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Natural Grass Athletic Fields


Title: Natural Grass Athletic Fields Author: User Last modified by: Kristen Created Date: 6/16/2009 6:39:31 PM Document presentation format: On-screen Show (4:3) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Natural Grass Athletic Fields

Natural Grass Athletic Fields
  • (Name of High School)

What are our goals?
  • Maintain top quality athletic facilities for
    students and community.
  • Ensure the highest level of safety for all
    participants and reduce sports related injuries.

Sherando High School, Stephens City, VA
Presentation Goals
  • Understand the benefits and limitations
    associated with natural turfgrass athletic fields
  • Determine why a natural grass field is the most
    cost effective choice for high school field
  • Understand the necessary practices and costs
    involved with maintaining a quality natural grass
  • Understand the importance of hiring or involving
    your qualified sports turf manager
  • How to proceed with implementing or maintaining a
    natural grass athletic field

Natural Turfgrass Fields
  • Natural turfgrass fields are living organisms
    that require air, water and nutrients to survive.
  • Quality natural turfgrass fields can be achieved
    with time dedicated to proper maintenance
    practices, limited inputs and a basic
    understanding of turfgrass care.
  • The benefits that will be covered include
  • Environmental benefits natural surfaces provide
  • Human health benefits natural surfaces provide
  • The limitations that will be covered include
  • Field overuse
  • Influence of inclement weather

Crumb Football Field, Lexington, MA
Environmental Benefits
  • Groundwater and Surface Water Sources
  • Dense aboveground turf
  • biomass traps water and
  • reduces excess runoff which
  • allows more water to infiltrate
  • the soil.
  • Extensive fibrous turfgrass root
  • system filters water percolating
  • through the soil to enhance groundwater
  • Turfgrass ecosystems support earthworms, which
    contribute to better water infiltration and
    improved soil structure.

Photo from A.J. Turgeon, Ph.D. Penn State
Environmental Benefits
  • Fertilizer or Pesticide Concerns
  • Proper fertilizer and pesticide applications keep
    water safe. Contamination of groundwater occurs
    with excessive overwatering, heavy rainfall
    events, or when turf is dormant.
  • Turfgrass roots are highly efficient at uptake of
    applied nutrients. Therefore, there is a low
    potential for nutrient elements to pass through
    the rootzone into groundwater or be transported
    by runoff into surface water.
  • Turfgrass leaves, crowns, stems, roots, thatch,
    soil, and soil microbes support large populations
    of microscopic decomposers. These decomposers
    break down pesticides and other noxious organic
    chemicals into harmless substances.

Environmental Benefits
  • Soil Erosion Control and Dust Stabilization
  • The turfgrass rootzone and canopy are
  • one of the most cost effective ways to control
  • water and wind erosion of soil.
  • High shoot density and root mass provides
  • surface stabilization to help reduce water and
  • wind erosion.
  • Acts as a filter to reduce quantity of sediment
    entering surface streams and rivers.
  • Acts as a trap for dust and other particulate
    matter to improve air quality.

Environmental Benefits
  • Atmospheric Pollution Control
  • Turfgrass contributes to reductions in noise
    levels by absorbing, deflecting, reflecting, and
    refracting various sounds.
  • Reduction in discomforting glare and light
  • Reduces atmospheric carbon dioxide and releases

Environmental Benefits
  • Restoration of Disturbed Soils
  • Turfgrass improves soils through the addition of
    organic matter. As plant tissue dies, it is
    incorporated into the rootzone. This organic
    matter improves soil structure and provides
    nutrients to turfgrass systems.
  • Planting turfgrass accelerates the restoration of
    environmentally damaged areas (i.e. burned-over
    land, garbage dumps, eroded rural landscapes,
    mining operations, and steep timber harvest
  • Cesar Chavez Park, Berkeley, CA This Bay-side
    park is built on top of one of the Bay Areas
    largest landfills.

Environmental Benefits
  • Urban Heat Dissipation
  • Natural turf surfaces dissipate high levels of
    radiant heat through the cooling process of
  • High levels of heat on the playing surface can be
    dangerous for athletes and increase the potential
    for heat stroke, muscle cramping and overall

Temperature ComparisonNatural vs. Synthetic
In a 2002 study at Brigham Young University,
temperatures were recorded for the BYU practice
fields in June. Average air temperature was
Average Surface Temperature between 700 am and 700 pm Average Surface Temperature between 700 am and 700 pm
Average High
Soccer Field (Synthetic) 117.38F 157F
Football Field (Synthetic) 117.04F 156F
Natural Turf 78.19F 88.5F
Asphalt 109.62F
C. Frank Williams and Gilbert E. Pulley
Human Health Benefits
  • Closely mown areas of turfgrass
  • reduce the number of nuisance
  • pests that reside in taller grasses,
  • such as ticks, which can carry Lyme
  • disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF).
  • Well maintained turf areas are less likely to
    have weeds that are responsible for
    allergy-related pollens.

