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Gateway STMA day at Busch

Stadium is SOLD OUT

The Gateway STMA has purchased 36 tickets in a private all inclusive suite for the June 3rd game vs the Milwaukee

Brewers @12:45pm. 

This will be a pay to attend event.  Tickets will be sold first come first serve for this event.  Mr. Billy Findley, head groundskeeper for the St. Louis Cardinals, will be giving a tour of the maintenance facility at Busch Stadium post game and an on the field tour pre game during batting practice.  This event is for Gateway STMA Members, you must be in good standing with the chapter to attend this event.  Remember this is limited to 36 and we expect for tickets to sell out and sell out quickly.  Sponsorships are still available for this game. Contact  Brian Winka about purchasing individual tickets or about becoming a sponsor. 

For this event we have the following sponsorships:


Name recognition and company logo on the GSTMA Web site and Chapter magazine

5 tickets to the suite

        Silver $500

Name recognition on the web site and magazine

2 tickets

        Bronze $250

Name recognition on the web site and magazine

1 ticket


Gold Sponsors

Munie Greencare Professionals

Visit us at



GR Robinson Seed & Service Co.


Silver Sponsors


(314) 993-6700


MTI Ditributing/TORO

(314) 895-9800




Barenbrug USA 


Bronze Sponsors

Ariens Co. /Gravely Power Equipment



Control Solutions Inc.


Cultural practices and guidelines for low-budget athletic fields

By Dr. Brad Fresenburg

Expectations on today’s sports fields are much higher than they were when many of us played Little League baseball or other sports. High expectations often lead to disappointing outcomes when fields do not meet the expectations of coaches, players, and parents. There is often a gap between what is expected and what is necessary to provide a safe, playable field. If that gap can be minimized by removing excessive expectations, priorities and dollars can be more focused. The primary objective when maintaining athletic fields at any level of play is to provide safe, playable fields for athletes. All too often, budgetary limitations get in the way of proper care and maintenance of athletic fields. Although there is no universal budgetary formula, some level of success can be achieved on most athletic fields. Understanding and applying essential cultural practices, as well as using outside sources; athletic directors, coaches, users, and sports turf managers can collaborate to provide healthy, safe, playable fields that meet those primary objectives of safety and playability.

Have a plan

Whether maintaining one field or 20 fields, prioritizing them can help determine where time, supplies, and maintenance should be allocated. Schedules of events, basic maintenance desired, equipment and resources needed factor into the overall plan. Distinguish high priority areas from low priority areas. For example, game and main practice fields require the most time and money to maintain. Maintenance frequency and material allocation can be reduced on low priority fields and other areas.

Part of this plan includes an annual budget. You may not be responsible for this, but it helps to have an understanding of individual cost for various practices. What does it cost to fertilizing a field or core aerate the center of a football field? Knowing individual cost provides opportunities for donations when you consider outside relationships (discussed a little later).

Concentrate on maintenance practices

While a practice like mowing and fertility may occur over the entire field, overseeding and aeration can be applied to areas of greatest need. Applying seed between football hash marks only will reduce seed requirements by 66%. Only 22% of an entire college football field exists from the 20 to 20 yard line to 5 yards beyond the hash marks. For high school football fields, this area is 26% of the field. You can increase your spending power by almost four times when targeting high traffic areas. Other high traffic areas include goal boxes on soccer fields and positional areas on baseball and softball outfields. Focusing on the areas of dire need will stretch limited dollars for the most good.

Cultural practices

There are cultural practices that are necessary and others that can be altered from a little to a lot. Mowing (time, fuel, and repairs) is a must and always part of every annual budget. Beyond this, two of the next best practices are fertility and seeding. If the field manager can maintain the highest possible mowing height allowed (up to 3.5 to 4 inches), overseeding and fertility will help to maintain the highest turfgrass density possible for safety, playability, and weed competition (reducing annual weeds by 80%). When overseeding, always provide good seed/soil contact to get the highest level of seed germination. Always select turfgrass blends or mixtures best for your area with the highest degree of disease resistance possible. Often seed and fertilizer is spread on bare, compacted soil surfaces providing very little benefit for the dollars spent.

  • Cool-season grasses (tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass) are optimally overseeded and fertilized in the fall of the year. Spring overseeding and fertility may be an option if spring play occurs. However, late spring fertility can be detrimental to cool-season grasses as it relates to turfgrass diseases. Cool-season grasses, like fescue, are more susceptible to brown patch disease if fescue receives excess nitrogen late spring to early summer. Type of fertilizer and timing are key to managing diseases. If a budget only allows minimal overseeding and fertility (one or two applications), fall is the optimum time.
  • Warm-season grasses (bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, etc.) are re-established and fertilized during the late spring and early summer months for rapid growth and recovery. Seeding is the most economical means of re-establishment followed by sprigging.

Soil testing is another inexpensive practice to consider as a means to save money. Sports turf managers can determine what the needs are for nutrients as well as what the soil pH is. If soil pH falls outside the desirable range (pH 6 to 7); applications of fertilizer may not benefit turfgrass plants as nutrients may be locked up in the soil colloid. Soil test results may also indicate sufficient levels of some nutrients like phosphorus and potassium; therefore saving dollars on purchasing fertilizers containing these nutrients and apply that savings to additional nitrogen fertilizers or other practices.

