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SportsTurf Magazine
Updated: 1 hour 35 min ago

Rick Robitaille keeping athletic fields in top shape

October 17, 2017
Rick Robitaille is the Shenendehowa (NY) Athletics groundskeeper, appointed last year specifically assigned to the Athletic Department after 24 years on staff as a groundskeeper.  How did you first become a groundskeeper at Shenendehowa?

I’ve always worked outdoors. I did tree service work for many years before I came here and I used to get laid off in the wintertime. The old director told me that we’re going to have a couple of guys retiring, put your application in and that’s how I got in.

I love it, I love being outside, I love my job. It’s great, where else can you go out and mow lawns, I enjoy it, I really do. I enjoy talking to the coaches and making them happy.

2. What are some of the challenges of keeping the fields in top shape?

Once you start working on a field you want to make sure that you crabgrass and make sure that’s not coming up through. We have it treated and the treatment program along with the irrigation program and staying on top of it, mowing it, keeps the field looking the way it does. It’s constant care.

You’re mowing a field at an inch and a-half, at least twice a week, I try to get it before the games and some of the fields have irrigation and some don’t. The ones that have irrigation obviously look better. It’s a lot of work and you have to stay on top of it.

3. How many fields are you maintaining this fall and how long do they take to mow and paint?

I have eight soccer fields, seven football fields and two field hockey fields in the fall. I mow the field hockey field to a one-inch height, the soccer fields 1 and a-half inches and the football field I keep a little higher, about 2 and a-half to three inches because it’s easier on the ground because they have a tendency to dig their cleats in the ground a little bit more when they do their drills.

My mower is 15-feet wide, so it takes 20 minutes to a half hour to mow one field. When we first layout a field to mark it before we paint it, that takes about 60 to 90 minutes, I can do it by myself in two hours.

The painting part of it only takes about 25 minutes, we have a rider we can ride on.

4. Do you miss the grass football field and do you have a favorite fall field?

“Before the turf you had the upkeep of the grass, the mowing, watering it, everything. If you had a bad summer you have to keep it irrigated all the time, the turf is great. I have to go out and recondition it a couple of times a year, it take me about two hours, other than that there is not a lot I really have to worry about other than checking it and making sure that it’s playable.

My favorite fields might be the soccer field and the main field hockey field because that is down to an inch and I just like the way they look. When they look good, that makes me look good and when I look good I get interviewed by the newspaper.

5. What does your lawn look like at your own home?

My yard at my house is around an acre that we mow and I do not mow, my wife mows it. My wife will fight me to mow the lawn. I do the trimming and for what our yard is, it does look this good.

She said one day, it’s a riding mower and she said ‘Can you show me how to run the lawnmower,’ and I said ‘Sure.’ Since then she runs the lawnmower, I take the blades off and sharpen them. She takes care of it and I have no problems with that, I’ll actually sit on the back deck and drink a beer and smoke a cigar and watch her.- By STAN HUDY

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Home field advantage: Groundskeeper is a perfectionist at his craft

October 17, 2017

For the past 4 years, Ross Township (OH) athletics have had a distinct home field advantage, thanks to former Little Giants baseball player Cory Hull.

Hull said he works with coaches in all the fall and spring sports to determine how they want their fields to look or play.

“It’s kind of like a home field advantage,” Hull said. “I will come to the soccer coach and ask if they want a tight field where they pass a lot, or a bigger field where they can use their speed more.”

Hull always stays within Ohio High School Athletic Association regulations, but said soccer allows for wiggle room in field dimensions.

“Must be doing something right,” Hull said. “The soccer team is off to great start.”

Hull likens himself to a jack-of-all-trades, being the only groundskeeper for the district, though he said custodians and maintenance workers at the schools help with lawn care.

As the head groundskeeper, Hull can be a perfectionist, and tries to make the fields the best he can.

“I look at my job from two perspectives,” Hull said. “My job is to make the fields safe for the teams and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.”

And Hull seeks feedback from coaches and players to ensure the fields are up to the highest playing standards.

“There have been some players who may have twisted an ankle and will come to me and ask if I can take a look at the field,” Hull said.

Although Don Paul Stadium, home of Ross’ Little Giants and St. Joseph Central Catholic football teams, has artificial turf, it does not reduce the workload for Hull.

Instead of mowing, lining and painting a grass field, Hull is tasked with sweeping the turf before Ross home games.

The sweeper, Hull said will clear debris such as rocks from the surface, filtering out anything other than the black rubber pellets and the turf.

After driving across the field with the sweeper, Hull then brushes the turf with a broom-like machine that will “fluff” the field.

Hull said he has always been interested in maintenance, having spent time after baseball games and practice working on the baseball field when he was at Ross High School.

“I didn’t even know something like this existed when I was in school,” Hull said of being a groundskeeper.

Once he realized he could find a career in groundskeeping after graduating from Ross in 2006, Hull went to Owens Community College for his degree and was able to intern in with the Toledo Mud Hens — a minor-league affiliate of the Detroit Tigers baseball team — and the Sylvania Recreation District before accepting a full-time job with Sylvania Recreation in 2009.

Although he learned a lot and enjoyed what he was doing, Hull said something was missing.

“I was always in charge of the bullpen mounds, and I liked doing other things,” he said.

Before Hull, athletic fields for Ross sports were taken care of by coaches, maintenance workers and custodians, something Hull said was not working.

“I am the first of my kind at Ross,” he said. “Before I got here in 2013, the department did not exist and I thought, ‘How can a Division-2 school district not have a groundskeeper’?”

Hull takes his job seriously, but loves having fun on social media.

After Ross athletic director Chad Berndt created a Ross athletics Twitter account that is really serious, “I thought why not have a fun one,” Hull said.

To let his personality and sense of humor shine, Hull created a Twitter account @FRGroundsdept where he will share photos of fields or departments he is working on, and showcases his attention to details.

One touch, for example, was adding the F-R interlocking logo to the soccer field.

“It was a rainy day and I just made a template of the logo so I could start adding it,” Hull said.

Now the logo is seen near the corner kick area on the varsity soccer field, and behind the pitching mound on the boys baseball field.”I just like doing those little touches,” Hull said. “Last year, for senior day for baseball, I put all the seniors’ names in paint in the outfield. I will see some of the kids on Twitter using a photo of that on their background, and it makes me happy.”

The perfectionist in Hull comes out, no matter what sport he is working on during his day.

Hull also takes whimsical jabs at other athletic departments, including posting a photo of uneven lines from a practice football field at Sylvania Southview before Ross played the Cougars in football on Sept. 1.

“I want to give them something to play on that I never really had,” Hull said. “If one kid looks outside at the field from school one day and decides to play a sport because they liked that, that will me make me happy.”

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Moles, skunks force high school football move

October 17, 2017

A high school football team is being forced out of its home field by an inundation of varmint.

Butler County High School in Ohio has deemed its own field conditions unsafe for play and as a result will move its last two home games, including its homecoming game, to another location.

According to a report from the Bowling Green Daily News, moles and as many as 10 skunks have dug holes on the field and along the sidelines.

