Earlier this year, Sonora ISD made the commitment to upgrade their competition football field. Prior to the football field renovation, like many other Texas high schools, Sonora's field had common bermuda turfgrass and the problems often found on sports turf that needs improvement - inadequate and inconsistent water drainage from the field, weed control issues, and problems keeping the high traffic areas in good shape. Sonora ISD wanted more from their field. They wanted a field that reflects the pride of the Sonora Bronco High School football program. They needed a field that could perform at a high level for years to come.
Renovation By TMC
In order to build the high performance football field Sonora needed, a sandy loam soil (rather than clay loam soil) needed to be installed. To get there, the entire soil profile had to be rebuilt correctly and new turfgrass was installed.
The TMC renovation included the following steps:
- Kill existing common bermudagrass - multiple doses of RoundUp over a couple weeks
- Strip dead grass from surface
- Till the existing top soil, preparing it for leveling
- Laser grade existing top soil to ensure proper slopes
- Add 650 tons of USGA sand - enough for 3 inch layer over entire surface
- Till newly installed USGA sand and existing top soil together - using the blecavator high performance tiller to create an improved 6-inch root zone
- Laser grade to final, close tolerance finish
- Install new TifSport turfgrass - big roll sod from King Ranch Turfgrass
One very important element to a high performance field is a quality irrigation system calibrated correctly. Sonora already had an irrigation system in place that was serving them well, so no irrigation system work was needed at this time.
New Field Characteristics
With the new TifSport turfgrass installed, Sonora Bronco Stadium has a field that will perform and recover faster, is better equipped to resist weed growth, and will respond to high quality cultural practices like a frequent, low mowing height, along with a complimentary irrigation schedule. Beyond that, the new field is of course beautiful to look at.
To help with maintaining the new Sonora Bronco Stadium, the school district purchased a new aeravator from TMC, along with a new slicer shaft. These items used throughout the year will help the improved soil to remain in top form. Sonora ISD also added year-round weed control to their custom TMC Turf Care Program.
For a field renovation price tag between $120-$150K, Sonora ISD made a commitment to invest in their football field. The commitment didn't begin and end with the renovation work performed by TMC.
"MVP" Danny Hardin, the school district's maintenance director, and his team are dutifully performing the cultural practices necessary to keep Sonora Bronco Stadium in top form as West Texas' premiere football field. The next time you find yourself on IH-10 near Sonora, Texas, take a few minutes and go see Sonora's new football field.