To avoid fertilizer waste, determine the exact square footage of fertilized areas. Accurately measuring the square footage of treated areas helps determine some of those costs figures of many maintenance practices. Accurate fertilizer applications are dependent on purchasing the correct amount of fertilizer for a known square footage. Also, slightly reducing the fertilizer application rate (adjusting from 1 lb N/1000 sq. ft. to lb N/1000 sq. ft.) can make a difference when it comes to budgeted dollars. Spreading your fertilizer over several applications will be more beneficial than all at once (i.e., two applications of 0.50 lb of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet versus one application of a pound). Rotary walk-behind spreaders are very economical and are often used for all levels of play. Fertilizer buggies from local farm co-ops are an option for applications over large areas.

Aerification (soil cultivation) is and always will be the most neglected maintenance practice. It provides some of the greatest benefits: reduced compaction, air exchange, water and nutrient infiltration, and opportunities for deeper root development. It is a practice that can be completed using a borrowed piece of equipment. Walk-behind units can be rented daily for a nominal fee and used in those areas with the most need (centers of a football field, goal mouths, sidelines, etc.). This practice can improve on safety better than most other practices.

Irrigation may or may not be an option. Most low budget programs tend not to have a source of water especially if it is potable water being purchased. While soil moisture is important during play, it can increase the chances of turfgrass diseases if applied too often. Only apply what the soil/root-zone can infiltrate in one watering. Anything more will cause puddles and runoff—wasting water and promoting diseases. It is best to be on the conservative side of irrigation except where safety is a concern.

Topdressing is usually a luxury practice in a low budget facility. While sand is very cheap to purchase, transportation cost is usually prohibitive, not to mention the lack of application equipment (topdresser). Those fertilizer buggies at the local farm co-op can be used to spread topdressing sand as well if the co-op is willing and you are able to get sand delivered.

Keep in mind that cultural practices, however completed; should be followed correctly to favor the turfgrass and not pests. There is a direct correlation between poor cultural practices and levels of pests observed. Minimizing pests minimizes costs.

Control use

Over-use is a problem where athletic grounds are very limited. Any opportunity to restrict activities like physical education and band practice will greatly reduce wear and stretch maintenance dollars. Closing fields when conditions are unfavorable and limiting or eliminating public use can greatly reduce cost. In addition, shifting a field 20 to 30 feet or rotating them can spread the concentration of traffic over more area, therefore allowing previously worn areas to recover. Flexibility to change up a sporting event from a home field to an away field or vice versa to avoid wet playing conditions can save a field from excess damage. Controlling use will save dollars on maintenance.

Consider outside relationships

Most communities will have a sportsplex or golf course nearby. Relationships between these facilities, local businesses and a local school district can be as simple as introducing oneself and asking a question. If a school district has no means to purchase an aerator, don’t be afraid to contact a local golf course to potentially borrow their aerator. Perhaps several nearby school districts can purchase a piece of equipment to share. Many lawn care businesses will have specialized equipment like vertical slicers and aerators. Local farm co-ops are often a great source for seed, fertilizers and pesticides.

Consider an advertising trade-off. Community businesses may have some excellent sources for knowledge and may be willing to donate products, equipment and services for an advertisement spot on a scoreboard or outfield fence. Many sporting events are announced on local radio stations where broadcasters can promote a business for their contributions to a school or sporting program.

Booster clubs help to offset some of the cost for team uniforms, equipment and even field maintenance needs. Saturday morning bake sales, trivia nights, website sponsorships or auctions can often buy a piece of equipment or seed and fertilizer for a season. Calculating those cost in the planning phase of maintenance and resources needed, are the numbers you will need to provide to a booster club or individual for the asking.

Athletic field maintenance at the high school level or in any low-budget situation is not hopeless. Devise a plan, provide a list of needs and start asking around. You may find that safe and playable sports fields are an achievable goal even on a limited budget. More detailed information can be found on the STMA website, “2015 Conference recordings – Cultural Practices & Guidelines for Low Budget Athletic Fields.”

Brad Fresenburg, PhD, is Assistant Extension Professor, University of Missouri Turfgrass Sciences.

Original link:

Dithiopyr vs Prodiamine, Which is Better?

Every year, I am always asked which product is better to use as a pre-emergent for crabgrass in the spring and my answer is always, well, it depends. There are several options, but it usually comes down to two: Dithiopyr, aka Dimension ™, and Prodiamine, aka Barricade ™. Both are great products depending on when and how they are used, so, lets talk about them a little more in depth.

First, lets talk about what these products specifically do. Pre-emergents don’t actually stop the seed from germinating. As the seed germinates, the baby seedling comes in contact with the pre-emergent chemical layer in the soil and absorbs it. The chemical stops cell division in the plant, either root or shoot, preventing it from reaching the soil surface and sunlight. As a result, it dies. This is why they are called pre-emergents. They kill the seedling prior to emerging from the soil, but they don’t kill the seed. Over time, pre-emergents are broken down by microbes and environmental factors and, therefore, must be reapplied annually. Sometimes, it must be even applied semi-annually to extend control.

