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2014 Chapter Membership Dues

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Conference recordings are now available to all chapter members.  You must be a current 2014 Gateway STMA member to get the access username and password.  Email for mor details

Experts advise on turf management over autumn and winter period

The threat of winter disease will be starting to creep increasingly into the thoughts of greenkeepers as the seasons start to change, and many are keen to employ an integrated turf management approach to minimise the risk of disease attacks.

To achieve this requires a thorough working knowledge of a targeted nutrition programme, building up carbohydrate reserves and proactive fungicide treatments according to Dr Simon Watson of Syngenta, who is championing a ‘go in green, to come out clean’approach for turf managers to adopt in order to stave off the threats the cold season can bring.

Speaking at the BIGGA Golf Education Day turf management seminar at the Sports Amenities Landscaping Trade Exhibition (Saltex), Dr Watson said: “Strong, healthy turf going into the winter is paramount to maintain the best possible playing conditions through the winter, and produce more consistent surfaces for the spring. There is immense value in preparations through the autumn and early winter, to help protect turf through more severe months.”

An interactive voting system was used at the seminar, and found that 95 per cent of attendees’ courses were affected by autumn or winter disease on greens, and over 50 per cent confirmed that the problem was an annually recurring one.

Dr Watson highlighted recent research indicating that an autumn Primo Maxx programme can provide a welcome boost to over-winter water soluble carbohydrates. The Primo Maxx programme also boosted sucrose, fructose and glucose levels, which can be easily used by plants, were still over 16 per cent higher in the spring after the programme, compared to untreated. Primo Maxx treatment can also bring about a 30 per cent increased in chloroplast numbers in the turf leaf, giving the turf a greener appearance as well as increasing its ability to absorb light.

“Crucially, promoting healthy turf through the autumn also reduced winter disease susceptibility,” said Watson. “Independent trials under severe Microdochium Patch (Fusarium) disease risk conditions showed up to 70 per cent reduction in infection over the winter on greens treated with a Primo Maxx programme.”

Everris’ Michael Fance, also speaking at the Saltex event, advised that carbohydrate reserves need to be carefully matched with nutritional inputs throughout the autumn period.

“Carbohydrate reserves do respond to increased nitrogen inputs, to a point. But, over feeding leads to excessive top growth that needs to be mown off; soft growth that is more susceptible to disease and poor rooting,” said Fance. “The net effect is reduced carbohydrate storage. It is crucial to get nitrogen levels right and in a form that will support building plant reserves, without triggering lush growth. Greenmaster Liquid High K has low levels of N and P, but supplies the N from three sources to maintain extremely consistent results. Furthermore, previously locked-up iron in the soil is released, to enhance colour and turf health, along with a full trace element package to enhance turf health and aid recovery from stress.”

Watson also outlined his belief that by promoting healthy turf in the autumn provides greenkeepers with the best opportunity to prevent outbreaks across the colder period. The survey carried out at the Saltex seminar found many greenkeepers still wait till there is evidence of disease before applying the necessary preventative fungicides, which can have a detrimental affect on playing surface speed and consistency.

“STRI trials have repeatedly shown that carefully-timed preventative strategies can achieve more effective and longer lasting disease control, compared to curative approach,” Watson advised. “That means less surface scarring and reduced stress on the turf. It can also reduce the number of fungicide applications required over the course of the season.”


Schools Are Replacing Playing Surfaces Showing Signs of Wear and Tear

David McNew for The Wall Street Journal

The South Pasadena High School Tigers football team practices on their new turf field.

Across the U.S., football coaches and their players are gearing up for a new season on the gridiron. But for some colleges and high schools, the preparations include a big and unexpected job: putting in a new artificial-turf field.

In the past decade fake-grass fields like those the pros play on have gone mainstream, turning up not just in big stadiums but at high schools, city parks, even some middle schools, usually at a cost of $400,000 to $700,000. But dozens of fields installed between 2006 and 2009 were flawed and are now falling apart, forcing schools to replace playing surfaces they once thought would last a decade or more.

