Football Field Maintenance

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Carlos Benz, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Carlos Benz

    Carlos Benz LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    We are maintaining a football field for a church school. The football field is used as a multipurpose field and there are kids playing there all day Mon-Fri. As a result of this high traffic, the grass is not doing so good. There are no bald spots, however the bermuda grass is not growing and has a yellow color. We have tried aerating, fertilizing, overseeding, however there has been little improvement. The field gets watered regularly as well. The soil is really compacted due to the high traffic, and grass do not seem to grow.
    We have proposed to close part of the field so the grass has time to recover, however the church mentioned they need to whole field.

    Is there any other treatment or recommendation that we can follow to help the condition of the field?
  2. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,858

    Ok here's the deal.

    Think about it like this.

    An ice rink.
    Its got a zambownie (sp?)
    What happens if the rink doesn't schedule time for the ice to get maintained?
    you couldn't use it any more right?

    Ive personally never witnessed an athletic surface that was so crunched for time and so tightly scheduled as an ice rink.
    recreation, special events, classes, hockey, practice... I know of rinks that are actually open 24/7.

    Well, this is what the church is doing to their grass.
    They've over scheduled it.

    "I need to put this plywood on the grass, ALL the grass, it needs to be on there all week long and not move"
    followed by
    "why doesn't the grass look great"

    Here's another thought.
    Why do parks like in new york city say "keep off the grass"
    Seriously why is it there?
    ITs because there is and would be even more...SO much foot traffic it would kill the grass.

    Do you hunt?
    What grows in an animal trail?
    Thats why you can even see the animal trail.
    The foot traffic is too high and too often for the vegetation to grow there, in the middle of a forest.

    There's tons of examples.
    But the answer is simple.
    They HAVE to get the FUDGE off that field, or resolve to the fact it will shortly become a mud pit with no grass.

    Football teams have a practice field for a reason, because they can't only use the one field they play on or it would look like crap.

    You have to schedule use, maintenance and rest cycles.
    They should have three or four days a week scheduled as "off time" no field use.
    that could be more, I'm not sure because you're talking about warm season turf I'm not familiar with.
    But it sounds like you couldn't even get them to agree to three days, so trying for more would be superfluous.

    You just have to explain he above to them, these are the facts of turf grass and athletic fields, its one of the reasons why schools and other facilities move toward spending lots of money on synthetic turf.

    So they have three choices.
    Schedule time people CANNOT use the field (an it will be often)
    understand the grass will die and there's nothing you can do it about it, if they have to replant the whole field it will be a YEAR before they can use it for athletic purposes again.
    Pony up the cash for a synthetic field.

    there are only those three choices.
    Rockchoplawn likes this.
  3. Todd73

    Todd73 LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Florida
    Messages: 2,583

    We had the same problem at the prep school I worked at. Stadium field saw traffic from Varsity and JV football then went right into Varsity and JV Boys and Girls Soccer, and if the soccer teams made it into the playoffs, then Varsity and JV Boys and Girls Lacrosse would join the mix. Talk about a PITA maintaining all those lines. We tried in vain to get the teams to use the practice field less than 100 yards away, but inevitably the teams would always gravitate to the game field for practice. One top of that, PE classes would go out on the game field. Then, the marketing guy would rent the field for events. Everyone would complain to us about the condition of the field, but no was was willing to stay off of it. Football coach was the worst. He would whine about bare spots but would run drills up and down both 40’s and the 50 and not move around because it was closer to the water and if they practiced in the stadium, they could turn on the sound system and practice to music. Jerk wad would also have the kids using sleds on the game field! It was in bad condition when I left a couple years ago, I’d be willing to bet it's mostly dirt by now.

    If the church is not willing to get off the field and let it recover, you’re in for an uphill battle that will most likely involve fingers being pointed at you, even though they are the cause. Good luck!
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,939

    Carlos, if Bermuda does not respond to fertilizer with dark green and rapid growth--you need a soil test. More water, too. Check the water--it could have salt in it. Growth will be slow in cool weather. More fertilizer--nitrogen--usually would help. About every 4 weeks. Rapid growth results in rapid self-repair. This requires more frequent mowing, of course. Overseeding with perennial rye in cool weather might help if the Bermuda is dormant or nearly so. Overseeding often with a seeded Bermuda might help. Fungus disease or insects are possible--get an expert to check. Some of these plans are expensive, of course.

    Are you in charge of the practice field? There are various rotation plans to reduce the wear on muddy, wear-prone spots. Move the goals to north and south instead of east and west. Reline the field 50 feet to the left.
    If you can, get the practice field looking better--and get cold water out there--maybe they would practice on the practice field. Can you get some ice? Gator Ade with ice in yellow coolers?
    Can you make sure the practice field is cut shorter so the ball rolls better?

    Be sure to point out the possibility of injury due to bare spots.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  5. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 5,347

    What is the weather in your area, in most parts of the country I would guess Bermuda is going dormant or at least slowing down greatly. What & when did you overseed with?

    Where are you located?
  6. Carlos Benz

    Carlos Benz LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    We are in south texas, thus the bermuda grass is not dormant yet as our temperature last week was in the 80s. We did the overseeding last month with winter rye grass. The rye grass going growing fine until the kids returned to school and started playing on the field again. We told the church they needed to keep the kids off the field unitl the grass settled but they could not accommodate this.
  7. Todd73

    Todd73 LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Florida
    Messages: 2,583

    More like they would not accommodate this. They could keep the kids off the field if they wanted to, but they don’t want to be inconvenienced. You’re in for a long, uphill battle.
    Carlos Benz likes this.
  8. ztman

    ztman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,237

    Should be easy to keep the little snot machines off the field. Next time one of the moms is within ear shot, pretend like you are on a phone call.

    "Yea Bob, when I went to check the scorpion den we found on the field I confirmed that we got rid of them, but it looks like some rattle snakes took up occupancy there. Should be another two weeks until we can get rid of those."

    The little turf killers will be on lock down polishing their trophies.
    Carlos Benz likes this.
  9. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 5,347

    Since you planted rye I assume your Bermuda is shutting down. Even with a high of 80 cool nights below upper 60's bermuda will more less quit growing.

    You did all you could. Only thing I could see to do different would be to start the rye earlier and be aggressive with the fert to get it going. I would imagine some varieties are more wear tolerant than others also.
  10. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,858

    give them a price for synthetic field.

    BOOM they see the light

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