October 2017

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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Page 21 of 51

www.spor 22 // October 2017 THREE OFTEN OVERLOOKED BENEFITS TO OVERSEEDING // By BRYAN OSTLUND & GRADY MILLER, PHD E veryone, from fan to player to coach, can appreciate a vibrant green playing fi eld. There is no doubt about the visual benefi t that overseeding a playing fi eld can bring. However, as a sports turf manager, appearance isn't the only factor to consider when weighing the options for a green fi eld year-round. Overseeding can generate additional benefi ts associated with turf health, fi eld playability and turf protection, all of which can play into the turf management and maintenance decision. Overseeding allows warm-season turf to appear green year-round. While warm-weather turf will go dormant when temperatures drop, a cool-season grass — such as ryegrass — will fl ourish. If you're not already overseeding your warm-season playing fi eld, consider these three distinct benefi ts that go beyond appearance when making the call this fall: Turf health By maintaining turf that actively grows throughout the cool season, like ryegrass, turf managers introduce a grass that acts as a protective barrier. Active growth holds up better than dormant grass, minimizing wear and tear that can lead to brown or bare patches. The rise in paint applications has created new opportunities to achieve a green playing fi eld despite dormant turfgrass, but offers only marginal improvement in wear tolerance (via encouraging growth later in the fall and earlier in the spring). Too much traffi c without any overseeding protection that allows turf to grow actively and recuperate can result in fi eld failure. By overseeding with perennial ryegrass, turf managers can achieve a lush green look year-round, while guarding against high-traffi c wear and tear that could otherwise result in signifi cant repairs or even the need for replacement come spring. Field playability Actively growing grass provides a more dynamic, softer playing surface that's better and safer for sports than a dry, dormant field. For regions that see heat fl uctuations even in the winter, a fi eld with actively growing turf offers a natural cooling effect, making it more comfortable for players. Additionally,

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