Monday, August 5, 2013

Bermudagrass for Fall Sports

As many of you know, this summer has been cool and overcast in many parts across the Midwest.  Fall sports are beginning and bermudagrass surfaces are just filling in if seeded and are trending a bit weaker than in years past due to the cool weather.

Below is a photo of the softball field at Butler University.  The Riviera bermudagrass was seeded in late May.  98%+  cover exists in this photo:

Furthermore, how does the SmartTurf staff monitor bermudagrass playability and wear tolerance?  A couple ways are through a shear strength tester and pulling cores from the playing surface.

First, a shear strength tester is used to monitor shear strength.  For cool season turf - 15-20 foot pounds is typical.  For bermudagrass 30-45 foot pounds is the standard.  This year, shear strength is closer to 30 ft lbs.  Last year, in the extreme heat, 45 ft lbs was seen across the Midwest.  Here is a photo prior to testing with the Turf-Tec Toma Shear Strength Tester.

Another method to monitor playability and wear tolerance is to monitor rooting and thatch depth of bermudagrass.  Too much thatch, the field was divot and shear strength will be low.  Too little thatch, the field will wear very quickly as all the play takes place on the stolons and crowns of the plant.  Here is a photo of a core sample taken today.

This bermudagrass field will play very well and demonstrates great shear strength.  It will wear relatively quickly due to a lack of thatch.

These are just a couple ways to monitor bermudagrass prior to fall play.

Go to to learn more about J&D Turf.

Play on!

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