This article has been reproduced with kind permission from the Ohio State University website http://hcs.osu.edu/sportsturf/. There are regular sports notes posted here offering a view of Groundsman and Greenkeeping skills from across the pond. We hope to offer a regular item from the Sports notes section of the OSU website on Pitchcare.
Ohio State University - 5 Games In
By Pam Sherratt & John Street
Can you give us a brief description of the field make-up? - The field is a stabilized Perennial ryegrass system. The root zone is composed of 100% silica sand. The upper 1 1/2" of this is stabilized with Motz TS-II, a mat of polyethylene fibres that are vertical in the profile, these are held together by woven mesh backing. The ryegrass is seeded directly into the stabilizer zone. The stabilizer is what really holds the sand root zone together and makes using ryegrass possible.
How many games/events has the field had so far this season? - The field has been through 5 home games in 5 weeks. This was preceded by 3 practices in a one-week period, each practice lasting about 3 hours. There was also Spring Commencement on June 13 and an all day rock concert with Metallica on July 19.
Fertilizer - We will maintain a weekly fertilization schedule for the field throughout the remainder of the season. This gives us consistent feeding to the turf. We are shooting for a 1:1 N:K ratio with a supplemental micronutrient package.
Seeding - My crew applied a "divot mix" to any areas that were scuffed up during the game. This mix consists of pre-germinated perennial ryegrass seed mixed with green sand. Since there have been no true divots, we are lightly topdressing areas where the grass leaf tissue was scuffed up. Pre-germinated seed was also slit seeded into the bench areas and the parts of the field hardest hit by marching band traffic.
Surface renovation - We are going to perform a light verticutting or tining of the surface to help remove excess debris that has accumulated. This will help to maintain the high drainage rates and lessen the impact of the humidified clipping layer that tends to build up in these types of systems.
Topdressing? - For the moment topdressing is out. Topdressing over the stabilized system would move the surface of the field away from the tops of the stabilizer, eventually removing any benefit of the stabilizer. It is hoped that topdressing will not be needed, at least not very often.
Are you happy with the field's performance so far? - We are very pleased with the performance of this field. The team and administration feels the same way. Five games in a row was very big challenge coming into the season, but I believe the field performed much better than people ever expected.
Any big field renovation plans for 2004? - Currently there are no plans for any field renovation at Ohio Stadium. This field is performing very well and our main goal will be to keep it in a world-class condition for next season.