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Playgrounds

PLAYGROUND TURFGRASSES
Playgrounds require the same planning and maintenance as athletic fields (football / Soccer) due to the traffic and use that is basically similar.  Drainage is often an important consideration in upgrading a playground where it will not be all mud.  Without proper drainage the field / play area will not be usable thus limiting how often it can be used. 

Grasses are similar to football selections.

WARM SEASON

Bermudagrass is the DOMINATE choice for Playground due to Bermuda's excellent turf quality and the ability to be mowed low for faster Athletic usage speeds.  Bahiagrass turfs are used in some of the lower South areas where drought tolerance and adaptation to sandy soils is a higher priority than a durable play surface.  Centipede is used in areas where traffic is limited.

TRANSITIONAL

In the transitional zone Tall Fescues and Bermudas are both used.  There really is NOT a perfect choice for this area.  Tall Fescue requires a 2" height for adequate maintenance and also is a bunch type requiring high rates of re-seeding to avoid and repair any damaged areas.  Fine fescues are often included to overcome shade issues on school / playground sites.

Bermudagrasses are impacted by their off color during winter dormancy and the higher risk of plant loss due to winter kill from low temperatures.  Bermudagrass fields must also be overseeded each fall with Ryegrasses (during a break in schedule) to avoid playing on dormant / brown fields in the fall.  Additional re-seeding of ryegrass as the season progresses is usually required.   In lower transitional zone Zoysiagrass will provide a low-maintenance durable surface providing that traffic use is not high.

Kentucky Bluegrass is also used in the more NORTHERN parts of the transitional zone.  Maintenance is usually around 1-2 inches with 2 inches preferable.  It does have one big benefit and that is that the rhizomes repair damaged turf over time without re-seeding.

COOL SEASON

Here in this area Kentucky Bluegrass is the DOMINATE choice.  Its aggressive growth and recuperative abilities (rhizomes) make it the # 1 choice.  It is also considered a safer playing surface because of the cushioning effects of its thatch layer.  Bluegrass is though slow  to fully establish, taking generally 1 year to mature.  You can generally seed in spring with use beginning in the fall.   Perennial Ryegrass is often added to mixtures of Bluegrass for field use, especially for fast repair jobs.

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