Wednesday
Sep102014

Ingram Football Field Renovation

Ingram ISD is a growing school district located in western Kerr County. An important part of managing growth within a district includes expenditures for new and improved facilities. One of the first improvements scheduled for Ingram's current growth plan was a major renovation to their football field by TMC.
 
Ingram's new football field renovation involved removing the previous common bermuda grass surface, installing new field drainage, a new irrigation system, improved sandy loam topsoil and new hybrid bermuda turfgrass. 
 

Ingram Football Field Renovation | TMC Sports Turf

 

“Our new field looks and feels amazing. The sense of pride it has brought our kids and community is remarkable. - Bobby Templeton, Superintendent at Ingram ISD 

 

Remove The Old Surface

Ingram Football Field Renovation | TMC Sports Turf | Strip Field of Old Turfgrass SurfaceThe day after graduation we began spraying to kill the existing vegetation on the field. We then stripped and hauled off the original surface creating the subgrade. Natural grass athletic fields like this need to have some sort of engineered slopes to promote positive runoff of surface water. We laser graded the field giving it a precise, uniform crown. Once that was complete, it was time to install the drainage system. 

 

Field Drainage

Ingram Football Field Renovation | TMC Sports Turf | Field DrainageIngram's field already had a fairly consistent downhill slope but it only had a single 4" drain inlet to take accumulated surface water and run it off the field through a small drain pipe beneath the running track. Anytime there was a moderate rain event, the water would hold on the field for a very long time as it SLOWLY drained through the small 4" inlet. In addition, the location and elevation of the existing high jump pad near the south end zone helped create a "bowl effect" that prevented the water from ever reaching the existing undersized drain. As a result, surface rain water would pool on the field and remain there for days, sometimes even running up and over the track in extreme situations.
 
We improved the field's ability to drain water by removing the high jump pad, grading the subgrade and installing 6 catch basins down each sideline designed to take water from the surface and deposit it into underground drain pipes. These newly installed underground sideline pipes slope downhill and tie-in to two new 8" exit drainage pipes beyond the south end zone. These pipes were installed after boring two new exit pipe locations under the running track. Two more catch basins were installed near the exit pipe locations to take any surface water off the field and into the exit drain pipes as well.
 

Photo Gallery - Ingram Football Field Renovation by TMC
Visit the photo gallery
 to see all of the photos from Ingram's football field renovation.

 

Irrigation

Ingram Football Field Renovation | Ingram Tom Moore WarriorsA brand new irrigation system was also installed as part of Ingram's new football field renovation. A new six row Hunter system designed to use their existing water well flowing up to 90 GPM from a 3 inch mainline. The well is situated atop the hill above the stadium and offers ample pressure aided by gravity. 
 

New Sandy Loam Topsoil

Ingram Football Field Renovation | Texas Multi-Chem | Sandy Loam Topsoil InstallationLike so many old natural grass athletic fields, Ingram's field was built a heavy clay topsoil many years ago. It's very hard to consistently grow high quality, healthy turfgrass in clay soil. A sports field with a heavy clay root zone is prone to compaction. Turfgrass cannot grow in heavily compacted soil profile because there is not enough oxygen due to the reduced pore space. This limits the overall plant growth due to restricted air and water movement into and through the soil.
 
We imported over 2100 cubic yards of clean sandy loam topsoil and laser installed it over the prepared subgrade. This allowed us to create a solid 6" sandy loam root zone over most of the field. This enhanced root zone is a significant improvement and will allow the school district to maintain a very high quality and durable grass surface. 
 

Tifway 419 Turfgrass

Ingram Football Field Renovation | Texas Multi-Chem | Tifway 419 Grass InstallTifway 419 hybrid bermudagrass (big roll sod, grown on sand) was intalled on July 21st as the new turfgrass surface. Tifway 419 is a significant upgrade from common bermudagrass and was developed specifically for athletic fields. It has a dark green color, is extremely durable, grows/repairs quickly and is far more resistant to draught conditions and diseases. With regular weekly mowing (ideal is 3 times per week during the growing season) at heights anywhere from 1/2" to 1", Tifway 419 has been an excellent sports field turfgrass for over 40 years and is an excellent playing surface for Ingram's new football field.
 

