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This publication is intended to provide sports turf managers and coaches an estimate of the costs of managing an existing bermudagrass football fi eld in Tennessee. Managing a healthy, wear-resistant football field requires routine mowing and fertilization. Bermudagrass football fields are most often maintained with a reel mower set at cutting heights from ¾ to 2 inches. Sports turfs often require more nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) than the soil can supply. Magnesium and iron applications can improve plant color. Applying calcium, a component of plant cell walls, may result in added plant strength. Sulfur, found in several proteins, may also be limiting. Fertilizing usually increases the amount of acids in soil and lowers the soil pH. Liming neutralizes these acids and increases the soil pH. Irrigation is necessary to supplement rainfall and prevent the soil from becoming too dry. Core aerifying several times during the bermudagrass growing season helps combat soil compaction. Matting (dragging) immediately after core aerifying mixes soil from aeration cores with thatch. Topdressing with sand (e.g., ¼-inch layer) after core aerifying helps smooth the soil surface and fills aeration channels. Applying sand topdressing at least once each year may eventually improve the compaction resistance of a soil high in clay. In September, bermudagrass can be overseeded with perennial ryegrass to provide student athletes a green, actively growing turf during winter dormancy. Insecticides are used, as needed, to control armyworms, cutworms, white grubs and other insects that commonly injure turf. The timely application of pre-emergence and post emergence herbicides will control troublesome broadleaf weeds and weed grasses. Although several diseases including dollar spot (Sclerotinia homoeocarpa, now known as Lanzia and Mollerodiscus spp.), leaf spot (e.g., Helminthosporium spp., now known as Bipolaris, Drechslera and Exserohilum spp.) and brown patch (Rhizoctonia spp.) can injure turf, fungicides are seldom applied to football fi elds. When necessary, treatments are most often made on a curative, rather than preventative basis.

Publication Number

SP651-1M-11/05 E12-4115-00-002-06 06-0009

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