Human Health Benefits
  • Aesthetics and recreational opportunities enhance
    physical and mental health of participants.
    Research shows that natural turf relieves stress
    and contributes to the enjoyment of life.
  • Well maintained natural turfgrass athletic fields
    provide low cost, safe playing surfaces for
  • Fields with good quality turfgrass cover have
    higher traction, cushioning, and resiliency, and
    lower surface hardness, reducing the probability
    of injury in contact sports.

  • The most frequent injuries sustained on sports
    fields are those to the ankles and knees from
    rotating and changing directions on the field
  • A recent study at Michigan State University
    compared the effects of different infill
    materials to natural grass fields to measure
    rotational resistance of cleated shoes.
  • Results Torque was significantly affected by
    field surface components. Native soil fields
    reported the lowest torque overall.

Player Preference
  • In 2008, a survey was conducted to evaluate the
    preferred playing surface among NFL players.
  • Out of 1565 players from all 32 teams
  • 71 preferred to play on natural grass fields.
  • 15 preferred to play on artificial infill.
  • 11 had no preference.

Player Preference
  • On that same survey, players were asked how they
    thought synthetic and natural grass surfaces
    affected their physical health

Artificial Infill Surface Natural Grass Surface
Surface more likely to contribute to injury 84 6
Surface more likely to cause soreness and fatigue 91 7
Surface more likely to shorten career 92 5
Surface more likely to negatively affect quality of life after football 61 2
Natural Turfgrass Field Limitations What
should we expect?
  • Overuse
  • Scheduling too many events leads to overuse of
  • The overuse of many community sports facilities
    can push the limits of turf to recover.
    Excessive traffic leads to compaction and bare
    areas, which can cause a surface to be unsafe and
  • Solutions rotate fields limit field use to only
    necessary events change daily location of
    practices on field use portable goals to

move around field have players do individual
warm-ups off of the field execute team drills
outside of painted numbers spread seed in wear
areas before games and practices
Natural Turfgrass Field Limitations What should
we expect?
  • Standing water
  • Inclement weather can lead to standing water and
    muddy conditions if the drainage system is not
    effective. This causes surfaces to be unsafe and
  • Solution make sure there is a sufficient crown
    to move water off the field effectively check
    that the drainage systems operate efficiently
    utilize rain tarps

Natural Turfgrass Athletic Field Costs
  • Why is a natural turfgrass field the most cost
    effective solution for our facility?

Natural turfgrass football field at
Philipsburg-Osceola High School in Philipsburg, PA
Construction Cost Comparison
  • Natural with On-site Native Soil (no added top
    soil or sod) - 0.90 - 1.50 per sq. ft.
  • Cost for one football field (57,600 sq. ft.) -
    51,840 - 86,400
  • Natural Turfgrass with Native Soils - 2.25 -
    5.25 per sq. ft.
  • Cost for one football field (57,600 sq. ft.) -
    129,600 - 302,400
  • Natural with 4-6 inch Sand Cap - 4.00 - 6.50
    per sq. ft.
  • Cost for one football field (57,600 sq. ft.) -
    230,400 - 374,400
  • Natural with Sand and Drainage - 7.00 10.00
    per sq. ft.
  • Cost for one football field (57,600 sq. ft.) -
    403,200 - 576,000
  • Synthetic Infill - 6.50 - 11.00 per square foot
  • Cost for one football field (57,600 sq. ft.) -
    374,400 - 633,600

Annual Maintenance Comparison
  • Natural Turf Fields
  • Synthetic Turf Fields
  • Mowing
  • Fertilization
  • Irrigation
  • Aerification
  • Topdressing
  • Seeding
  • Pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides)
  • Line painting
  • Drainage repair and maintenance
  • Additional Infill
  • Irrigation
  • Chemical Disinfectants
  • Products to reduce static activity and odors
  • Drainage repair and maintenance
  • Erasing and repainting temporary lines
  • Removing organic matter accumulation
  • Grooming

Long Term Maintenance Comparison
  • Natural Turf Fields
  • Synthetic Turf Fields
  • Renovation
  • Field Repairs
  • Repairs (seams)
  • Replacement every 8-10 years
  • Disposal cost upon replacement Infill systems
    filled and topdressed with crumb rubber material
    that is typically made from ground automobile
    tires may require special disposal. Disposal
    costs are estimated to be 130,000 plus
    transportation and landfill charges.

