Category Archives: Athletic Fields

Posts related to sports field management.

Comparing surface temperatures of synthetic (artificial) turf with natural turf

There has been an increased interest in replacing natural lawns with artificial or synthetic turf.  While there are a number of reasons why this is NOT a good idea, the video above should provide some insight into what to expect the environment to feel like when one of these synthetic systems is installed.  Let me know what you think!

May not be practical, but it might be fun!

I’m not sure if I should admit this or not.  I am intrigued by the Rodenator Pro.  They claim that it does a great job controlling tunneling pest in you fields.  Who knows, maybe it has an application in the turfgrass industry.  Let me know if you decide to buy one – I want to see it in action!

Check out the video below – you will see why I am intrigued!

Rodenator on YouTube

What happens in Vegas…

I have to admit, I hope this is a case where “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

The Southern Nevada Water Authority (which serves an area that includes the city of Las Vegas) is offering incentives to individuals to remove their “water-thirsty lawns” and replace them with a “lush yet water-efficient” desert landscape.  Participants in the program will be paid $1.50/square foot for the first 5,000 square feet of lawn that are removed, and an additional $1.00/square foot for anything over 5,000 square feet.  They mean business!  It has lead to removal of over 130 million square feet (3,000 acres) of lawn according to their website.

Here is an example of a yard that has been renovated as part of the program:

Picture credit:
Picture credit:

Don’t get me wrong.  I understand that the water situation throughout most of the Southwest is very dire and that removal of turfgrass will have a significant impact on water use.  Having lived in the high desert of southern Idaho for most of my early years I know all too well how much water lawns require.  I definitely think that a landscape appropriate to the desert climate is a good move.  I am happy to see that they are encouraging plants in the landscape and not advocating for the replacement of natural turf with synthetic lawns.  Properly designed, these new landscapes should not have the same heat-island effect that would have happened if synthetic turfgrass had been installed, which should keep the additional pressure on air conditioning systems to a minimum.

Here in Florida, we advocate for the responsible use of lawns in the landscape.  Turfgrass plays an important role in the landscape providing space for recreation, stabilizing soil against erostion, and acting as a filter to remove contaminants from water infiltrating the soil.  The Florida Friendly Landscaping (FFL) program is designed to aid people in designing/installing landscapes that feature plants that perform well in Florida’s climate with minimal inputs.  The FFL program does not advocate for complete removal of turfgrass areas.  Instead, the program is based on the principles of “right plant, right place.”  Sounds sort of like the program in Nevada minus the financial incentive.

Trade show freebie to influence our youth

I just returned from the 2010 Sports Turf Managers Association Conference and Exhibition in Orlando where I spoke about management of warm-season athletic fields. After finishing my talk I took some time to walk around the trade show floor and see what was new in the industry.

I always enjoy seeing the new equipment and offerings from the variety of companies that attend these shows. I also enjoy seeing everyone on a scavenge hunt for the best handouts. It’s funny – I remember going to trade shows only to come back with a huge bag of pens, tablets, stress balls, and anything else that was being given away. While I appreciate the generosity of the companies who offer the items to us, I have reached a point where I simply have no interest in another pen or tablet that I will not use and will eventually be thrown away. More times than not, I will leave a trade show floor with nothing more than a few business cards. Until yesterday.

It had been about an hour since I entered the trade show floor, systematically working my way through the aisles of booths. Of course, I had to stop and drop off my raffle ticket in hopes of winning a 32 GB iPod Touch from Barenburg. Eventually, I came up on the Andersons Golf Products booth. They typically have a very nice booth, and this was no exception. What caught my eye though, was the “DG Man” toy that they were giving away.

Andersons Golf Products - DG Man

As you can see in the picture, he is complete with a rotary spreader and spray wand. I could not resist — I had to pick one up. Then I started thinking, maybe the industry is missing out on a tremendous marketing opportunity. Could some of the negative perceptions of the industry be negated by making toys available that familiarize kids with management of turf and landscape areas? Maybe a small plastic fertilizer spreader, complete with plastic pellets, that could be used to spread “fertilizer” on the carpet. Or a toy-sized pruner that Junior could use to help maintain the shrubs in front of the house.

Regardless of the approach, the turf and landscape industries have a steep hill to climb when it comes to reversing some of the negative press that they have received in recent years. An emphasis needs to be placed on increased funding for research and developing public relations strategies to disseminate the results. Who knows, maybe toys can play a role.

They could use a little help…

I came across something new (at least new to me) this weekend.  During a trip to Sarasota I found the Sarasota Lawn Bowling Club’s facilities located at 810 Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL‎.

Bowling greens might provide a new research opportunity

I have to admit, I was unfamiliar with lawn bowling.  I had visions of pins and 12 lb balls being thrown on the grass, which were quickly followed by the thought that it would leave one heck of a ball mark to repair.  As it turns out, the sport has a long history, dating to the 13th century. My main concern with what I saw was the quality of the turf (now I’m wishing I had taken pictures).  The bermudagrass looked like it could really use some help.  You can see in this Google Maps image that this is probably the norm.

It looks like the bowling greens could use some help!