Maryland soccer field overseeding?

Discussion in 'Sports Field Management' started by jeffex, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,933

    My neighbor is part of the optimist club that helps fund the local soccer clubs. They are interested in improving their soccer fields. Right now they are 60% weeds and 40% grass with a few bare spots. There are 6 fields and 3 are approx 2 acres each and 3 about 1 acre each. The biggest problem I see is no down time and mother nature irrigation. I am going to a club meeting in Oct. to give them my proposal. I know money is tight and my main goal is to get the mowing contract. MY plan will include aerating the fields , 400 lbs of seed for the 2 acre and 200 lbs for the 1 acre -perennial rye, tall fescue , bluegrass mixture, starter fert, lime, and dragging the field to give soil contact and break up the cores. I will offer my services at a price for the entire restoration or with volunteer help from the club at a consultant price. My biggest thing is to make sure they understand the success for the germination will be hampered my watering and continued play. What are you thoughts on this plan?
  2. Marek

    Marek LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,388

    When is thier seasom over ? We have done alot of fields at the end of the season. Let me know if you get it , I can hook you up with a 72" slice seeder/renovator that we rent. We use Lesco team mate, should be 1.15- 1.25 per pound. Call Kieth or Todd at Lesco in Elkridge, really good guys to help you out. If it were me I would go a little higher on your rates.
  3. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,933

    thanks for the reply. season over at the end of oct. I would like to do the work mid oct a week or 2 before the last game. Good idea on lesco for supply. I usually do residential aerations and seedings and the rate of seed I use is 5lbs per 1000 sq ft approx but the soccer club is just beginning to budget for renovation so they have to start some where. My plan is to rent a tow behind plug aerator to be pulled with my 4 wheeler and the same with the spreader and drag harrow. MY goal is to 1st get the mowing contract and then show some improvement on the fields with proper mowing height and aeration and seeding. As I understand it they rely on dues and donations to fund their club . If they can see some improvement they may be able to raise more funding for a better field. As we know it takes some "green$$$" to make grass grow!!!
  4. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    I don’t see anything in the plan for weeds or fertilizer.

    Once you drop seed it will be a good long time before you can use an herbicide to kill weeds. After germination and a couple of mowings, there may not be time until next season (don’t know your climate well).

    I would spray for broadleaf weeds a week or so before you plan to begin aerating and seeding. Herbicides are cheap. Getting rid of the weeds chemically is a short cut to crowding them out with the good turf you plan to establish. It will also give the new grass more of a chance.

    I would get a complete fertilizer (mineral type) down right now to beef up the 40% they have. Somewhere around 0.75 # N/M – means you need around 300 pounds of nitrogen from whatever formulation you use to cover 9 acres. Giving the fertilizer 7-14 days to work before addressing the weeds will make a big difference.

    If all they did was the above, mow properly from now, and fertilize at least twice a year and spray for weeds once a year, they would see a big improvement. The work you described will make an even greater difference, but fertilizer and weed control are where I would begin.

    When you aerate and drop seed you will have much better results if you use a starter fertilizer. I would do both if they will go for it: 0.75 # now and a starter fertilizer, such as 18-24-12, at 1 # of P/M when you seed.

    By Thanksgiving these soccer will look much better.

    What is difficult with many of these places is changing the way they look at things. Often, they think renovation of the type you propose is the end of the story. As we know, continuing maintenance is important.

    If you get this established and introduce them to good mowing practices, they will want the fertilizer, weed control, and more aerating next year to protect what they have. If they will not or cannot go for the whole plan this year, try to get them to try the full plan on one field and let the results speak for themselves.
  5. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    Sorry, I just noticed you did mention starter fertilizer. Please back that part out of what I wrote.

    Also, don't do the lime and fertilizer within two weeks of each other or you could kill a lot of grass. I would want to see soil lab results before going to the trouble and expense of adding lime, especially if funds are limited and there is much work to be done. I am in Michigan, perhaps you already know from local conditions in Maryland that lime is needed.
  6. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,933

    The heavy clay soil in this area usually responds to lime and a soil test can vary on such a large field. I am not lisc. to apply herbicides or pesticides . I could sub that part out with no problem but I want to explain to the optimist club next month when I meet with them that some kids may be alergic to the chems and it will be THEIR decision ( and liability) not mine on that issue. This is a first step for them and your ideas are IMO correct but in the interest of time the more visits they want the more it will cost. i have had great success with applying everything the same day on my residentials here in MD. I use peletized lime and have never had a burn issue. One of the biggest problems with the fields upon inspection is the height of cut was too low . I will suggest 3" as is recomended for fescue in our region. fields appear to be cut closer to 2". My belief is IF they go for this and they can see some results ie; some of the parents notice the improvement, they may get more funds to keep it going.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2008
  7. CAT powered

    CAT powered LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,185

    When you're talking about mowing higher and all that you need to think for a minute about what the field is getting used for.

    On a soccer field the grass needs to be kept fairly short or the ball isn't going to roll like it should and the players will hate your mowing and complain to the coach who will complain to whoever who complains to you. Just letting you know about that before you get too many ideas in your head. I'm not saying it has to be scalped, but anything longer than 2 and a half inches and you're hampering their ability to play the game.
  8. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,933

    that is good advice! The beauty is the height can be adjusted to meet their needs vs what the grass needs. 2.5 to 2.75 is probably a good compromise. I should find out something next week at their meeting.

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