At South Pasadena High School in California, workers have recently put the finishing touches on a new carpet. It replaces one that was first installed in 2007 but developed bare spots where the fake blades of grass and withered away.

Mark Zalin, the athletic director for the South Pasadena school district, said many bare spots had been repaired for a while with patches that were sewn into the old carpet. "It looked like your jeans when you have rips and you put patches on them," he said. He's added the replacement work was scheduled so that it would be ready for mid-August, when the South Pasadena football team, the Tigers, started practice.

The fields that are failing prematurely were manufactured by FieldTurf Inc., a unit of France's Tarkett SA. FieldTurf is a leader in the business and has installed more than 4,500 turf fields in the U.S., including those at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, the University of Nebraska, Texas Tech University and the University of Michigan.

The cause of the trouble is the subject of a court battle between FieldTurf and Royal TenCate, a Dutch company that manufactured the grass-like fibers used in the fields. In a complaint filed in the federal district court of Northern Georgia, FieldTurf alleges some of the fiber TenCate supplied in the last decade was made from substandard polymer and wasn't treated with enough sun screen to prevent the plastic from deteriorating under the sun's ultraviolet rays. The complaint says as many as 167 fields could be affected.

In a statement, TenCate countered that the fields were designed, manufactured and installed improperly by FieldTurf. A trial is expected to begin later this year.

The problem appears limited to high schools and smaller colleges that use the fields night and day and for multiple sports. Many FieldTurf playing surfaces used by pro teams and big-time college football teams were made from the same materials but tend to be used less and therefore show much less wear.

For now, most schools say the field problem is more of a logistical headache than a financial burden. FieldTurf is replacing many fields at no cost under the warranty it provided with the original purchase, although replacement fields are of the same design and come with no new eight-year warranty.

Others, such as South Pasadena and Carrollton High School in Georgia, have chosen to get an upgraded field made from more and more durable fibers. FieldTurf is offering upgraded fields at a reduced price of $175,000.

"Certainly it's disappointing that the field didn't last," said Mike Sanders, the assistant superintendent of schools in Carrolton schools, which got its original field in 2008 and had a new one installed in June. He said the field started showing wear in 2011 and by this spring "it became obvious we weren't going to get another year out of it." The district paid for the upgrade with money that had been set aside for the field.

In some cases, disputes over a replacement have escalated. Father Ryan High School in Nashville, Tenn., has filed a suit in a county court to force FieldTurf to replace the turf that was installed in 2009. The suit says the school's field began deteriorating by 2011, and alleges FieldTurf installed a defective surface even after learning of flaws that had caused other fields to fail.

The school declined to comment on the matter. FieldTurf declined to comment on the case. In a statement, the company's president, Eric Daliere, said "We are committed and have the resources to remediate any product found to be defective, and we are working with our customers to resolve any issues that relate to materials from our previous supplier."

Other schools that have had fields replaced under warranty include St. Thomas High School in Houston, Avon High School in Ohio, and Lake Brantley High School in Florida.


Congratulations to Rich Moffitt

STMA’s highest honor, the Harry C. Gill Award, was presented to  Richard Moffitt, Moffitt & Associates, LLC.  Visionary. Empowering. Strategic. These are three words that describe Rich Moffitt. Rich can be credited with driving the development of the association's first strategic plan. This plan created a roadmap for STMA that envisioned an association that is financially sound, strong, stable and member service oriented. That is the STMA we know and are so proud of today. Under Rich's leadership, members came together and moved the association forward. Rich believes that we determine our own destiny and that our destiny isn't related to status or reputation. Friendships, trust, faith, hard work, fun and challenges are the things that make this individual and STMA tick. He clearly left his stamp on STMA and many individual members. The Gill Award was established to honor an individual for their hard work in the sports turf industry and to acknowledge their dedication to STMA. 

Rich is pictured (right) with 2011 winner, Mike Andresen, CSFM.  Congratulations on the award, it is well deserved.


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.

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