A beloved amphibian from our younger years once said, “It’s not easy being green.” His words are echoed by the middle of your football field, which encounters more than its fair share of use.
Concentrated play is at fault for making the middle of your field die quicker. “All the plays happen between the hash marks in the center of the field,” said Troy Smith National Sports Turf Products Sales Manager for Ewing Irrigation and former NFL groundskeeper.
Some field managers may not realize that the middle of the field needs to be treated differently than the field as a whole, but the middle of your green monster craves extra care and actually needs it to survive.
“It is a high wear area that demands a lot more attention than any other part of the field,” Smith added.
Preventative care is key in combatting worn turf areas and several measures can be taken to keep your field’s center healthy. One of those measures is preventative seeding. “If you take part in preventative seeding, when the wear happens you have seedlings coming up to replace the damaged grass,” Smith said. “A great time to put seed down is prior to practices so that the athletes cleat the seed into the soil for you!”
Another helpful measure comes in the form of fertilization. “Proper fertilization for optimum turf health helps the center of your field withstand the wear of the season,” Smith said. Methods like non-disruptive aerification allow for field playability during the aerification process. “Most fertilizers are weather dependent for their optimum success,” Smith said. Contact your local Ewing customer service representative to see what fertilizer is recommended for your area.
Sometimes it is too late for preventative care and the middle of your field is already dying. In this case, you need to evaluate the size of the wear area, your budget, and when you need to have field playable again. One option is re-sodding. “Re-sodding will be the quickest way to fix the middle of your field with instant greening of the area.” This method is often more expensive than others, but is the quickest way to make your field playable again.
If you are in a situation that allows for the field to have some time to recover (like off season) aerification—the process of creating holes in the field you can fill with fertilizer and seed—is a good option. “Aerification, along with overseeding and topdressing, is a slower process and can be accomplished during the off season of a field to build a strong turf grass plant for the next season that will better withstand wear and tear,” Smith said.
Do you have a football field center that needs some attention? Stop by your local Ewing store and let one of our trained professionals help you find the best products to fit your needs. Do you have specific football field questions for an expert? Contact Troy Smith with your questions.