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Adam W Thoms

Picture of Adam Thoms
Assistant Professor
Area of Expertise: 
turfgrass education, sports turf management

Jack Trice Preparations

September 2, 2016

Jack Trice is ready for the first game of the season, but getting to that point takes some time and hard work. I recently visited with Tim Van Loo Manager of Athletic Turf and Grounds for Iowa State University on what it takes to get Jack Trice ready. This year marks the 20th season since natural grass returned to Jack Trice Stadium. While much of the work is done during the summer, all of the painting is done just a day or two before the game. The grounds crew will mow the football field four times the week of the game, and they will always mow the same direction to make the light and dark stripes of the Kentucky bluegrass stand out. After a final mowing on Friday, the painting began.
Jack Trice Stadium before this week's painting.
This year the field was painted last week for the Victory Day, so some of the logos are still barely visible.

Three colors are used on the playing surface at Jack Trice Stadium: white, cardinal and gold.  The white is applied first with the white lines of the field painted first then the numbers and hash marks.
Hash marks being painted on the football field at Jack Trice Stadium
Care must be taken to not have paint drip when moving stencils.

Then the logos are painted and the end zones, sometimes the crew is large enough to paint several area's at once.Tim is assisted by 8 Iowa State Horticulture students focusing on turfgrass management and one Graduate Student in Horticulture with a focus on turfgrass management.
ISU Horticulture students studying turfgrass management help paint the football field.
ISU Horticulture students studying turfgrass management help paint the football field.

The center logo on the field spans from one 42 yardline to the other 42 yardline.

The red is painted first in the logos then the yellow.
ISU Horticulture Turfgrass Graduate Student Colton Metzger paints the midfield logo. 

It will take this crew 55 man hours to mix the paint, paint the field, and clean up the painters.  They will use 50 gallons of white paint, 40 gallons of gold, and 40 gallons of cardinal paint. On game day the crew will arrive 6 hours ahead of kickoff to mow the field, put out sideline tarps, and help with any other project that may need to be done in the stadium.
Number stencils are placed every 10 yards and painted white.
Tim Van Loo, Manager of Athletic Turf and Grounds for ISU, painting numbers for tomorrow's first game of the year.

Finishing touches on the numbers used on Jack Trice Stadium.

On a typical game day Tim estimates that around 600 to 700 people are on the field. After the game the crew will take screwdrivers and lift divots on the playing surface, similar to how a ball mark is fixed on a putting green, and the field will have the debris blown off of it. This process takes about two hours, allowing the crew to leave after Saturday's game around midnight.  

ISU Horticulture students focusing on turfgrass management help care for Jack Trice Stadium.
ISU Horticulture Students learn turfgrass management skills while helping take care of Jack Trice Stadium.


Go Cyclones!!




Iowa Turfgrass Field and Demo Day

August 24, 2017

The annual Iowa Turfgrass Field and Demo Day will be Sept. 12, 2017 at the Iowa State University Horticulture Research Station 55519 170 St. Ames, IA 50010. Registration starts at 8:00 am with coffee and donuts. Education will begin at 9:00 a.m. with three area's of focus: Golf Course, Sports Turf, and Lawn Care. Attendee's will be free to travel between area's of focus. The event will showcase the newest cultivars of turfgrass and how they perform in Iowa, cultivation demonstrations, how to recover a putting green from the summer, new aerification devices, a session on what's bugging your lawn, how to prune a tree, a weed identification tour, a comparison of lawn fertility products, and ask the expert time slots. Also for those looking for Pesticide Applicators Certification and Education that is available for Categories 3-O, 3-T, and 3-OT. A lunch will be provided with registration. After lunch demonstrations of various turf equipment will take place, so feel free to check out the newest in turfgrass equipment. To register go to:  and register. We hope to see all of you on September 12! 


Bentgrass recovery from the summer will be on display at the Field Day.
Come see various methods of recovery from Pythium damage.


New aerificaiton methods will be on display.
New methods of battling compaction will be on display at Field Day.


Learn about turfgrass variety differences in Iowa.
Check out differences in turfgrass performance.