Ingram Football Field Renovation

 

From Grass Install to Game Time In Six Weeks

After only nine days, the field was ready for it's first mowing. After about two weeks we topdressed and fertilized for the first time and remained on our controlled grow-in irrigation schedule. Mowing three times per week during the maintenance grow-in period helped the field begin to develop a more dense growth habit as early as possible and was ready for the first game within six weeks.

“ I was unbelievably impressed with the job that was done. TMC kept us in the loop the entire way, stayed on schedule and were available anytime we had questions. They are absolute perfectionists and it shows in their product…and in their customer service. I would recommend TMC to anyone interested in a new or upgraded athletic facility. I have been dealing with athletic vendors for over twenty years and they are as good as any I have ever worked with. - Bobby Templeton, Superintendent at Ingram ISD 

 

Ingram ISD Football Field Renovation

 

Football Field Renovation by TMC

Is your football field due for a major renovation? Call TMC at 1-800-292-1214 to discuss the many available affordable options.  

Texas Multi-Chem | TMC Sports Turf | Texas Sports Field Contractor

Thursday
Feb272014

Synthetic Turf Crumb Rubber Infill

In another post we highlighted the fact that the EPA recently changed their opinion regarding the lingering safety questions surrounding synthetic turf playing surfaces using crumb rubber infill material. Synthetic turf | Crumb rubber infil | Artificial Turf

Turfgrass Producers International released an article in 2011 that presented the growing concerns of health care professionals regarding the consequences of carbon black nanoparticles present in the crumb rubber infill most commonly used on synthetic turf fields. The health threat of inhaling carbon nanotubes is compared to that of asbestos and it's ability to cause mesothelioma (cancer of the membrane lining the body's internal organs).

Article: "Is Artificial Turf Hiding an 800 pound gorilla?"

The article goes into depth on how nanoparticles can get to brain tissue and raises many questions regarding the safety of synthetic turf playing surfaces with crumb rubber infill. The case is made for a signficant increase in the level of testing of long term health affects of carbon black nanoparticles, calling it the "800 pound gorilla in the room that no one wants to talk about".

Tuesday
Jan282014

Infield Dragging

Skinned Areas

Infield skinned areas are the most used portion of any baseball or softball field and therefore need constant attention to insure good playing conditions. Infield skinned area soils should have 20 - 30% clay content. Because of this higher clay content, skinned areas can become too compacted which negatively impacts the overall quality of play.

Texas Multi-Chem | Infield Dragging | Baseball Field Infield Maintenance | Softball Infield Maintenance | Skinned Area Maintenance | Infield Conditioner

Infield conditioner products - such as Diamond Pro’s red infield conditioner - are mixed with the top layers of infield dirt to help keep the surface from becoming too compacted. The conditioner material absorbs and holds water which will help the field to dry out after a rain. It also allows you to water before an event without making the surface “sticky”.

If you have a good mix of sand, silt, clay and conditioner, you should be able to maintain a firm infield that will be workable, allowing you to create a quality playing surface.

Nail Dragging

The goal with infield skinned areas is to maintain a firm soil base with a ½ inch layer of loose soil and infield conditioner on top. Nail dragging will help achieve this goal. Nail dragging should be performed any time the surface of the skinned area gets too hard or divots are visible from recent player activity.

Prior to nail dragging, first wet the soil thoroughly and allow some time for the water to soak in. While the surface is still moist, pull a nail over the surface. If the nails or spikes do not penetrate the surface, put some extra weight on top of the drag (see above image). You may have to go over the surface several times in different directions to loosen the soil. After nail dragging, use a steel mat or cocoa mat drag to smooth the surface. Water the surface at the end of the day.

Infield Dragging Maintenance Reference
Nail Drag 1-2 times weekly In-Season
  Every 2 weeks Off-Season
Mat Drag After every use In-Season
  Once per week Off-Season

 

Mat Dragging

Mat dragging should be performed every day an infield is used. This will help keep the surface smooth. Take special care to fill in divots and other slow spots that may be developing. Apply a generous dose of water on the skinned area after your final drag.

Stay at least 6 inches away from the grass edge to keep from depositing infield dirt onto the grass. This will help prevent “lips” from developing around the infield edges.