Butler County coach Ryan Emmick said the problem has been ongoing and has been the cause of player injuries. “It’s a big issue for us and we’ve had a ton of players’ injuries this year and those injuries have occurred on our home field,” Emmick told the Daily News. “Looking back at it and looking at the condition of the field, I can’t in my own mind put our kids back on that field because we’ve got to keep them safe.

Emmick said the school has been putting “Band-Aids” on the field for a long time.

Losing the last two home games is no small thing for Butler County coffers. The school expects a loss of around $10,000 in revenue.

Emmick said fixing the field will have to be a community effort. “With budget cuts across the state, money is a struggle,” Emmick said. “In Butler County, we don’t have the tax base to pull from or that extra allotment of cash sitting there. Any cuts that come from the state directly impact programs like football.”-Andy Berg, Athletic Business


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Dr. Bruce Martin of Clemson wins Fred Grau Turfgrass Science award

October 10, 2017

A Clemson University turfgrass pathologist is this year’s recipient of the Fred V. Grau Turfgrass Science Award, the top academic award for a turfgrass faculty member.

Bruce Martin, research and Extension turfgrass pathologist for South Carolina, was nominated for the award by Beth Guertal, Auburn University professor of turfgrass and nutrient management. Guertal has known Martin for about 10 years. She said she nominated Martin “because he is incredibly deserving” and is well respected by those in the turfgrass industry.

“Dr. Martin in an invaluable resource to the turfgrass industry,” Guertal said. “Every superintendent knows exactly who is being reference when another one says: ‘Well, I don’t know, what does Dr. Martin say?’ Everyone trusts Dr. Martin’s advice.”

Martin said he is honored to receive this award. The award will be presented during the Annual Meeting of the American Science of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America, in October in Tampa, Florida.

“I am honored and humbled by the award particularly as the recognition is from my peers in the turf research community through the C5 Division of the Crop Science Society of America,” Martin said. “I also would like to thank Clemson for allowing me to specialize in turf pathology and make an impact for the South Carolina turfgrass industry.”

Matt Smith, director of the Clemson University Pee Dee Research and Education Center (REC) in Florence where Martin is located, said Martin’s turfgrass research is world-renowned. Martin holds turfgrass field days attended by golf course superintendents from all across the globe.

“Dr. Martin’s (turfgrass) program is without a doubt one of the most distinguishing characteristics of the Pee Dee REC,” Smith said. “Golf course superintendents from around the world know him and respect his work. Dr. Martin is one of the nicest guys to work with. He’s at the top of the game.”

Smith said that in addition to being a top researcher, Martin also is an extraordinary professor.

“He could be the model of a well-rounded professor in a land-grant university,” Smith said. “He excels at meeting the mission of land-grant universities, which is threefold: teaching, research and Extension.”

Tim Kreger, executive director of the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association, also said Martin’s advice is revered in the turfgrass industry. Kreger spoke highly of Martin, saying he has been instrumental in putting the Carolinas’ golf course industry at the forefront of emerging technologies in turfgrass disease management.

“I can speak from a wealth of first-hand experience regarding discussions in the Carolinas who say Dr. Martin has helped them in their work and, in some cases, even ‘saved’ their courses,” Kreger said. “We have GCSA members at more than 80 percent of all golf courses in the Carolinas and Dr. Martin is highly regarded at every one of them.”

Bert McCarty, also a Clemson horticulture science professor renowned for turfgrass research, commends Martin on his achievement. McCarty received the Fred V. Grau Turfgrass Science Award and was named a Crop Science Society of America fellow in 2014.

“This award is recognized as the top academic award for a turfgrass faculty member, somewhat analogous to the Heisman Trophy in college football,” McCarty said. “On behalf of Dr. Martin, we express our sincere appreciation to all individuals and groups who made this possible and trust future endeavors will bring similar recognition to our great industry.”

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5 questions with STMA’s Abby McNeal, CSFM

October 10, 2017

Tomas Silvani from Buffalo Agency, the STMA’s public relations arm, recently spoke with former STMA President Abby McNeal, CSFM. McNeal is operations supervisor for the City and County of Denver Parks to learn more about the association’s International Committee and her involvement in the Dominican Republic field clinic and other topics:

What role did STMA play in facilitating a field clinic in the Dominican Republic?

STMA’s International Committee has been exploring ways we can extend our education to international audiences. We have been conducting outreach to various international “green” and “sports” associations during the past few years, and also explored conducting an event hosted exclusively by STMA in Brazil. We realized we really need a knowledgeable, on-the-ground source to help us put together an educational event. One of our committee members, Murray Cook, who consults with Major League Baseball, offered to connect STMA with upcoming training opportunities that MLB conducts. Our committee worked with Dr. Mike Goatley, who agreed to present on our behalf. Everything aligned for our participation in the clinic in the Dominican Republic — even Hurricane Irma veered away from the site.

How will this benefit sports turf managers internationally?

The more education and resources we can share with sports field managers around the world, the better the field quality and the safety of the playing surfaces will be for their athletes. It is our committee’s goal that our members in the U.S. also learn from those managing fields in other countries. In the Dominican Republic, for example, much of their field maintenance is done by hand, and their results are really amazing.

How important are seminars to the growth of the sports turf industry?

A rising tide raises all boats! Educated field managers contribute to the credibility of a profession. Compensation, respect from employers and peers, and an individual’s stature all are positively impacted when there is a commitment to continuing education. This drives growth within an industry. 

What has been your proudest moment with the STMA to date?

Serving the association for 9 years (and continued service since board election) and working to become STMA’s first female president. The overall strength and growth that I have seen from the members and the adaptation of the services that STMA provides it members in the last 20 years has shown how the industry has changed. I am proud to be a part of it and to help grow the association and advance our industry and its members. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring sports turf managers?

Network, Network, Network…. Find ways to broaden your strengthens and enhance the areas you need to make stronger. STMA is an amazing association and the members are what drives the strength of it. Anyone that is aspiring to be a sports turf manager today has so many resources and new technologies at their fingertips but the best one is the ability to use the associations members to learn from. Take the time to learn from each other and to share through networking. I have yet to find a member not willing to help another member. Sport turf managers are creative and knowledgeable and I will always be willing to share and learn from another in the industry. We can always grow and improve and networking is the best way to do that.


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New IPM bulletin now available from STMA

October 10, 2017

Integrated pest management (IPM) is an environmentally and economically effective approach to pest management. IPM programs identify weed, insect, and disease pests, and then use current, comprehensive information on pest life cycles and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to make a decision about managing pests by the most economical means and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment. The goal of IPM in turfgrass is to keep pest populations or damage at a tolerable level so there is no reduction in quality or safety of the turfgrass.

In turfgrass management, the essential tools for a successful IPM program include the pest triangle, prevention using proper cultural practices and scouting methods, and finally, the use of pesticides. Click here for a bulletin that discusses these three components in detail using various examples.

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McCurdy named CSSA rising star

October 10, 2017

The Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) named Dr. Jay McCurdy of Mississippi State University its CSSA Early Career Award winner. The award recognizes individuals who have made an outstanding contribution in crop science within 7 years of completing their final degree.

