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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Turfgrass

Effects of Biomass Accumulation on the Playing Quality of a Kentucky Bluegrass Stabilizer System Used for Sports Fields


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 97 No. 4, p. 1107-1114
    Received: July 6, 2004

    * Corresponding author(s): sherratt.1@osu.edu
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  1. P. J. Sherratt *,
  2. J. R. Street and
  3. D. S. Gardner
  1. Dep. of Hortic. and Crop Sci., 2021 Coffey Rd., The Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH 43210-1086


Sand-based sports fields can deteriorate rapidly under intense sports traffic due to poor surface stability. Natural grass stabilizer systems have been developed as one option to improve sand-based field stability and therefore provide a more consistent playing surface. Accumulation of biomass above the stabilizer system may form a layer between the grass plants and the stabilizer that causes the grass to shear off under sports traffic. A study was established in August 2000 at The Ohio State University to evaluate aeration, verticutting, and topdressing practices that may reduce biomass accumulation on a stabilizer system. The study examined playability characteristics of the stabilizer system and the relationship between biomass accumulation and playing quality by measuring traction, divot resistance, surface hardness, and ball rebound. The stabilizer had no effect on traction at 12.7-mm depth but did increase traction at 18.8- and 31.3-mm depths where shearing and physical displacement of underlying soil can occur on sand rootzones. The stabilizer increased divot resistance. Biomass accumulation reduced both traction at 18.8- and 31.3-mm stabilizer profile depths and divot resistance. Biomass management on stabilizer carpet is thus necessary for long-term performance. Sand topdressing increased biomass depth while verticutting reduced biomass depth. Verticutting one time per month increased divot resistance. Verticutting, however, increased both surface hardness and ball rebound. Solid tining reduced surface hardness but resulted in stabilizer deterioration. Thus, verticutting programs could be adopted to manage biomass accumulation on natural grass stabilizers. However, research into the prevention of biomass accumulation on sand-based stabilized sports fields needs further investigation.

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