Case Study North Scott Community School District
  • North Scott Community School District is located
    in Eldridge, Iowa.
  • The District maintains a native soil baseball
    field, softball field, and 214,000 square feet of
    native soil practice fields. The school also has
    a football stadium field with a 4 inch sand cap
    and a new, sand based soccer field. School
    grounds and sports turf requiring maintenance
    totals 115 acres.
  • All of the grounds maintenance is done in house
    by three full time and three summer seasonal
    staff members.
  • Information provided by John Netwal, CGCS,
    Director of Operations for North Scott Community
    School District.
  • Disclaimer Maintenance, material and labor
    costs are highly variable depending on region of
    the country and type of facility. The following
    costs are based off of North Scott Community
    School District, and are meant to provide a
    realistic representation for costs involved with
    building and maintaining athletic fields.

Case Study North Scott Community School District
  • 2009 Field Maintenance Cost Estimates
  • Native Soil Practice Fields
  • Area 214,000 square feet
  • Total Maintenance Cost (including labor and
    materials) 23,254.58
  • Cost per square foot .11

Case Study North Scott Community School District
  • Mow
  • Irrigate
  • Aerate
  • Fertilizer Applications
  • Add Soil Amendments
  • Herbicide Applications
  • Football and Soccer Field Preparation (painting,
  • Overseed
  • Growth Regulator Applications

2009 Maintenance Activities for Native Soil
Total Labor Cost 5,245.52 Total Supply Cost
18,009.06 Total 2009 Maintenance Cost Estimate
23,254.58 Cost per Square Foot .11 Cost per
Football Field 6,336
Case Study North Scott Community School District
  • 2009 Field Maintenance Cost Estimates
  • 4 inch Sand Cap Football Stadium Field
  • Area 70,000 square feet
  • Total Maintenance Cost (including labor and
    materials) 13,997.77
  • Cost per square foot .20

Case Study North Scott Community School District
2009 Maintenance Activities for Sand Cap Football
  • Mow
  • Irrigation
  • Aerate
  • Overseed
  • Sod Replacement on Sidelines
  • Fertilizer Applications
  • Add Soil Amendments
  • Herbicide Applications
  • Growth Regulator Applications
  • Game Field Preparation (paint, etc.)
  • Insecticide Applications

Total Labor Cost 4,920.36 Total Supply Cost
9,077.77 Total 2009 Maintenance Cost Estimate
13,997.77 Cost per Square Foot .20
Case Study North Scott Community School District
  • 2009 Field Maintenance Cost Estimates
  • Sand Based Soccer Field
  • Area 114,000 square feet
  • Total Maintenance Cost (including labor and
    materials) 20,378.49
  • Cost per square foot .18

Case Study North Scott Community School District
2009 Maintenance Activities for Sand Based Soccer
  • Mow
  • Irrigation
  • Fertilizer Applications
  • Paint
  • Aerate
  • Overseed
  • Growth Regulator Applications
  • Topdressing
  • Fungicide Applications
  • Herbicide Applications

Total Labor Cost 6,113.20 Total Supply Cost
14,265.29 Total 2009 Maintenance Cost Estimate
20,378.49 Cost per Square Foot .18
Involving Your STMA Sports Turf Manager
  • If you do not already have a sports turf manager
    for your facility, it is important to have a
    qualified professional who can be involved in
    decisions and gathering of information and costs.
  • If constructing a field, your sports turf manager
    can serve as a grow-in consultant to work with
    the architect and contractors to oversee the
    entire construction process.
  • On a daily basis, your sports turf manager can
    oversee the care of the athletic fields, maintain
    the budget, manage staff, and communicate with
  • Investing in your sports turf manager is
    important in keeping them current on industry
    trends and research. Make sure your sports field
    manager is involved with STMA for networking and
    continuing education opportunities. STMA also
    provides the opportunity to become certified.
    Certified Sports Field Managers (CSFMs) are
    recognized in the industry for continuing to
    improve professionally.

Why a natural grass field is the best decision
for our high school
  • Beneficial to the environment
  • Benefits health of users
  • Depending on field type, construction costs are
  • Annual maintenance for natural surfaces are cost
  • The majority of athletes prefer playing on a
    natural grass surface

What are the next steps?
  • Involve or hire an STMA Sports Turf Manager to
    help with decisions and the gathering of
    information and costs.
  • Organize a meeting to educate community, coaches,
    administration, athletes, and parents about the
    benefits of a natural turfgrass athletic field.
  • Define resources needed to maintain a quality
    surface for your facility.
  • Develop a budget.
  • If constructing a field, meet and/or hire
    architects or contractors that have expertise in
    athletic field construction.
  • Schedule meetings to keep those involved updated
    on progress.
  • Form committees to assist in logistics and
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