Turf Talk – Back to the Basics

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Welcome to our new series: Turf Talk at the Maryland SoccerPlex. We will break down different aspects of our grounds and environmental department as well as give tips on how to create beautiful grass spaces.

This week we will go back to basics…the anatomy of grass!

Start from the bottom – the roots!

The roots are one of the most important parts of the grass plant. The roots take in all the water and nutrients that the plant needs, but also act as the anchor to the grass plant. The deeper and thicker the grassroots are, the sturdier the plant is. To have a safe playing surface, it is imperative that we keep our roots extremely healthy and happy!

The crown – no, not the Netflix series, the crown of the grass plant!

The crown is directly at ground level, and it is a very busy part of the plant. The crown is where the roots come from underground and where the leaves sprout from above ground. What the crown says happens!

The stem – quite simply, the stem is the piece of the plant that supports the leaves of the plant

The blade – the blade is the upper part of the leaf; the blade takes care of the photosynthesis and respiration of the plant. Within the blade is the sheath, where the base of the blade wraps around the stem and the collar. The collar is where the sheath and blade meet, and where the blade grows from.

Nodes – on the stem are nodes, buds emerge from the nodes once the grass is cut, therefore cutting grass is a way to help thicken up the plant itself.

Tillers are secondary shoots growing from the crown of the same plant.

Stolons and rhizomes are how the plants spread with just a slight difference. A stolon runs from the crown and creates shoots which start daughter plants. Rhizomes do the same thing, just underground.

Some grasses have stolons, some have rhizomes, and some have both. Warm-season fields generally have stolons, while cool-season fields have rhizomes.

 

Knowing the basic anatomy of grass helps us grasp an understanding of how we take care of the grass and keep it in tip-top shape! Next time you’re outside try looking at a grass plant and see if you can name off the parts!