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STEPS TO SELECTION |
WHEN TO PLANT |
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Grass Selection -
Sports Grasses are selected
based on several characteristics:
First and foremost is their adaptability to the particular area
of the country they will be planted in. Some grasses will
die due to low or high temperatures and thus can only be grown
within an area the has the correct temperature range.
Secondly grasses for sports need to repair fast - Being able
to repair from the traffic damage caused by use by Athletes is
important. Some grasses repair easier than others. Some
grasses spread, some do not and must be reseeded to maintain
density due to losses.
Third is cost of establishment and how fast a playing field is
needed. Cool season grasses take about 2 years to fully
establish to MATURE adult stage where they can resist the most
abuse. That is why often professional fields have the sod
grown outside the playing field areas and brought in and
installed. Most sports fields can't wait the two years,
however with seeded fields used before that period of time
(warm season grasses excluded), expect to do more repair work to
maintain. Most good sports organizations understand the need
to rotate and rest fields between usage periods so that grass
areas can be repaired and recover.
Fourth is suitable of a particular species to the sport or
activity. Some grasses grow well only at higher mowing
heights. Others will handle low mowing or even thrive at low
mowed heights. Height of grass is also important to the
sport - For example Tennis is playable at 1/2 but NOT very well at
2 inch height.
MORE ABOUT CHOOSING A SPECIES AT
What to use?
Selection of Grasses
FOR GOLF INFORMATION - Visit
GRASS ZONES / TYPES OF GRASSES
MIXTURES: Most cool season and transition zone areas
(1) Consider primarily your location /
sports in choosing a grass type.
USA ZONE AREA
B=Baseball, F=Football, S=Soccer, T=Tennis, LB=Lawn Bowling
All Sports is all of above.
OS= Overseeding with Ryegrass or
Limited Use = Special Factors may apply to usage.
(2) Now review additional factors below.
In the transition zone Tall
Fescues are dominate species used. Some Bluegrass is
usually included in a mix to provide a repair ability.
Fescue mixtures and Single species are also used extensively. Cold tolerant Bermuda grasses (Yukon,
USALawns) are also used in this area with overseeding of these
grasses once established with Perennial Ryegrass. Tall
Fescues while drought hardy, must be overseeded with additional
Tall Fescue seed on an annual or bi-annual basis to maintain
density. High use (field wear) may also require frequent
overseeding during the season (weekly / bi-weekly). Disease
issues can require use of fungicides. Tall Fescues mowed /
maintained at heights below 1" are more difficult to manage.
Ideal heights are 2-3".
In the cool season zone
Kentucky Bluegrass is the dominate species used.
Perennial Ryegrass is also
used both as a stand alone turf and in mixtures with Kentucky
Bluegrass. Most Sports mixtures are a mix of these such as
Mid America Classic Blend, the Seedland
Mixture or the more economical
Pure Bluegrass and Ryegrass varieties are also used in single
"mono" stands -
is one of the top varieties. Newer varieties such as
Carlo, or the
Best of Blues or
Galaxy Bluegrass Blends are also popular.
Bluegrass is best choice BECAUSE of its dense, dark
green turf, the rhizomes / root repair ability it has, good
cushioning effect of sod, and the fact that it is a beautiful
grass. It's only drawback are disease issues (less with
newer varieties) and the fact it is not considered high on drought
tolerance. Both Perennial Ryegrass and Bluegrasses should be
mowed from 1.5 to 3 inches, though it may be maintained lower for
short periods of time (1/2 inch). Perennial Ryegrass
establishes faster than most all other grasses, thus is a great
tool for sports turf managers - it also can be mowed lower more
easily than Bluegrass. Poa Supina L. is also being used on
Northern sports fields as it is more shade tolerant of trees than
are used for tennis courts, lawn bowling, golf greens, and
croquet. It provides a FAST surface where ball travel over
the grass is important. Mowing can be as low as 1/4 inch or
is the best variety for general purpose use. Other
improved varieties are also available but are considered
Bermudagrass is the
dominate species used in warm season areas. It's low or high
mowing height, fast establishment, fast repair and disease /
insect resistance make it the grass of choice for sports /
athletic fields. It's ability to stand both HOT temperatures
and DROUGHT issues make it the best choice. In the winter
when Bermuda goes dormant and off color (brown), it can be
overseeded with Ryegrass for a green winter use.
Both seeded and sprigged / sodded vegetative varieties
are available for sports use. The highest quality Bermudas
are the hybrid "vegetative varieties" such as Tifsports, or
Tiffine and even Tifway 419 (mid -range). New seeded
varieties are starting to approach the quality of the hybrids and
the improved are extensively used for high-school and recreational
sports fields. Seedland only handles seed varieties - WE DO
NOT SELL SOD - Look in yellow pages under sodding or landscaping.
Yukon are two of the newest "high-quality" seeded Bermudas.
-- One of the most popular of the seeded Bermuda Blends is the
Blend. Pennington's Triangle Blend is a blend of three
improved fairway quality turf types and is probably planted on
more acreage than any other sports fields in the south (other than
common and Sahara). For more economical plantings, where
cost is the primary factor... Sahara improved common bermuda is
the leading choice. Sahara is often available at close to
the same price as common bermuda, thus is a good choice in a low-imput
seeded Bermuda. Other excellent choices for seeded Bermudas
for use in recreation / high school athletic fields are
Over-Seeding: Overseeding with Perennial Ryegrass is a standard
management technique with Bermudagrass fields in both the warm
season and transistion zone areas. This allows the Bermuda
to support heavier use in late fall and early spring.
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