5 Often Overlooked Football Field Maintenance Tips
Leaves are changing color, there’s a nip in the air, and Starbucks just rolled out their pumpkin lattes. It’s officially football season. Soon players will don their shoulder pads, cleats and helmets and rush out to roaring crowds.Whether you maintain a high school, college or NFL football field, there are six ways you can always ensure your football field is in tip-top shape. And once you’ve got your field up to snuff, Field Wall Pads can help protect and beautify the area.Year-round field maintenance is key. The more diligent you are about football maintenance, the less likely you’ll experience any surprises before your players hit the gridiron.Consider the following pre-season field maintenance tips:
- Test the soil. Most labs recommend you collect a soil sample every three years for native soils and every year for sand-based fields. Collecting a sample is easy. The test results will tell you about soil pH levels and minerals and help you determine the best type of grass to use in your region and climate. Using the proper grass will make your turf healthy and lush. Work with a local university or cooperative extension office for advice and information.
- Aerate the field. Players are hard on the turf and cause a lot of wear and tear. In addition, mowing and treating the field can create soil compaction. Soon the grass will have bald patches, like the photos shown in those “Hair Club for Men” advertisements. Play defense by aerating the football field. Proper aeration will provide better air exchange, will reduce compaction, and will help promote deeper root development. Learn more about aeration here.
- Learn how and when to mow. You’ll need to mow during each and every season. One rule of thumb: Don’t let your field grow beyond where newly cut grass won’t blend in. During warmer months, keep your mower blade height at about 1-2 inches. During the off-season, adjust your blade height to 2-3 inches. If you want to get really fancy, consider adding patterns to your field.
- Fertilize like a pro. Remember the periodic table of elements from your high school chemistry class? Football fields love nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous. You’ll know the right combination after you receive your soil test results. The best time to fertilize is when the grass is actively growing. But just like Goldilocks discovered, you don’t want too much or too little. You need to apply just the right amount.