Coincidentally, McCurdy received The Lawn Institute’s Dr. Henry W. Indyk Scholarship in 2006, its first year. He is an assistant professor and Extension specialist at MSU. He received a BS from the University of Tennessee-Martin, an MS from UT-Knoxville, and his PhD from Auburn University. His research of weed ecology and management within urban ecosystems focuses upon decreased pesticide use and increased wildlife habitat.


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Registration for the STMA 2018 Conference is now open

October 3, 2017

Registration to the 2018 Conference in Fort Worth, TX, is open. Take advantage of the lowest registration rates by registering online. Go to, click on Member log-in at the top of the page, go to the shopping cart and click on 2018 Conference Registration. All of the options for the conference will appear for you to complete the registration. Don’t forget to reserve your hotel – rooms are nearly sold out.

SAFE: Conference Events and How to Get Involved

The 2018 STMA Conference in Fort Worth is expected to be our best yet, and to prove everything really is BIGGER in Texas, the SAFE Foundation is determined to have your week full of BIG exciting events.

SAFE, STMA’s charity, conducts a variety of fundraising activities during the STMA Conference to raise funds for scholarship, education, outreach and research. The continued success of these fundraisers is credited toward the generous donations from STMA members. But all the fun won’t be possible without your help!

How can you help, you ask? Easy. Donate! It is impossible for us to do this without you!

  1. Donate for the silent/ live auction
    2. Donate for the raffle
    3. Make a cash donation to The SAFE Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization.
    4. Become a supporting sponsor for the Topgolf event
    5. Sponsor a bowling lane

Who can participate in the bowling event?

Whether you’re competitive or not, guests will have free range to form teams or bowl individually. We encourage guests to have some fun with it and form teams based on chapter, state, category or any other combination! There will be prizes for top team and individual bowler.

The event will be open to all conference attendees! Pricing will be $75 per person, with $40 of the cost contributing to SAFE’s scholarship and education outreach programs. Bowling, shoe rental, food and drink ticket will be included.

What is the Topgolf event?

No golfing ability? No Problem! Every attendee at our tournament can play – golf pro or novice. For those who are new to the game, the pros at Topgolf will provide best-in-class instruction in a fun, high energy, non-intimidating atmosphere. Our avid golfers can tap into their competitive side all while having more time to check out the drink menu due to Topgolf’s self-scoring technology.

Players will be playing in a tournament play environment as individuals. There are up to 6 players per “bay” area – so if you wish to have players placed together, please let us know! There will be medals given out to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners as well as additional prizes to be won. Pricing will be $135 per person, with clubs, food and drink ticket included.

Auctions: How to donate!

If you would like to donate an item for the live or silent auctions, we ask that you fill out our Donation Form. Any donated items can be mailed to STMA Headquarters at the address provided above or left at the main conference registration desk with STMA staff members. We would love to share with you the amazing prizes we have in store as we get closer to the event, so please consider mailing donated items prior to the conference.

Learn more at

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The nuance of Growing Degree Day calculations

October 3, 2017

For 10 years now, I’ve been talking and writing about using growing degree day (GDD) models to schedule plant growth regulator (PGR) applications. But GDD models have many other uses in turf management. For example, there are models to predict when to apply products for Poa annua seedhead control, GDD models to predict when to apply early season DMI fungicides for dollar spot control, and models for insect emergence and control.

There are subtle differences between the many different GDD models found in turf. It’s important to understand these differences because they can be the difference between a model working great and being a massive failure.

What are growing degree days?

A growing degree day model is a way to track the accumulation of heat. Plants are “cold-blooded” like reptiles. Their biology, growth, and development is highly dependent on temperature. The classical example is corn development. Corn growth rate will increase as the average air temperature increases, up to 86°F. When the average air temperature is below 50°F, there is little new corn growth and development. By tracking the amount of heat accumulated (GDDs), farmers can estimate the corn’s growth stage.

The daily GDD is calculated as the average air temperature minus a base temperature where metabolism is minimal. Those daily GDD values are then added together to get the cumulative GDD, which is correlated to plant growth, or insect/weed emergence, or even the amount of PGR remaining in a turfgrass plant.

Different Factors to Consider

While the calculation is fairly straight forward, there are big differences between GDD models. Users need to understand these subtle differences for the models to work correctly:

Temperature scale: Most GDD models use degrees Fahrenheit (°F), but PGR models in turf use degrees Celsius (°C). Using °F for PGRs will result in too frequent of PGR applications. This wastes money and leads to over-regulation.

Model Start Date: This depends on the model. For PGR modeling, the model starts the day the PGR is applied. It is reset to zero the next time the PGR is re-applied. For predictions of emergence (i.e. seedhead treatment/emergence, insect treatment) it is important to know the start date. Some models start on January 1st while others start on February 1. This difference can have big impacts on the success rate of a GDD model.

Base Temperature: It is essential to use the correct base temperature and associated temperature unit (°F vs. °C). For PGR models, the base temperature is 0°C for cool-season turf but 10°C for warm season turf. The base temperature is 32°F for Poa annua seedhead control with Proxy while the seedhead flush model uses a base of 22°F.

Action Thresholds: All GDD models are just numbers unless there is some level of interpretation included with the number. The action threshold is the GDD when something is likely to occur or something needs to be done. For example, the PGR Primo Maxx needs to be applied every 200 GDD (base 0°C) to sustain yield suppression on a creeping bentgrass putting green but 300 GDD when applied to a creeping bentgrass fairway. It’s also important to know where action threshold was developed. The action thresholds may vary if a model is used outside of the region where it was developed. The PGR models have been verified across the country, but some models (i.e. seedhead control thresholds) may have a slightly different threshold in another region.

Tools to Help

There are great tools online to help use GDD models, and they are free. Michigan State University created a GDD tracker website to help predict pest emergence and schedule maintenance applications ( Users can visualize the northward progression of GDDs for different pest on a large map of the US. You can also add your email and ZIP code and receive notifications about timings. Maps include Embark and Primo/Proxy Timers, seedhead flush, early season DMI fungicide applications, crabgrass germination and PRE application, Japanese beetle, bluegrass billbug, and BTA egg laying.

For PGR timings, our GreenKeeper website ( is programmed to track the GDD from the day the PGR is applied. It also projects when a PGR will need to be re-applied, based on weather forecasts. GreenKeeper will determine the ideal re-application interval (action threshold) based on the grass species, mowing height/area type, PGR, and application rate. This free site also tracks other applications as well.

Bill Kreuser, Assistant Professor and Turfgrass Extension Specialist, University of Nebraska,
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Southeast Regional Sports Turf Conference & Trade Show

October 3, 2017
The North Carolina and South Carolina chapters of the STMA and its partners are proud to present the Southeast Regional Sports Turf Conference & Trade Show, November 13,14, and 15 at The DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Myrtle Beach Oceanfront.

The room rate for this year will be $72 and is inclusive of the resort fee. This does not include tax!

Please book your rooms early!!! Last years room block sold out by October 1st. The link to book is here: If the link doesn’t work, please copy and paste into your browser.

Option 2: To book by phone, please call the reservation number at 1-800-774-1500 and reference GROUP CODE: STM. You must use the group code for our rate!

