Turf Talk: What is downtime?


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Downtime does not exist! Our grounds crew is constantly finding things to work on, even in the wintertime. Believe it or not, there is some field maintenance that can be done when it’s colder outside!



The only months without regular play on our grass fields here at the Plex are December, January, and February. While using the 3 coldest months isn’t ideal for grass recovery, our grounds and maintenance crew uses specific techniques that focus on creating artificial growing conditions to create some recovery. AKA, they trick the grass into thinking it’s warmer outside.


The first trick in the book is grow covers. If you’ve ever been to the Plex in wintertime, you’ve probably seen giant tarp-type blankets on some of the fields. These are grow tarps and they are a blanket for the grass that creates a greenhouse environment to increase heat so grass can grow. Under the blankets on a sunny winter day, temperatures can be over 15 ° warmer than outside temperatures.


Another trick used is grow lights. These lights provide supplemental light to the grass to promote photosynthesis (how plants eat) and growth. Light energy from the sun during the winter is one-third of the light energy during the summer so these lights are super helpful to keeping the grass growing.


The last trick? Green paint. Yes, it sounds simple, but it works! By painting the grass green, it helps magnify the heat from the sunshine to raise the temperature in the grass canopy. The increased temperature helps the grass to grow and any seed to germinate.

Through a combination of the 3 tricks, we are able to tend to all of our fields here at the Plex.




While the fields do take up much of the time, our grounds crew is also responsible for the common areas and surrounds of the fields, winter is a great time to get a lot of non-grass maintenance done.

Winter is a great time to work on tree trimming and overall maintenance as the trees are dormant. The grounds crew also will work on any plants or bushes that need to be cut back or taken care of.



The three month ‘downtime’ is also used for planning purposes. The grounds management team will take soil samples from every field. These samples partnered with the type of grass is how our grounds crew is able to come up with a maintenance and agronomic plan for the upcoming season.


If it’s too cold outside, we try to keep everyone indoors and that is a great time to be working on any maintenance for our large fleet of John Deere and Redexim equipment!

So, there is no downtime clearly! Our grounds crew is constantly working to prepare the fields for the next season and constantly striving to make the fields better!

Tune in next week as we dive into mowing at the Plex!