August 9, 2011

I had a chance yesterday to meet with T.J. Brewer, sports field manager for the Burlington Bees baseball field in Burlington, IA. It's been hot in Burlington as it has in most of the Midwest this summer. For you golf people who think that sports turf management is easy, this blog may be an eye-opener. Many of the same problems that plague golf course superintendents also affect sports turf managers.

We usually don't associate Poa annua with sports turf, but it does happen. Particularly in a micro-environment like an enclosed baseball field. This picture below is Poa annua checking-out in the summer heat. Those of you who heard T.J.'s presentation at the turf conference a year ago, know that he has been on a Poa reduction program. Budget concerns put a stop to that program and the Poa is back.

Do we have Bermudagrass in Iowa? Yes we do. This is a bermuda patch in the infield that has been there for at least 6 years.

How about Poa trivialis? This is usually considered to be a problem on golf course fairways, but here it is on a baseball field. As is typical of this species in hot weather, the patches had turned brown. It will come back in the cool weather of fall.


Here is a close up of Poa trivialis stolons in the brown circles.

How about mole crickets? This is usually a turf problem in the South, particularly Georgia and Florida, yet here they are in Iowa. T.J. collected this one from the field a couple of weeks ago. He did not have any serious damage from them. We do occasionally get damage from mole crickets in Iowa, but they are rare.

Thanks for a great visit T.J. and for your willingness to share your experiences with other turf managers.


Nick Christians Professor

Nick Christians, Ph.D. – University professor of turfgrass management, Iowa State University, Department of Horticulture, Ames, IA, and adjunct faculty, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA. Dr. Christians received his B.S. from the Colorado State University ...