Please Support our Presenting Sponsors: Ewing Irrigation – Helena – Jacobsen, Tri-State Pump – John Deere, Revels /Greenville Turf – Toro, Smith Turf and Irrigation -Vereens Turf

Conference Education will be updated on a regular basis—Please Check Back Often

November 13-Monday:

11:00 am-until John Deere Golf/Sports Turf Presents-Carolinas’ Cup Golf Scholarship Fund Raiser

12:00 pm-4pm Tour/Advanced Workshop Myrtle Beach Pelicans

Ashley Wilkinson, Charles Granger, Luke Yoder, Bill Deacon, and Cory Russell

8:30 pm: Vereens Turf Products Presents – The Welcome Reception

November 14-Tuesday

7:00-8:00 Helena Chemical Co. Presents- Breakfast (3rd Floor- Springs Room)

8:30-10:00 Smith Turf and Irrigation Presents – General Session (2nd floor Conference Center- Carolina Room)

Tim VanLoo, STMA President 2017

Keynote Address-Greg Blake

Greg Blake is a renowned public speaker around the country speaking to numerous companies and organizations. After this presentation, be prepared to be motivated and more professional at your job within the sports turf industry. Get your career on the positive track!

10:00-12:00 * NEW TIME * Trade Show (Lower Conference Floor-Exhibit Hall)

12:00-1:00 Jacobsen and Tri-State Pump Presents – Sports Turf Annual Lunch (3rd Floor- Springs Room)

1:00-3:00 Smith Turf and Irrigation Presents – Breakout Sessions (1st Floor-Atlantic Rooms)

1-1:50: Interactive Sessions

Come listen to experts at all levels to discuss different sports field problems. Choose one of four different sports field areas. Learn about the challenges of maintaining different fields. Bring lots of questions and be prepared to share your experiences. These are interactive sessions geared to the audiences’ contributions. Audience participation is strongly encouraged!

Baseball-Greg Burgess, Patrick Coakley, Matt Parrott- (Atlantic Room A)

Football-Clark Cox, Tony Leonard, Scott Thompson (Atlantic Room C)

Soccer-Jimmy Simpson, Ryan Bjorn, Andrew Love (Atlantic Room B)

General Athletic Fields- Scott Stevens, Ian Christie (Atlantic Room D)

2-2:50 Roundtable Discussions

Installing a new field? Having trouble maintaining your equipment? Ever thought about not overseeding your bermudagrass fields in the fall? Are you dealing with high traffic and other non-sports related events at your facility? In this segment of the program come hear from experts on how to build a field, maintain your equipment, not overseeding bermudagrass, and dealing with high traffic/use of sports fields. Our experts will share their experiences, as well as answer questions from the audience

Field Builders Panel-Chad Price, Nolan Thomas, Eric Holland (Atlantic Room A)

Reel/Equipment Maintenance-Chuck Dean (Atlantic Room B)

No Rye/No Problem-Scott Strickland, Ian Christie, Matt Parrott (Atlantic Room C)

High Traffic/Use sports fields – Shane Hohlbein, Patrick Coakley, Danny Losito (Atlantic Room D)

7:00: Ewing Irrigation Presents – Sports Turf Annual Social Gathering @ Damon’s Restaurant

(Less than 0.5 mi from the hotel) 2985 S Ocean Blvd, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

Nov 15-Wednesday:

7:00-8:00 Helena Presents Continental Breakfast (Springs Room)

8:30-11:30 Smith Turf and Irrigation presents – Pesticide Education (2nd floor Conference Center- Carolina Room)

Pesticide education day! Come update your license and learn more about safe chemical use on fields. Earn credits at these three education sessions

8:30-9:30 Nematodes bermudagrass – Dr. Jim Kerns

Over the past couple of years Nematodes have become a major issue in sports turf. These micro-organisms cause lots of damage that most managers don’t even realize before turf needs to be replaced. Come listen to this talk and learn how to diagnose Nematodes and get these organisms under control

9:30-10:30 Using Plant Growth Regulators – Dr. Travis Gannon

Are you hesitant on using Plant Growth Regulators on your fields? Worry no more. Listen to this presentation to hear about the many uses and benefits of PGRs. Make PGRs a part of your maintenance program and learn how they can save you time and money.

10:30-11:30 Best Management Practices in bermudagrass-Dr. Bert McCarty

There are many different ways to manage your bermudagrass, just as coaches manage their teams that are playing on your field. Coaches strive to have the best team, just as you strive to have a great surface. Find out the best management practices for bermudagrasses, so the grasses will perform for you. Use chemicals to safely maintain your fields and achieve your goals.

Categories: test feeds

Kansas State turf program grows well-rounded careers

October 3, 2017

This item originally appeared in Toro’s Grounds for Success September 28 newsletter:

Sure, the K-State Turfgrass Science program has plenty to do with the science of growing grass, managing water, and more. But what they’re also growing are graduates ready to succeed and advance through a variety of career stages.

“We have evolved over time to incorporate coursework into our program that we consider most important for students to succeed,” notes Jack Fry, Professor of Turfgrass Science at Kansas State University. That evolution includes coursework in hotel management and restaurant services in addition to the tradition turf science courses. “We feel golf course superintendents, somewhere along the career track, may have interest in becoming a manager of the entire facility.”

Career preparation includes a requirement of two internships before graduation. The goal is to make sure the students are well rounded and enter the workforce with industry experience as part of their education. Internships at golf courses, resorts, athletic facilities, landscape and maintenance companies, country clubs and more help ensure that graduations are prepared for a variety of opportunities.

Focus On Stressed Conditions

Because of its varying soil and climate conditions, Kansas is a difficult area to grow grass. “We deal a lot with stress issues, and in particular heat stress and drought stress and cold stress, so we put a lot of emphasis on that,” says Fry. Research conducted at Kansas State is helping to develop grasses that need less fertilizer, less pesticides, and even less water. The university continually researches with the goal of “finding grasses that fit and perform well under all those conditions with minimal input.”

Through variety trials that identify grasses that resistant to diseases and/or insects, the faculty and students are developing ways to create a more sustainable surface. As Fry looks to the not-to-distant future he sees a time where “you could potentially have a golf course superintendent that’s got a grass there that requires very little input.”

Emerging Technology And Business Management

Part of that commitment to future-focused progress involves making sure students are up on the latest industry technologies and manufacturing advances. Fry notes that Toro is one of the companies heavily involved in the education of the next generation. “Toro comes in and they spend a week telling students about the latest technology in the industry and how that applies to sports turf or golf courses.” Add the internships to the real-world education that students receive from industry partners, and it’s easy to see what Kansas State turf program graduates are so well prepared for a variety of career choices.

Still, success in the turf industry is much like success in any other industry — it all comes down to people communicating with people. That’s why the well-rounded preparation at Kansas State will always be an emphasis. “Communication is almost number one” for students, notes Fry. “They have to be able to manage the crew well, the budget well, so the business emphasis is still going to remain.”

Check out this video to learn more about how the K-State Turfgrass Science program is developing graduates and researching grasses that are each the future of the industry.

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Synthetic turf becoming the trend in Ohio Valley

September 28, 2017

Over the years, local school systems have been switching from the often laborious grass football fields that need watering, grass trimming and weekly line painting to the expensive-to-buy, yet easier-to-maintain, artificial fields. In addition to the lower-maintenance factor, it is easy to tell why school districts would want to install a turf field — they are stunning to look at. The “grass” is perfect, the lines are perfect and the school colors are beautiful and bold.

