Outdoor Services Crew

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Topdressing Farrand Field

We finally have had the chance to topdress Farrand Field-a couple of months later than I would have liked. Farrand Field is the central gathering place on campus, it is surrounded by residence halls and students like to gather out there to study and play around. This is the intent of this field and it works great, but one major challenge is that the turfgrass is dormant so there is no healing ability this time of the year. There is a potential for severe damage to the plant due to excessive traffic. There are many reasons to topdress a field, preservation of grade is one, inputs of organic material is another, and last, protection of the plant during dormancy. Many golf courses tend to use this method and heavily topdress the greens during the winter to help protect the dormant plant from winter play. While the plant is dormant, ball indentations can't heal and foot traffic at pin locations can destory turf density.

For Farrand Field our winter topdress is to protect the plant and prevent turf loss during the non-growing season. For these winter topdress applications we use 50 tons of a combination of 80 percent sand, 20 percent organic matter mix. The process has many steps to it, but the end product is hard to notice. The feel of the field does not drastically change and the result in the spring is a much more dense turf stand that reacts and heals from winter scars quickly.

We have been topdressing the fields every year since 2002. Since Farrand has been re-built, there has been an increase in winter traffic which creates the need to topdress Farrand three times a year. The result has been great and the field is holding up really well with the amount of traffic it gets.