Missouri Green Industry Conference Registration Now Open
If you are a part of the Green Industry we would like to invite you to the Missouri Green Industry Conference to be held
Thursday, December 5, 2013 at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, MO. Go to www.mogic.org
for full schedule and registration information.
This year's Sports Turf Track includes the following sessions:
Is My Field Safe - by Jeff Fowler
The Value of Foliar Feeding on Sports Fields
- by Jim Turner
7 Habits of Highly Defective Sports Turf Managers - by Jeff Fowler
Excessive Sports Field Usage - by Bob Oppold
Tackling the Major Diseases on Sports Turf - by Lee Miller and Derek Cottrill
Conratulations to Chris Hohnstrater of The
Principia School on becoming a Certified Sports Field Manager!!!
Experts advise on turf management over autumn and winter
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.”
The Bare Spots in the Turf
Schools Are Replacing Playing Surfaces Showing Signs of Wear and Tear
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
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.
New type of perennial ryegrass good in traffic
As a sports turf manager you are looking for ways to make sure your grassed areas are evenly covered. Under heavy
wear this can pose a serious challenge with bare spots developing in highly used areas. Researchers are watching for varieties
that help alleviate this problem. One grass caught the eye of one such researcher in Virginia about 10 years ago.
Dr. Joseph Wipff noticed a particular grass in plots where varieties were being tested for wear tolerance. A 2,000-pound
wear machine was repeatedly pulled by a tractor across the plots. What really caught his eye was a grass growing at the ends
of the rows where the tractor and machine turned around. The area with the heaviest traffic was covered with a fast growing
grass. Further investigation showed that this grass was producing pseudo-stolons and regenerating faster than other perennial
ryegrasses. These pseudo-stolons are sometimes called runners. They are growth shoots emerging from the auxiliary buds at
the base of each plant. These pseudo-stolons then root down and produce a daughter plant, a trait not usually observed in
Wipff isolated this new type of perennial ryegrass and sent seed to Oregon for further testing. Christiaan Arends,
turf product manager for Barenbrug USA reports, “We tested this seed at our research farm, and the plantings were each
3 feet wide within a year. That is unusual for a perennial ryegrass; the others in the plot measured less than 1/3 that size.
At this point we knew we had an unusual plant.”
More testing has been done at various locations around the country. Pam Sherratt, sports turf extension specialist
at The Ohio State University, observed what is now called regenerating perennial ryegrass (RPR) in their research plots. She
says, “The grass is very wear tolerant. Like other ryegrasses, it germinates very quickly.”
Sod growers have also done some testing on these new grasses. Zach Kuenzi, Kuenzi Turf & Nursery, Salem, OR planted
3 acres last May 1. They seeded at the rate of 150 pounds per acre. They fertilized with 16-16-16 at 300 pounds per acre at
seeding. The majority of the seed germinated within 7 days. The 3 acres were fertilized on June 17 and July 23 at the rate
of 250 pounds per acre each time with 20-0-0 urea. Kuenzi reports, “The plot established very quickly, filled in fast.
It has great texture, color and is very full. It was full enough this fall that we could have harvested it if we had wanted
to. It was a full month ahead of other grasses planted around the same time.” He also reported that the grass came through
the winter in great shape.
A stoloniferous perennial ryegrass was just the ticket for Bill Gallagher in Rhode Island. Gallagher is the property
director at the Ocean State Soccer School in North Kingston. It is a volunteer position as are all positions at this 10-acre
facility. When Gallagher took over about 6 years ago his only experience with turfgrass was his home lawn. He relied on his
local seed salesman and reading excerpts from SportsTurf to help him learn about maintaining a soccer field. In terms
of the number of participants, Ocean State is the largest soccer program in Rhode Island. When they added the second five
acres to their facility 5 years ago and expanded their competition team program, Gallagher had all sorts of challenges. His
seed salesman told him about some testing a seed company was doing with a new stoloniferous grass and encouraged Gallagher
to try some in a few heavy use areas. He picked the toughest test: the goal mouths showing the most wear.
Gallagher says, “It came up so quick and kept spreading so well, I had no more problems around the goals.”
When the time came last fall when his fields were showing wear and he needed to overseed, he again turned to his seed supplier
for help. His rep, Howard Allen at Allen’s Seed Store in Exeter, recommended a mixture including 30% of the soon to
be introduced RPR ryegrass. Gallagher says, “We needed something quick and durable. Since I had the experience a couple
of years ago and Howard had always been most helpful, I went with his recommendation. The grass came up looking great and
was filling in beautifully when the season closed down. We were all very pleased.
Allen reports, “We have tried this new seed on numerous soccer fields, especially at the goal mouths and every
one of them reports excellent results. There is much less visible wear.”
Two varieties of RPR will be available in 2010 and more are being developed. All will have the prefix Bar with the
ending from the Greek alphabet. The first variety is Baralpha and the next Barbeta. Kuenzi reports that when you observe these
varieties by themselves, they appear quite dark.
The intense traffic tolerance tests at Ohio State showed a much higher rating over a typical perennial ryegrass blend.
Visual wear tolerance ratings at the Southeastern Turfgrass Research Center showed noticeable differences comparing these
new varieties to the average perennial ryegrass blend. This data was collected late in the season when the pressure on sports
fields is high. Turf quality also scored very high in various tests.
Water use is about the same in these grasses as with other perennial ryegrasses. Entophytes provide protection against
disease and insect pressure. The recommended seeding rate is about 7 pounds per 1,000 sq. ft. or 300 pounds per acre. Fertilizer
requirements are comparable to other sports turf grasses. Tests at Ohio State show the optimum cutting height is 1.5 inches
although the grass will tolerate cutting as low as ½ inch. While the grass is aggressive, it should not need anymore mowing
than any other grass. Most of the extra growth is more of a lateral aggressiveness.
These new grasses should work well in mixtures with bluegrasses or other ryegrass species. They are especially suited
to all areas where cool-season grasses are predominating. Because of its aggressiveness and especially the regenerative qualities,
they are probably not suited to overseeding in warm season areas.
Seed is available from most distributors now and some sod growers also are producing it. Kuenzi reports that they
are going to do some testing growing the sod with and without netting. The aggressive growth may make netting unnecessary
thus reducing some of the cost and making the sod much safer for the players.
Michael Stephens is a free lance writer in Omaha, NE.
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
new resources available to STMA members and potential members. On the main page of www.STMA.org, 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.