But with a price tag of $700,000 or more, do those attributes justify the cost?

The Switzerland of Ohio Local School District recently switched from grass to an artificial surface at River High School. It cost about $700,000 to install. Officials there believe that, with good maintenance, the field can last 15 years before it will need replaced.

The district used its recent oil and gas lease windfall to cover the cost of the field and a new press box. It also is planning improvements to athletic complexes and baseball and softball fields at two other schools in the district — Beallsville and Monroe Central — also funded with oil and gas money.

Regarding the improvements, the Switzerland school board vote to OK spending the money was not a unanimous one. Board member Beverly Anderson was the lone “no “vote on the spending.

Anderson said while she now supports the board’s decision, at the time she did not believe the district should spend such a large chunk of money. She wanted to first know how much money was coming to the district in the form of state and local tax allotments.

“We voted for more than just the turf field at River. We voted for athletic improvements totaling $2.6 million at River, Beallsville and Monroe Central,” she said. “I just thought we should wait until we get our next allotment to see where we were at that time.”

Anderson noted it is not just on athletics that the district is spending money, however. “We’re also spending a lot of time and effort and money on academics as well,” she said, referring to the district’s work to realign its curriculum. “I support my board members. I support the majority vote. And I support their decision.”

River High Principal Ed Trifonoff said the turf field is being used not just by the football team, but by elementary, middle and high school students during the school day.

“I really think the kids are super excited about having a new playing surface. It affords multiple opportunities for athletics and gym classes during school — we’re not limiting it to football,” he said. “It’s a true family environment. We try to do right by the kids.”

For example, in the past if it rained on a Wednesday the students would not be allowed to use the natural grass field for gym class the next day for fear of damaging it before a Friday night football game. Now, though, there is no concern about the new artificial surface becoming clumped with mud.

“There is no limit in terms of extracurriculars. Wrestling and track can use it for conditioning, and so can the baseball and softball teams. It’s a true multi-playing surface,” Trifonoff said.

He added the district’s main goal is to keep the students safe. But if the new turf field makes them happy, too, that’s a bonus because happy children typically make for better students.

The Bellaire Local Schools District does not have an artificial turf field because its stadium is in a flood zone, but it is in the process of installing a turf practice field near its new field house. Bellaire Superintendent Darren Jenkins said the field will be 80 yards long instead of the regulation 100 yards, because there is not enough space for a complete field; it will be regulation width.

Because it is smaller than usual, it will cost $250,000 to install. The district used money from its permanent improvement fund to pay for the practice field, which is being installed by Motz Group of Cleveland. After conducting a cost analysis of re-installing a grass practice field versus a turf one, it was discovered the price, including maintenance, would be about the same, Jenkins said.

“That area gets a lot of use not only by the high school teams for practice, but the junior high as well,” Jenkins said.

The new practice field is expected to be ready by Oct. 1. It will complement the adjacent new fieldhouse, referred to by school officials as the Physical Education Center.

“In addition, in the spring because the whole facility is for our athletic program, the baseball and softball kids can start fielding groundballs and hitting as soon as the snow melts,” Jenkins said. “Half the teams we play this year have turf, so competitively this allows us to keep up on those teams we play.”

Jenkins noted the school district, thanks in large part to its fiscal planning and recent passage of a school tax levy by voters, was able to bring back its elementary music and art programs, as promised. He also noted preliminary numbers show student enrollment appears to have stabilized.

“We’re looking at what else we can do in the future as the budget permits,” he said.

Jenkins noted because the football field is in a flood-prone area, turf companies will not provide a warranty on an artificial field if it were installed.

The Martins Ferry City School District recently re-installed a new turf football field at its stadium on First Street. This is the second turf field placed there with the first having been installed in 2007. That surface was expected to last about eight years and instead lasted 10 years, giving the district a little more for its money. Officials hope by again taking good care of this new turf, which has a warranty of 12 years, it will actually last 15 years the second time around.

Martins Ferry City Schools Superintendent Jim Fogle said the second field actually cost one-third less than the first field. The first time around infrastructure had to be installed, such as drains and different types of gravel, before the turf was put on top.

“The cost of maintenance is minute compared to a grass surface. We have to groom the turf. It’s a tool like a rake that is pulled behind a tractor,” Fogle said.

Fogle said Martins Ferry does not have a soccer team to use the field, but its baseball and softball teams use it for early season practices.


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Does Eastern Washington’s red turf impact players?

September 28, 2017

It’s red. Not just red, but really, really red. It is such a bright red that Roos Field at Eastern Washington University should have its own color.

Roos Red. If the light hits it just right during game day — like it did on a late December afternoon in 2010 — it almost gives the few blocks of Cheney, Wash., around the football field a red glow hue.

When the university gave the go-ahead for the red SprinTurf, it went all-in on the color. EWU alum and former NFL All-Pro Michael Roos donated $500,000 and the result was getting the stadium renamed after him. The results since that day have been noticeable, both with the team and the notoriety of having a color of field nobody else has in the country.

“It’s a very unique field, you get a lot of people that think it’s unique,” said Dave Cook, the school’s sports information director. “It’s been a great thing for our university.”

It was a great thing for the football program, but more because of the type of surface. An up-tempo, spread offense that puts a premium on speed, the artificial turf played right into the philosophy of former head coach Beau Baldwin, who took over the head coaching position in 2008.

The Eagles went 6-5 and 8-4 in Baldwin’s first two seasons, but once the red turf came into vogue, so did the team. And it didn’t hurt it had running back Taiwan Jones, a speedster who was made for turf.

The Bison found that out in the 2010 playoff game when Jones had 230 yards rushing before leaving the game with an injury.

“That year it was more important getting Taiwan on turf instead of grass,” Cook said. “It’s a surface you can practice on year-around, too. Probably the benefits of the red have been marketing, but the benefit of the turf has really changed the program in a lot of ways.”

Really, the color is eye changing at first sight, but that’s about it. Bison defensive line coach Nick Goeser remembers first walking onto the red turf the day of the 2010 playoff game.

“When you first get out there, it’s hard on the eyes the first couple of steps,” he said. “But when it comes down to it, you’re playing on a football field. It’s a 100-yard field and the same old, same old. It’s a tough place to play.”

And that’s the general theory on the uniqueness of it. Once you get used to it, it’s like any other field. The players don’t notice it much because at field level, you’re looking horizontal all game — not down at the turf.

That’s not the case for those in the press box like Cook and sportswriter Jim Allen of The Spokesman-Review newspaper, who’s covered the team since 2011.

“You have to get used to it,” Allen said. “It doesn’t bother me. Fans have never complained about it, and I think they view it as something to be known for. I know there are constant comments from rival fans, but so what?”

Goeser said the Bison players see it all week on film, so it’s not like it will be a surprise when they arrive at the stadium late Saturday morning. They saw it on film last year, too, in the week leading up to the Eastern Washington game at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.

It will be NDSU’s first trip back to the red turf since that fateful FCS quarterfinal playoff game in 2010, when the Eagles won 38-31 in overtime. It featured a controversial ending when a loose ball by NDSU quarterback Brock Jensen near the EWU goal line was ruled a fumble and the Eagles recovered, thus ending the game.

