Ryegrass Irrigation and Maintenance for Sports Fields

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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

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  • 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

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  • 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 1/2 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 1/2 inches.
  • Irrigation in the early morning hours on the non-mowing days.
  • Run times should be 20-30 minutes each.

Sports Field Overseeding

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