Many years ago the first pre-emergent to be applied to granular fertilizer was Pendimethalin, or Pre-M ™. This product was a huge victory for lawncare because it opened the door for many other granular combination products to be created. This made it possible for many new businesses to offer lawn fertilization because they no longer needed liquid application equipment to get the job done. Yet, we all know about the issues with pendimethalin. Many of my customers still have yellow floors, pavement, equipment, and toilet seats from pendimethalin. It stains!

So, Dow came along with a great new chemistry and called it Dimension ™. It was applied to fertilizer, increased the length of control from weeks to months, and, the best part of all, it didn’t stain. It worked a little bit differently than Pre-M ™, but accomplished the same goal. The non-staining issue alone meant love at first sight for the applicator.

Prodiamine, or Barricade ™, is actually one of the more recent chemistries for preventing crabgrass. It works much like Pre-M ™, and has a yellow color, but has much less of a staining effect and a much longer residual. Even though it has come on the scene more recently, it has, in my opinion, become the dominant pre-emergent product used today. Barricade ™ has performed better and is more cost-effective than Dimension ™ south of the Mason-Dixon. Also, there are many post-patent alternatives now available, which has brought the cost of this chemistry down significantly.

So which one is better? Since I sell and monitor the performance of both, I think I can help. If you plan on going out with pre-emergent first thing in the spring, I recommend Prodiamine because it does not leach with heavy rainfall the way Dimension ™ does. We can have some pretty wet springs in the Cleveland area and, in those instances where March pre-emergent applications were made, Prodiamine outperformed Dimension ™.

Some of my customers opt to apply pre-emergent later in the spring, closer to the crabgrass germination window, or they have late sign-ups that they still want to treat. In those cases, there is less risk of pre-emergent leaching and, in this situation, Dimension™ may be a better choice. Dimension ™ is more soluble, so it will set up in the soil faster than prodiamine. It also has some early post-emergent control if you are lucky enough to hit crabgrass at the right time. In some cases, I have my customers mixing our Armortech CGC 2L ™ in with their weed control, since they are usually total spraying properties at that time anyway. I have always felt that the time frame in which my customers start spraying broadleaf weed control is the perfect time to start applying Dimension ™.

So timing and weather aside, some of my customers have a strong preference for one product over another, and that is fine as long as you compensate for the products with either proper timing or appropriate rates. I typically recommend a rate in my territory that applies 0.65Lb – 0.73Lb active ingredient/acre of Prodiamine, or 0.25Lb – 0.38 Lb active ingredient/acre of Dimension ™. You should always refer to the label and talk with your local ATS representative first because each region is different. The research I have read suggests that there is no benefit from split applications of Prodiamine, so if you are a one-and-done kind of person, either product can be applied as long as you apply the right amount of either product. If you are a Dimension ™ lover, you can split the rate over two applications in the spring, or apply your first application as a granular and follow-up with a liquid app mixed with the weed control mid-late spring. Some have even gone with a full rate of Dimension ™ on the first round and reinforced with more on a second round. Personally, I feel that the cost of applying more outweighs the benefit because breakthrough can result from many factors. You are better off, in my opinion, to budget for the cost to treat a percentage of break-through each year on your total acreage in your pricing structure, say 3%, as an insurance policy to use when you need it.

Speaking of breakthrough, there are many things that can cause it. If conditions are too dry to disperse the chemistry into the soil, if the ground cracks, if the turf isn’t mowed at the proper height, or if it is too wet in a certain year; all of these things can affect performance and are out of your control. Unfortunately, the customer is not usually as understanding, so make sure that your agronomic program is flexible. My customers do second pre-emergent applications to compensate for problem properties or adverse conditions and it may be advisable for you, also. So, keep an open mind and be willing to make changes to your program when necessary and you and your customers should be trouble-free.

Sam Weil,
ATS Sales Representative

Missouri Green Industry Conference

Jared Minnick presents to at MoGIC 2014

Thanks to all the vendors and attendees. This year's conference was fantastic.

For anyone who missed it here is a link to Jerad Minnick's presentation "Changing the Preception, Pushing Limits; Grass Fields Will Take More"


Get your Gateway STMA Apparel
Instant Imprints in Chesterfield is now the official supplier of Gateway STMA apparel.  MEMBERS can now bring in your own shirts, jackets, hats, etc for embroidery & screen printing of our logo or purchase apparel from one of their catalogs.

Educational Resources Available
Check out new resources available to STMA members and potential members. On the main page of, go to the Resources Tab – Technical Information, and you’ll find comprehensive sections have been added to the Cool Season and Warm Season Turfgrasses pages.

Please visit our "VENDORS & CONTRACTORS" page. They are an important part of our organization; so let them know you got their information from our website. Thank you and enjoy.

Contact  us
Gateway Chapter STMA 
P.O. Box 410492
St. Louis, MO 63141 
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Gateway Chapter President