Q&A 2005

around as much as possible to spread the

wear out.

Most teams have a habit of

practicing in the same spot all day. Do it

as much as time and budgets allow.

2. A

recent study I read has begun to prove

what I have seen before. If you know an

area is going to get high use or wear, seed

into it before the event happens. If you

continue to seed it on a 7-10 day basis

you have a good chance to keep the area

green, assuming the weather cooperates.

3. We have cool season grass here in

Chicago, and the sod is mostly bluegrass.

A lot of people insist on reseeding with

bluegrass seed and that is a good thing,

but when the usage is high, seeding withperennial ryegrass will help heal the areas

quicker simply because it germinates and

grows faster.

You can get ryegrass seed to

germinate as fast as 2-5 days in good conditions

as opposed to bluegrass germinating

in 7-21 days.

Use both if you can.

They sell bluegrass-ryegrass blends, and

the rye will help protect the younger

bluegrass plants until they have a chance

to get going.

I have also found that you

should talk to your seed supplier and ask

about the germination characteristics of

the different varieties. Some grasses grow

differently in the spring as opposed to the

summer and fall.

We use straight ryegrass

over bluegrass sod and seed with bluegrass

as much as possible.

4. When you

have spots that are low or compacted and

won’t drain, and you can’t spend a lot of

time and money to fix, try what I have

heard called a French Drain.

It is basically

a hole dug in the center of the low spot

and filled with sand or a calcinated clay

type of product. Sometimes a piece of

plastic drain pipe is used vertically in the

center of the hole.

You can do this on

grass areas and skinned infield areas also.

Leave it an inch or so below the turf or

infield mix. If it is compacted try to aerate

it as much as possible.

5. The more

often you mow the thicker it will grow,

regardless of how high you are mowing.

We mow from one inch to 1 3/4 inches.

The Chicago Park District mows from 2

1/2 in to 4 inches.

6. As a friend of mine

and fellow groundskeeper likes to say,

“Grass grows by inches and is killed by


John Nolan is the head groundskeeper

for Soldier Field in Chicago.

Q: From whom do you garner resident

support for an invader species removal

program for forestry management?

A: The key to any forestry program is

education of park users and the community

before removal practices occur. An

invader species and removal program

allows for proper management of open

spaces and park lands in a community.

The only way a program of this type can

work is if residents support and assist

you. Articles in local newspapers, magazines,

and other localized publications

need to be the first step in getting the

information out to the public.

It is important

to outline the entire project, the reasoning

behind the project, and how it can

affect parks and open spaces.

The key is

to be straightforward with residents from

the beginning and share pros and possible

cons to the program. It is imperative

that solutions are given ahead of time so

that residents know what to expect.

Another tool in garnering support is visiting

service groups, clubs, and resident

groups to present project information on

a more personalized basis and to answer

specific concerns and questions directly

to those groups.

The third, and most

important step, is to inventory removal

areas and prioritize which areas are the

most affected.

According to this inventory,

neighborhoods that border or surround

the priority areas will need to be

informed about the program, where it

will occur, and what to expect upon completion.

Direct mailing of program information

is great for these localized areas.

The invader species removal program

should first start as a pilot program to

ensure that all the parameters are applicable

for the community and neighborhoods.

Once work begins on these priority

areas, be visible at the job site and

ensure that problems or perceived problems

are resolved in a short time frame.

Upon completion, get feedback from residents

by surveys, phone calls or direct

mailing. Be open to change and if a group

of residents has issues with a portion of

the program be willing to adjust.


the program is accepted and the pilot

program is adopted, keep communication

lines open and do not lose touch

with the people that are directly affected.

Attend local events (such as Earth Day,

Arbor Day, and so forth) and continue

the spread of accurate information.

Matt Taylor, Parks Superintendent,

Community Associations of The Woodlands

(Texas), Parks and Recreation.

Q: What is all this talk about Green

Buildings, LEED?

A: Created by the United States Green

Building Council, Leadership in Energy

and Environmental Design (LEED), a

Green Building is an integrated, lifecycle

approach, taking into consideration

design, construction, operations, maintenance

of the building and landscaping as

they relate to energy, the economy, and

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