There was talk about it by some Bison players before last year’s game – the first since the 2010 clash. Goeser is the only current coach on staff who was a part of the 2010 team.

“I doubt they’ll say a whole lot about it this year,” Goeser said of his players earlier this week. “I know last year they asked me a little bit about it and what I remember. They wanted to know what happened, the dynamics, the locker room, the turf and all that stuff. But it’s not a big deal – it was so long ago it seems and we’ve moved on. It’s a new team, new program and new coaches.”

At its inception, Eastern Washington was the third school in the country to install an alternate-color field. Boise State, of course, was the first with its all-blue look. There are now seven with the latest being Coastal Carolina going to all-teal turf in 2015.

The only other FCS school is Central Arkansas, which has alternate gray and purple turf every five yards.

But on game day, it’s just football for the players.

“It’s just another field,” said Bison linebacker Nick DeLuca. “Honestly, green, red, it doesn’t matter. It’s all the same.”- by Jeff Kolpack, The Bismarck Tribune


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BYU to install synthetic turf & heater for baseball

September 28, 2017

The BYU baseball team has played on the same grass on its home field since the mid-1960s.

But that’s about to change.

In June, construction crews began tearing out the natural grass to make way for artificial turf that will cover the entire field, and as part of the renovation, a heater will be installed beneath the surface.

“By having all turf, it’s going to allow us to practice more in January and have more series here in late February,” said coach Mike Littlewood. “The heater is going to keep up with four to six inches of snow an hour. Unless it’s snowing or raining at the time, we’re going to be able to get on this field. It’s a competitive advantage and it closes that gap between us and the warm-weather schools.”

Former BYU player Dave Decker donated $1 million to pay for the heater.

“He came through big time,” Littlewood said.

Last spring, Littlewood and associate athletic director Brian Santiago traveled to Atlanta to visit artificial turf companies.

“The three biggest companies are there,” Littlewood said. “That’s where they make all the turf in the world. We hired someone to do the project. They’ve done Lambeau Field (Green Bay Packers), the (Minnesota) Twins’ field, the (Tampa Bay) Rays’ field. They know what they’re doing.”

Among the major factors in the decision to install artificial turf included playability and safety.

“Left field (at Miller Field) is five feet higher than home plate. That was because of the irrigation drainage, the way they had to do it back then,” Littlewood said. “We’ll see a flat infield and a one percent grade on the whole thing. When people see it they’re going to think it’s a natural grass field. It’s going to look just like natural grass. It will be pretty amazing. It’s going to be big league.

“This particular turf comes in different heights. We want the dirt area to play like dirt and the grass area to play like grass,” Littlewood continued. “We’re going to try to make it like a natural grass field. The dirt is going to be faster than the infield grass but the infield grass is going to be faster than the outfield grass. The mound is going to be turf, the plate’s going to be turf. The only dirt on this field is going to be in one of the three bullpens.”

While other schools like Kansas, Kansas State, Portland, San Francisco, Oregon and Oregon State have all- artificial turf fields like the one BYU is installing, BYU will be the only one with a heater underneath.

“I think people will be impressed,” Littlewood said.

Littlewood played baseball at BYU from 1985-88, years before Miller Park was built, and he said the new artificial turf is another big upgrade.

“I remember when I played here, we just had a chain link fence,” Littlewood recalled. “When I played third base, the glare off those metal bleachers was unbearable. I don’t feel sorry for our players one bit.”- by Jeff Call, Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City)


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Steep upper bowl at Barclays Center blamed for falls

September 28, 2017

No wonder these seats are called the nosebleeds.

The steep upper bowl of the Barclays Center has prompted at least four lawsuits from folks claiming they were crushed by fellow patrons who tumbled over the sheer, narrow, dark rows or stairs.

“I just heard a ‘Watch out!’ and like a split second later, a pretty hefty guy landed on my back and on my neck,” said Kenneth Silver, 58, who was hit by a flying fan at a March hockey game.

Silver, who once had a regular seat in the upper level, said, “It’s almost like people are standing on top of each other. This is the most extreme arena I’ve seen in the New York area, and I’ve been in almost every one.”

His lawyer said the 19,000-seat Brooklyn venue’s “defective design” contributed to the incident.

The Manhattan man is just the latest to gripe about the Atlantic Avenue arena’s precipitous cheap seats.

In 2015, a boy at WWE’s Summer Slam was hit by a stumbling, “visibly intoxicated” patron who couldn’t navigate the stairs in Section 228, the child and his dad said in court papers.

In 2013, Long Islander Elizabeth Silver was at Billy Joel’s New Year’s Eve show when she fractured her wrist sitting in Section 211. An apparently drunken fan toppled into her, according to her lawsuit.

The problem was clear as soon as the arena opened in 2012 with a series of concerts by Jay-Z.

Sara Smith of Manhattan sued after breaking her wrist at one of those shows when the drunken lout behind her lost his footing and sent her flying.

She sought out security when the “rowdy” guy spilled beer on her hair, but after 15 minutes, no help arrived.

“He fell into me, and I flipped into the row in front of me. With force,” she said, according to a court transcript. “My face struck the railing. My legs were all bruised, and you know, everything hurt at this point, so I didn’t know what I had broken. I was just really scared.”

Fans around her started screaming, and her friend tried to scold the falling man, but he simply shrugged and climbed back into his own seat, court records said. It’s unclear if Barclays security made any effort to identify him.

Nearly 10 million people have gone to Barclays since it opened, said a spokesman who denied the arena has a falling-fan problem.

Smith and the boy’s family eventually settled their lawsuits for undisclosed sums. Elizabeth Silver’s case is pending, said lawyer Michael Castro, who said he has gotten at least a dozen calls in less than two years from injured Barclay’s customers.

While inebriated fans are part of the problem, the steep incline of the upper bowl is also a factor in the frequent falls, as is the dense seating, which leaves little room between rows for people to safely pass each other, the lawyer believes.

“I think you have a situation that’s already dangerous, and now you add in alcohol and it makes it exceedingly dangerous,” he said.

The steep design of arenas is meant to bring fans that sit high closer to the action, architects and designers said.

“You don’t want to feel detached from the sport,” said Nader Tehrani, dean of Cooper Union’s Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. “You want the sweat to hit you.”

Some facilities, like opera houses and medical theaters, are intentionally steep to allow the audience the best view. Soccer stadiums in Europe and South America are “super steep,” Tehrani said, including the famed La Bombonera in Buenos Aires, where the upper deck has a vertigo-inducing 45-degree incline.

The upper bowl at Barclays Center sits at a 36-degree incline.

An arena spokesman called that “standard” for modern arenas, adding that at least nine other NBA arenas have a 36-degree pitch, and three others have 35-degree inclines.

Some experts disagreed.

Most sports venues in the United States typically have upper seating with an incline of 30 to 33 degrees, said James Renne of the Detroit-based firm Rossetti Architects, which designed Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ.

The recently “transformed” Madison Square Garden reshaped its upper bowl during a $1 billion, three-year renovation. It improved sightlines, put fans 7 to 10 feet closer to the action, and made the area 17 percent steeper. But those changes still brought the upper bowl’s pitch to only about 30 degrees.