Friday
Jan102014

Safety Of Synthetic Turf Infill In Doubt

Renewed concerns surrounding crumb rubber infill material has caused the EPA to change it's official public stance regarding the safety of synthetic turf playing surfaces.

Here's the link to a recent article discussing the issue further.

 

Synthetic Turf Fields - Are They Right For Your Organization?

The short answer...it depends. Individuals in charge of making sports field purchasing decisions should be aware there IS a choice. It's been our experience the valid reasons for choosing a synthetic turf playing surface over a natural grass field are primarily due to the overall water availability at a facility and the anticipated traffic patterns/usage of a field. Comparing real costs of natural grass athletic fields versus a synthetic turf surface will never come up in favor of synthetic turf. With higher initial construction costs and perpetual surface replacement, synthetic turf simply doesn't compare favorably in real world cost comparisons.

See our in-depth blog series on the subject for more information.

Texas Multi-Chem | Cost Comparison Natural Grass Synthetic Turf

Thursday
Nov142013

Ryegrass Irrigation and Maintenance for Sports Fields

In another article we discussed the various aspects of overseeding sports fields with ryegrass. One of those aspects involved irrigation. This article provides further details on proper irrigation and maintenance for successful ryegrass germination on your athletic fields.

Pre Germination Texas Multi-Chem | Overseed Ryegrass Sports Fields

  • Set your irrigation controller for 5 or 6 start times per day.
  • Run times should be 5 to 8 minutes per cycle: 5 minutes for large sprinkler nozzles; 8 minutes for small nozzles.
  • If water begins to pool or run off the field, cut back on run times. Keep 5 to 6 start times.
  • Make adjustments according to weather conditions as needed.
  • Continue this process until you see seed germination.

 

Post Germination

  • Once seed has germinated, cut back on cycles to 2 to 3 start times daily.
  • Increase run times to 8 to 12 minutes each.
  • Avoid water pooling, adjust run times as needed.

 

Maintenance Irrigation and Mowing Texas Multi-Chem | Mowing Ryegrass Sports Fields

  • Once a solid stand of ryegrass is established, cut back start times to once per day. Increase run times to 15-20 minutes.
  • When ryegrass growth reaches 1.5 inches tall, it's time to start mowing.
  • Cut back start times to every other day, once per day.
  • Run times should be 20-30 minutes.
  • Watering more deeply, less frequently allows the field to dry out for mowing days.
  • Mowing is an important cultural practice to help the ryegrass cultivar reach maturity. Try to mow the ryegrass field at least 2 times per week at this stage of development.

 

In-Season Maintenance

  • To maximize turf quality, mow on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • Mowing height should be 1 inch to 1.5 inches.
  • Irrigation in the early morning hours on the non-mowing days.
  • Run times should be 20-30 minutes each.

 

Sports Field OverseedingTexas Multi-Chem | Sports Field Maintenance | Sports Field Overseeding

Need help overseeing your sports fields? Contact TMC today at 1-800-292-1214

Thursday
Nov072013

Overseeding Athletic Fields Q&A

Sports Field Q&A with Lee Smith of Texas Multi-Chem


What Is Overseeding?

  • The term overseeding refers to the process of applying a cool season grass seed over an established warm season turfgrass. In our case here in Texas, this means applying a blend of perennial rye seed over a bermudagrass sports field.

Texas Multi-Chem | Overseeding Sports Fields

Why Do We Overseed?

  • As the temperatures become cooler in the fall and the nights get longer, warm season grasses will begin to slow their growth rate, eventually stopping their growth almost completely. As the growth slows the grass becomes dormant until the night time temperatures rise again in the spring.

  • Since the growth is largely shutdown, the grass cannot recover from the wear and tear of athletic play. Overseeding with a cool season grass provides a playing surface that can withstand traffic during the cool season's winter months.

  • Aesthetics is another reason many people will overseed a bermudagrass sports field. As the bermudagrass goes dormant it will turn brown and stay that way until it comes out of dormancy. Adding a cool season grass to the playing surface will give you an aesthetically pleasing green surface throughout the winter months. 

When Is The Best Time To Overseed?

