Summer Management Considerations for School Sports Fields

by Becky Grubbs, Texas A&M AgriLife

Summer management for both active and inactive sports fields is critical to maintaining healthy, safe fields year-round. Even just light maintenance can make a huge difference in what is possible when school starts again in the fall. The tips below apply to all kinds of turf, from sports fields to golf courses to home lawns.

Irrigation

To prevent surface hardness from creeping up to dangerous levels, regular irrigation is important – even for those fields that remain otherwise inactive during summer months. In many parts of the state where fields are constructed atop our trademark “shrinking and swelling” clays, the lack of irrigation can result in significant cracks in the field surface by the time football season is upon us. It can take a considerable amount of time and water to properly re-saturate the fields and bring them back to a safe surface capable of supporting healthy vegetation. Deep watering even once a week during dry periods can prevent this. Water early in the morning. This will optimize water use and prevent disease on your fields as fall approaches. Monitor and correct any malfunctioning irrigation. Uniform coverage will prevent dry spots where soil will harden and pests will move in. Consider a catch can audit. Continue reading

Register for April 19 Webinar on Vertebrate Turf Pests on School Grounds

On Tuesday, April 19, EPA’s Center of Expertise for School IPM will offer a webinar titled Vertebrate Turf Pests on School Grounds. This webinar will provide insight on how you can incorporate vertebrate pest prevention and control in your school district’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. Vertebrate turf pests include moles, voles, pocket gophers, prairie dogs, and groundhogs, and are found across the country. Continue reading