At Citi Field, which opened in 2009, the upper-level incline is only 32 degrees. Red Bull Arena, which opened in 2010, is 33 degrees. Data for Yankee and MetLife stadiums was not available.

Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, where two fans fell in the upper seats last year, has a slope of 34 degrees.

The higher the degree of incline, the steeper the stairs. There also is less legroom, and a feeling that getting to a seat is like walking a tightrope.

With little room to spare between rows, and cup holders that further block the space, fans in Barclays’ less-expensive seats struggle to walk past each other.

“Many fans are not comfortable with a steep bowl. You want more room when you go up higher,” Renne said. “There is a perception about the danger of falling.”

But there is no standard angle for upper-level seating, and building codes can allow for steep seating areas, he said.

Still, inclines of 34 degrees or more can start to feel “too steep,” Renne said. “It’s just not viable to sit in a seat in that kind of scenario or angle. There’s a threshold.”

It’s unclear how often fans fall because of the dicey designs, or if arenas and stadiums are required to keep track of the incidents.

“I’ve heard of people falling up there and people complaining it’s too steep,” said one Barclays worker who did not want to be named. “Most of the time when people fall, though, it’s because they’re intoxicated. I always tell people, ‘If you know someone with vertigo, don’t bring them up there.’ ”

Another worker added, “Even sober, I don’t even go past Row 15. It’s crazy up there.”

One Brooklyn Nets fan said she refuses to sit upstairs at the Barclays Center. “It makes me nervous,” she told The Post.

Kenneth Silver, who got hit at a New York Islanders game in March, was forced to leave the arena.

Barclays Center wouldn’t pick up his medical costs and has ignored requests for a copy of an incident report, his lawyer, Dean Vigliano said.

“It’s a shame when a dedicated hockey fan goes out for a night of enjoyment, and ends up spending a night in the hospital because of defective design and inadequate safety,” Vigliano said.

Silver, who hurt his neck, knee and hip in the incident, said he had seen others get struck by falling fans in the Brooklyn arena’s cheap seats but now that it’s happened to him, he’s done with the upper bowl at Barclays.

“I’ll never sit up there again. It’s just too dangerous,” he said. “It’s not a normal arena.”

Barclays Center complies with the city’s safety codes and “was built to the highest safety standards in the industry,” said the spokesman.- by Kathianne Boniello and Dean Balsamini, The New York Post

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School district, county sign agreement on turf field use

September 26, 2017

Cecil County (MD) Public Schools and the Cecil County government signed off on an agreement last week that streamlines the way the public will rent turf athletic fields as both embark on a decade-long project to install such fields at county high schools.

“Our collaborative partnership will result in healthier, physically active communities,” said Cecil County Executive Alan McCarthy during a Wednesday afternoon press conference at the County Administration Building. “The investment of county dollars will feature the balance between strategic growth of recreational facilities through the county and the renovation of the currently existing facilities. This is far more efficient.”

McCarthy also said he viewed the expansion of parks and rec programs in the county as one prong in the fight against the growing opioid epidemic, which has claimed more than 40 lives in the county already this year, a 50 percent increase over 2016.

“It will provide our young people with more opportunities to get involved with wholesome activities,” he said, later adding, “If this can keep one, two, three or four children out of harm’s way, I think it’s been a very good capital investment.”

CCPS Superintendent D’Ette Devine said she was excited to bring a new level of resources to Cecil County student athletes.

“Our CCPS athletes will finally enjoy what Harford County competition has had for quite some time,” she said, later adding, “I think it’s a good investment for the youth of this county to be able to provide them with opportunities that their peers around the state already enjoy.”

The agreement, formalized as a 30-year memorandum of understanding between the parties, pertains to the new turf fields being developed at CCPS high schools, but also creates connections between the school system and Cecil County Department of Parks and Recreation for mutual usage of facilities. That connection will allow parks and rec to host its programs in places it previously could not, as it was bound to county-owned lands. With no county-owned recreational parkland below the C&D Canal, it could open up new opportunities closer to home for southern county residents.

While the scheduling authority for the newly completed Perryville High School turf field at the football stadium, as well as any future turf fields at schools, will now move to the county parks and rec department, CCPS will retain scheduling authority for any other school facility. After examining how to help address deferred system wide maintenance costs, CCPS began charging outside groups for use of its facilities three years ago, and last year brought in about $90,000.

Under the agreement, outside groups from Cecil County will be charged $30 an hour to rent a turf field at a CCPS high school, while non-resident groups will be charged $150 an hour. For both, a $75 per hour fee will be charged for usage of field lights during nighttime events.

The agreement gives priority of usage for the turf fields to a school’s athletics, education and extracurricular programs, and user groups connected to the school, including parent-teacher associations and boosters, up until 6:30 p.m. on weekdays. Between 6:30 and 10 p.m. on weekdays, only a school’s team game can supersede the parks and rec’s priority to the turf fields. On Saturdays during the school year, CCPS will have priority usage until noon, with only a rescheduled team game or annual school event superseding parks and rec’s priority afterward. On Sundays, as well as during summer months, parks and rec will have priority all-day.

Maintenance of the new turf fields will be borne by both the county and school system, with each responsible for damage during their usage. Any outside organization that uses the facilities must show proof of insurance for damage liability.

The MOU also explicitly prohibits advertisements of any kind while using the facilities, which potentially could help offset costs associated with a youth sports league, for example. Devine said is something could be reconsidered in the future, and County Parks and Rec Director Clyde Van Dyke noted that the MOU will be reviewed by both parties every year for potential changes.

While CCPS has received feedback from outside user groups on facility rentals in the past, neither CCPS nor the parks and rec department sought input from the public on the MOU prior to its signing Wednesday, according to officials.

The goal remains to replace all five grass high school fields with synthetic turf within the next decade, completing about one school every two years, officials said. The first field, at Perryville High School, will open to the public later this month.

The next school to be prioritized has not been identified, but factors such as proximity to Calvert Regional Park — where the county funded the installation of one turf field and seven sodded fields, existing field conditions and user base would be considered, Van Dyke said. While Rising Sun High School is less than 2 miles away from Calvert Regional Park, he added that the school’s field was still proposed to be upgraded, explaining that the high school would often be rented along with Calvert Regional Park for large tournaments that need in excess of 12 fields.

When it was first proposed nearly a decade ago and lobbied to fruition during former County Executive Tari Moore’s administration, Calvert Regional Park aimed to compete for a slice of the lucrative sports tourism industry. Open for two years now, Calvert Regional Park’s usage has been “consistently growing,” Van Dyke said.

“It’s not just our in-house programs, but all CCPS schools have competed there and a growing number of independent users, such as soccer programs and the like,” he said, specifying that currently use is more one-off games or practices rather than large tournaments. “We have three more fields at Calvert being sodded as we speak, and as those come online, we’ll be more competitive in the marketplace.”

While other mega-complex projects have taken off in the region, such as DE Turf in Frederica, Del., which features 12 turf fields, Van Dyke noted that such facilities come with a much higher cost to users.

“As marketplace continues to get saturated with user groups and tournament organizations, they’re looking for quality facilities at better prices. And right now that’s what we’re offering,” he said, noting the parks and rec department consistently receive positive reviews from users.