  • In Texas, the best time to overseed is generally mid September to late November. This window typically offers cooler temperatures which is needed for the germination and establishment of cool season turfgrass. During this window the bermudagrass growth is slowing which makes it less competitive with the new ryegrass that is trying to root in during germination.
  • Field use plays a big role in determining the proper day to prepare the surface and plant the seed. Excessive traffic after planting can cause poor and sporadic germination. Once planted, it's best to keep traffic off the field until the seed has germinated and the grass is established well enough to cut with a mower.  
  • TMC Sports Turf | Super Rake | Verticut & Vacuum | Whataburger Field

     

How Should I Prepare A Field For Overseeding?

  • Leading up to the date of planting you should gradually lower the mowing height to .75 - 1.5 inches.

  • Super Rake (verticut and vacuum) the turfgrass playing surface. This process removes the thatch layer and breaks up the top surface of the soil creating a more favorable seed bed.

  • Once the field is seeded you may topdress with sand. A light topdressing of the seed helps secure the seed in place and creates a constant contact with the soil surface to help germination.

How Much Seed Do I Need And How Should I Apply It?

  • We typically recommend anywhere from 5-10 lbs of seed per 1,000 sq ft. Higher traffic areas or fields would require more seed than a lower traffic field. The average field usually applies 8 lbs per 1,000 sq ft.

  • Seed should be applied with a rotary spreader in several different directions. Applying it in multiple directions will help insure a more uniform coverage. For edges of baseball and/or softball infields it is generally best to use a drop spreader to get a more consistent edge.

How Should I Water It?

  • A heavy watering should be applied immediately after seeding to help push the seed down to soil (but not so heavy that you get surface movement of the water). Then, over the next week a light watering 3-5 times a day should occur to keep the seed and surface moist. Once the seed has germinated, reduce the number of waterings per day but increase the run times. (Example: cut back from watering 4 times per day at 10 minutes per watering to 2 times per day at 15 minutes.)

  • Once grass is fully established and regular mowing can occur the watering can generally be cut back to once or twice a week.

How Should I Mow It And When?

  • The first mowing can usually take place 2-4 weeks after germination. Once the grass has reached about 1-1.5 inches tall it is ready to mow.

  • Prior to mowing the grass you should make sure the reel or blades on your mower are sharp. A sharp blade will cut the grass and not pull or tear the grass. It is always a wise idea to have a sharp blade when mowing any grass.

How Should I Fertilize My Ryegrass? Texas Multi-Chem | Turf Fertilizer | Turf Programs | Athletic Field Fertilizer

  • A starter fertilizer such as TMC's Sprout (10-12-8) should be used at the time the seed is applied to the field. Apply at a rate of .5-1 lbs N per 1,000 sq ft.

  • Once the grass is established you can apply a general fertilizer like Fast Start (14-6-8) by TMC every 30-60 days during the winter. Apply at a rate of .5-1 lbs N per 1,000 sq ft.

How Can I Help Transition The Ryegrass?

  • To transition your field's turf grass from cool season to warm season, we recommend applying a post emergent herbicide such as a TMC spray application of Celsius or Certainty in late spring after your season has ended. This will kill the ryegrass without harming the bermudagrass. This approach helps the transition because it stops the ryegrass from competing with the bermudagrass for water and nutrients as the bermuda is trying to come out of dormancy.

 

Overseeding Athletic Fields - Sports Field Q&A with Lee Smith of Texas Multi-Chem


Lee Smith is a sales representative with Texas Multi-Chem. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy from Texas A&M and helps manage hundreds of natural grass sports fields for our customers around Texas.

Would you like help maintaining your natural grass sports fields? TMC can help...give us a call today at 1-800-292-1214.

Monday
Sep162013

Happy Retirement Bill White!

 

Texas Multi-Chem | Sports Field Contractor | Bill White Retirement | Salesman

Bill White worked as a salesman for Texas Multi-Chem (TMC) for 32 years. In this day and time, it is unusual for employees to remain with a company for so many years. Bill retired from TMC in June 2013.  A dinner was held for Bill and his family so TMC could honor him for his successful tenure. Bill will be greatly missed as a valued and loyal employee.  Bill’s career was successful because he treated his job and his customers with integrity, honesty, and professionalism through the years.

Bill and his family will always be a part of the TMC family and we wish him many happy and healthy years of retirement!

Thank you Bill!