November 13,
2018
  With the Maryland SoccerPlex 
A weekly newsletter to keep you informed about EVERYTHING Turf at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
This week we look at the fall temperatures that we experienced and the effect they had on the fields.
No more fall?

Last week we talked about the crazy amounts of rain that we've been having this fall. This week we talk about the crazy temperatures! We have had an elongated summer more than a fall this year, like the day it was 89 degrees in early October! Then we saw a sudden drop in the temperatures mid-October. The sudden drop in temperature is not ideal for our fields, especially the bermudagrass fields that are warm-season fields. Just 2 weeks after the 89 degree high in October, the high was 56 degrees. The temperatures that affect the fields the most, are the temperatures at night. In the month of September, we had an average low temperature of 64 degrees which is actually 1 degree warmer than our average low in the month of June. In the month of October, the average low dropped to 51 degrees and there were 4 nights below 40 degrees.

Ideally the drop in temperature happens gradually across the months of September, October and early parts of November where temperatures are not drastically changing from week to week, but instead fall eases into winter-like weather. It is this sudden change that poses a challenge for our grounds crew.
What does it have to do with fields?
The elongated summer was very beneficial to our warm-season fields as they enjoyed the warm temperatures and stayed green well into October instead of going dormant as they usually do with the colder temperatures. For as much as our warm-season fields enjoyed the longer period of warmer temperatures, our cool-season fields weren't as happy. The longer season of warm temperatures took a toll on the fields. When we usually use the early fall to seed on multiple fields, the rain and resulting saturated fields, really prevented that from happening which resulted in some fields thinning out slightly in high traffic areas, something we always try to avoid. Luckily for our cool-season fields we had the weather drop in October and a few days without rain so our grounds crew was able to overseed on those fields to help strengthen and green out the bare areas of the fields. However, the sudden drop in temperature brought frost, which causes our berumdagrass fields to immediately shut down and go dormant. 
Being ready
Our weather patterns this year have been similar to last year's "fall" with the warm temperatures just suddenly dropping. Many Grounds crews in the Mid-Atlantic are challenged, especially with bermudagrass fields because the Mid-Atlantic region suffered from winter kill on bermudagrass in the early spring around the region. Going into our final weekend of outdoor play on our natural grass fields our grounds crew is being very protective of the bermudagrass fields to ensure we do not experience winter kill again. This is done by being sure that no traffic is on the fields if there is a frost, or freeze. One factor that is believed to help is the amount of moisture we have had. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the winter weather will be a little more kind this year!
Next Week
Check back in next week to see how we tuck our fields away for the winter.
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.