Turf Protection During the Winter – A Customer Case Study

Attention Turf Managers,

Do your fields take a beating when winter comes?  If turf maintenance is a concern during the cold months, read the following customer case study for helpful ideas that address turf protection and your budget.

Submitted by Josh Slayback, Athletic Fields Technician, City of Clayton, Missouri

At Shaw Park in Clayton, Missouri our athletic fields are in use February-November.  One way we keep our fields safe and playable is by establishing turf when the fields are not in use, during the Midwestern winter!  After 15+ weekly games and practices during the fall, our multi-purpose soccer fields are beat down to the bare soil. We have three options at this point as I see it:

1. Call it a season and worry about it in the spring

2. Beat our heads against a wall

3. Take action and perform a winter renovation

The following photo was taken 11/16/2010, the day after the soccer season ended, with less than 10% turf cover in the soccer goal mouths.  Our 2010 winter renovation plan follows:

* This year we plan to pregerminate half the seed to give it a 10-14 day head start

Turf condition at the end of the season, before covers installed








12/2/2010- A quick check for establishment shows an actively growing turf during periods of average daily high temperatures in the 40s and nightime lows below freezing.

Checking the turf to evaluate cover effectiveness







2/16/2011- Winter turf covers removed for high school baseball with 100% turf cover.   The ground was frozen and there were several more snowfalls in the Saint Louis area after this.

Turf after the covers have been removed







The area that was left uncovered received a spring seeding, but still did not have 100% turf cover. The uncovered areas also had an increased weed presence and a clumpy appearance that contrasted against the uniform turf cover of the area that was protected by the winter turf blankets.

Summary: Winter turf blankets are an excellent investment, especially when considering that  sodding two 60’x60’ soccer goal mouths each spring, over an eight year period would cost us over $16,000.00. To purchase two 60’x60’ winter turf covers, seed and preventative fungicide over an eight year period (the life expectancy CoverSports ™ Winter Turf Blankets) will  cost us an estimated $2,500.00.

* Figures estimated using 2011 pricing.

Josh Slayback, Athletic Fields Technician, City of Clayton, Missouri

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