April 10,
2018
  With the Maryland SoccerPlex 
A weekly newsletter to keep you informed about EVERYTHING Turf at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
This week we discuss the common question every spring: Why are we playing on dead grass?
Well, it's just sleeping!
As you know by now we have 3 different types of grass at the Maryland SoccerPlex: Kentucky Bluegrass, synthetic turf, and Bermudagrass! The Kentucky Bluegrass is our cool-season grass, meaning it grows in cooler temperatures, and our Bermuda grass is warm-season, meaning it grows in the warmer temperatures. Outside of those warm temperatures it will go dormant, and although it may not look pretty, it is a great playing surface.
Grass Hibernation
It's important to note that the grass itself, though brown, is not dead. The bermudagrass loses its green color in the late fall and turns into the infamous brown color through the winter. This process is due to the plant going into dormancy. Think of it as plant hibernation. The Bermudagrass, a warm-season turf, stops growing above ground in the late fall and instead preserves its energy below ground in the roots. It keeps all its nutrients in the roots throughout the winter. Once the soil temperatures begin to reach 65 degrees and the bermudagrass consistently has sunlight it will begin to release its nutrients allowing the grass to sprout new leaves and return to its beautiful green color.

Having the turf blankets on the fields throughout the winter protects the rhizomes (underground stems) and stolons (above ground stems) from winter damage, allowing the plant to break its dormancy even more quickly in the Spring when conditions are right. Once it is active, the plants grow laterally and help establish new growing points for the plant as it creeps sideways. This is important because it allows the plant to survive even if one of the stolons and rhizomes are severed, helping the bermudagrass recover from wear and traffic damage faster than most cool-season grasses.

If you find yourself on field 9, 12, 13 or 14-17 you will probably run into this brown looking grass. The "brown season" for Bermuda fields is brief and the grass is not dead! The field is still safe and playable. So we promise, it's not dead, just sleeping!
Next Week
Next week we will look at all the different field dimensions we have to take into consideration each weekend!
Ask Us Your Questions
Do you have a burning turfgrass related question? Ask us! We will be happy to answer it in future iterations of Turf Talk - just email us at info@mdsoccerplex.org, subject line Turf Talk Question.
 
Many Thanks to Fine Earth Landscape, Inc. for 
Their Continued Support of the Maryland SoccerPlex.

Learn more about Fine Earth here.