Calvert Regional Park may also target differing user bases than competitors, as evidenced by the recent contract to host the University of Delaware’s intramural ultimate Frisbee games, Van Dyke said.

While some critics have questioned spending about $1 million per turf field when other needs exist, Van Dyke noted that grass athletic fields are difficult to maintain because their constant usage doesn’t allow time for reseeding and repair. Time of lesser usage, namely summer and winter, aren’t conducive for growing grass.

McCarthy also added that he does not believe that the turf fields need to produce a large amount of revenue in order to be deemed a success.

“In my opinion, this is a quality of life issue for the resident of Cecil County and if we happen to make a little bit of money to defray the expense that’s perfectly fine. But I never thought for one second that these would be major income-producing events,” he said, noting that Cecil County spends only a fraction of what other counties do on parks and recreation.

Perryville Mayor Jim Eberhardt also noted that the turf field projects also produce something more intangible.

“Don’t overlook the immeasurable sense of pride for the student body and the community,” he said.

McCarthy agreed, adding, “There is a lot of pride that comes along with having nice things. This is something you can really showcase.”

Categories: test feeds

STMA President Tim Van Loo, CSFM, featured in Ag story

September 26, 2017

As we really get into the college football season, no matter who you cheer for, we need to recognize and appreciate all of the people who make the sport possible. Not just the football players, or the coaches, or the fans, but also the farmers. That’s right; turfgrass farmers make our favorite fall (and winter) sport possible.

It’s harder to make grass grow on a football field (or any sports field for that matter) than it is to grow the grass in your front yard. There is a lot of science, precise measurements, and work that goes into making that field green for our favorite players to run on week after week.

Tim VanLoo, athletics grounds manager at Iowa State University, explains some of the process of managing about 55 acres of athletics, practice, and game fields at his university.

See more here

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Selective creeping bentgrass control in fall

September 26, 2017

Unsightly patches of creeping bentgrass can be selectively controlled in Kentucky bluegrass, tall fesuce, or perennial ryegrass with mesotrione (Tenacity). Control with Tenacity is most effective in fall, and can be achieved with numerous application rates and frequencies. Read more and see photos here

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Turfgrass research on solid ground in GA

September 26, 2017

University of Georgia, state and industry leaders cut the ribbon on Sept. 21 signifying the official openings of three new turfgrass research and education facilities on the Griffin, Tifton and Athens campuses. The largest of the facilities is on the UGA Griffin campus, where the ceremony took place.

During the 2014 legislative session, Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia General Assembly appropriated funds for the statewide turfgrass facilities enhancement project.

“The University of Georgia remains very grateful to Gov. Deal, the General Assembly, the chancellor and the board of regents for their support of this important project,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “The construction of new turfgrass research and education facilities will produce tremendous benefits not only for the university community but also for the agriculture industry, which is central to the state’s economy.”

UGA has 22 scientists whose primary responsibilities are related to turfgrass and another eight faculty members who have some involvement in turf-related projects. They support the turfgrass industry by conducting research, educating industry professionals and training students who will become future industry leaders.

The new Turfgrass Research Building in Griffin sits close to the campus’s turfgrass research plots. The building houses seven turfgrass scientists, their staff, postdoctoral research associates, visiting scientists and graduate students. The facility includes modern laboratories, offices, conference and classroom space and attached greenhouses.

“Even though we have an excellent team, our buildings and greenhouses were old. Now we have state-of-the-art facilities, and the team can all be located in the same building,” said Paul Raymer, a Griffin-based UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences professor and turfgrass breeder. “Entomologists, plant pathologists, agronomists and support staff were scattered across campus in six or seven buildings. Now we can work together in a facility specifically designed to support our turfgrass research program.”

On the UGA campus in Tifton, old facilities have been replaced with new greenhouses and a headhouse facility to support UGA’s expanding warm-season turf breeding program. On the main UGA campus in Athens, scientists now have new greenhouses and a combination classroom and office complex to use for undergraduate teaching and research programs.

“These world-class facilities will enhance UGA undergraduate and graduate education programs, enable our turfgrass scientists to conduct cutting-edge research, and enable the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to retain and recruit the top turfgrass scientists necessary to ensure a prosperous future for the vital Georgia turfgrass industry,” said CAES Dean and Director Sam Pardue.

UGA-bred turfgrasses covers lawns, championship golf courses, urban green spaces, and Major League and Little League playing fields in Georgia and across the nation and the world. Since 1990, the UGA Turf Team has generated close to $12 million in royalty income.

Turfgrass is a $7.8 billion industry in Georgia, accounting for 87,000 jobs. For more information on UGA’s turfgrass programs, visit

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Toro announces 2018 Super Bowl Sports Turf Training Program

September 19, 2017

The Toro Company is pleased to announce the 16th annual Toro Super Bowl* Sports Turf Training Program. In January 2018, one lucky turfgrass science student will travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to help the grounds crew prepare the field for the biggest game in football. With an extensive history of supporting student scholarships and educational activities, Toro and the National Football League * are proud to offer this unique learning experience.

Toro equipment and representatives have been involved in preparing the stadium and practice fields for the Super Bowl for almost 50 years. Starting with the inaugural World Championship in 1967, the NFL* grounds crew has relied on Toro for its expertise and equipment in preparing the game field and multiple practice facilities. In 2002, the organizations partnered to establish the Toro Super Bowl Sports Turf Training Program.

Through the Sports Turf Training Program, Toro and the NFL’s Super Bowl grounds team collaborate to offer a program aimed at enhancing the skills of emerging sports turf professionals. This program provides hands-on experience in establishing and maintaining one of the highest quality and safest playing surfaces in the world. This year’s recipient will work alongside NFL field director, Ed Mangan, George Toma, and the Super Bowl grounds crew at U.S. Bank Stadium on synthetic turf maintenance, logo painting, field preparation for media day, halftime preparation and field clean-up. Beginning on January 27, 2018, the winner will be on hand at U.S. Bank Stadium preparing the field leading up to the game on February 4, 2018.

To be considered for the program, applicants must complete and submit an application form, as well as a 500-word typed essay, describing the applicant’s professional goals. A reference and résumé are also required.

Entries must be received by October 20, 2017. Applicants must be enrolled in at least the second year of a two-year turf program, or in at least the junior year of a four-year turf program. The application must include the contact information of a school advisor or representative, as well.

The winner will be notified no later than November 4, 2017. Applications can be completed online here.  For additional information, potential applicants can learn more about the program by consulting with their school’s turf program.

Any questions or comments can be directed to

*Super Bowl, National Football League and NFL are a registered trademarks of the NFL.

About The Toro Company
The Toro Company (NYSE: TTC) is a leading worldwide provider of innovative solutions for the outdoor environment including turf, snow and ground engaging equipment, and irrigation and outdoor lighting solutions. With sales of $2.4 billion in fiscal 2016, Toro’s global presence extends to more than 90 countries. Through constant innovation and caring relationships built on trust and integrity, Toro and its family of brands have built a legacy of excellence by helping customers care for golf courses, landscapes, sports fields, public green spaces, commercial and residential properties and agricultural fields. For more information, visit

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