs. Non-overseeded fields

  39. Herbicide Selection For Sports Fields • Turfgrass species ▪ Type of weed • grasses • broadleaf • sedges ▪ life cycle of weeds • annuals (summer vs. winter) • perennials

  40. Preemergent Weed Control Program for Sports Fields ▪ summer vs. fall ▪ grassy vs. broadleaf weeds ▪ overseeded vs. non-overseeded

  41. Weed Classification

  42. Herbicides for Broadleaf Weeds ▪ Hormone herbicides (combinations) • Trimec • TriPower • Speedzone, Powerzone • Escalade ▪ Sulfonylurea herbicides • monument • manor/blade • certainty ▪ Other • confront • turflon • spotlight

  43. Herbicides for Grassy Weeds ▪ MSMS/DSMA • Bueno 6 • ProKoZ Turf Max • MSMA 6 Plus ▪ Sencor (metribuzin) ▪ Drive (quinclorac) ▪ Acclaim Extra (fenoxoprop)* * perennial ryegrass, zoysiagrass

  44. Herbicides for Sedges ▪ Image (imazaquin) ▪ Sedgehammer (halosulfuron) ▪ Certainty (sulfosulfuron) ▪ Monument (trifloxysulfuron-sodium) ▪ Basagran (bentazon)