The fall and winter months see the peak of football season, and with it, extra wear put on natural turf athletic fields. Neglecting careful maintenance of your natural turf during the on-season can result in fields that are unsafe for gameplay. Scientific Plant Service takes pride in managing natural turf athletic fields. There are two main types of athletic field turf: Cool Season and Warm Season. Cool Season turf, generally Turf Type Tall Fescue and Bluegrass, does not go dormant in the winter. While its growth habit is not as aggressive as Bermudagrass, over-seeding worn areas can keep the field thick and healthy. Warm season turf, generally Bermudagrass, is becoming more popular for athletic fields due to its aggressive growth during the time it gets the most use. Its main disadvantages are that it goes dormant in the winter and is susceptible to winterkill from an especially harsh winter. Following the maintenance practices below will help keep your Cool Season fields in good condition. Next week’s blog will detail recommended maintenance practices for Warm Season athletic fields.
Test the Soil
Testing the soil is the only way to determine nutrient and pH deficiencies. Without a balanced soil, optimal turf growth is impossible.
Continue to Mow
Mowing into the fall season stimulates plant growth, reminds roots to grow, and will encourage recovery from the abuse fields can take during football season.
Overseed the Natural Turf Athletic Field
Spread seed after games and practices to help build the seed bank. Spreading after games in the heavy wear areas helps new plants continue to grow and fill in the void areas left by frequent use. Make sure to choose the right type and quality seed. Inexpensive seed is often contaminated with weed seeds.
Control Traffic and Wear
Football teams, school bands, and cheerleading squads all want practice time on the natural turf athletic field. Work with coaches, directors, and leaders to move the wear around to different locations on the turf so the wear and tear are rotated giving the turf a chance to recover after use.
Fertilize Into Fall
Provide your natural turf with the fertilizer it needs to stay healthy. One of the most important fertilization times of the year is the fall because most of the nutrients are utilized for root growth. The following spring your field will green up quickly and have a robust root system to weather the stressful summer conditions.
Continue to Aerate
Aeration that requires pulling cores is not always feasible during football season, but other methods such as solid tine aeration and use of soil surfactants allow aeration in the natural turf athletic field. Aeration will relieve compaction in the soil, provide better infiltration of water and nutrients and allow for gas exchange between the soil and the atmosphere.
Scientific Plant Service Is Your Go-To Source In Landscape Healthcare
Scientific Plant Service, located in Baltimore, is a privately owned corporation, chartered in Maryland in 1957 by Frank J. Burke. We started as a full-service Arborists specializing in the care of shade trees and ornamental shrubs, but today we are a Lawn Care company that is a huge part of the community. From aquatic environments and snow management to deer and mole control, SPS has services tailored specifically for your lawn and landscape.
We offer services in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia, including: Harford, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Anne Arundel, Montgomery, Prince Georges, Talbot, Queen Anne’s, Calvert counties in MD, as well as Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church in VA. For more information, contact us online, or call us at 410-321-0970. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!