Protection Covers for Trafficked Turf
Royse, John Paul
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Large public events, such as concerts, rallies, and festivals, impact turf health when held on natural turfgrass surfaces. The impact associated with these events is due to the placement of physical structures such as stages and seating areas and pedestrian and vehicular traffic on the turf surface. Trafficked turf protection covers, which are field covers meant to be placed directly on the turf surface where pedestrian or vehicular traffic is expected and/or equipment will be placed, can be used to minimize damage to the turf surface. Scientific data on turf response to these covers is lacking. Four cover treatments comprised of a non-covered non-trafficked control, plywood, plywood + Enkamat Plus, and white high-density polypropylene [single sided (Terratile) or double sided (Matrax)] were applied to tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) and effects of light intensity, duration of covering, season and soil moisture were evaluated. Growth chambers and field experiments were conducted in 2010-2011. Tissue samples were taken in growth chambers experiments every four days over the 20-day period to analyze chlorophyll (Chl a, Chl b, Chl a+b) and carotenoids (carot) under split factors of light intensity (12hr, PAR 530 Î¼mol m-2 s-1, 5 Î¼mol m-2 s-1) and soil moisture (50%, 75% of pot soil moisture capacity). Field trial treatment effects were observed every two days and eight days after cover removal in the spring, summer and fall and a normalized difference vegetative index (NDVI) measure was used at the conclusion of each trial period to confirm visual ratings. Covers that allowed light transmission to the canopy provided the best visual retention of percent green cover and higher contents of Chl a, Chl b, Chl a+b and carot. However, when treatments were tested under conditions that simulated low light under a concert stage (PAR 5 Î¼mol m-2 s-1), covers performed similarly. Moderate soil moisture increased Chl b and carot content under covers. Field trials showed that plywood and plywood + Enkamat allowed for acceptable covering periods of six days in spring, four days in fall, and zero days in summer. Summer conditions shortened the number of days (8 -10) thattall fescue could be covered with Matrax and Terratile and still maintain an acceptable level of green cover. Matrax performed the best during high temperatures and did not tend to sink into the turf in saturated soil. All covers exhibited desirable qualities and limitations that should be considered for turf protection during an event.
- Masters Theses