Latest Research

Learn about the latest sports turf research taking place across the United States at colleges and universities!

Feature Research:

Dr. Brad Fresenburg - University of Missouri
Fraze Mowing Impact on Spring Dead Spot Severity

Spring dead spot, caused by Ophiosphaerella spp., is the most important disease of bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) and its hybrids (C. dactylon × transvaalensis) in regions where cold temperatures induce dormancy. Control of the disease is difficult, often requiring multiple fungicide applications over multiple years to achieve satisfactory control.  Recently, the practice of "fraze mowing" has been utilized to remove surface organic material on bermudagrass athletic fields, with the aimed benefit of removing weeds and producing a smoother playing surface. This ongoing study investigates the impact of fraze mowing a 'Riviera' bermudagrass site with severe spring dead spot caused by O. herpotricha. Plots were 1.5 m × 3 m and arranged in a randomized complete block design with four replications. Treatments were arranged in a split plot design with fraze mowing as the main plot and nitrogen source as the subplot. Fraze mowing was conducted on 22 July 2014 at four and eight mm with a Koro Field Topmaker¨ or not cultivated. Ammonium sulfate or urea was applied weekly at 24.4 kg N ha-1 for six weeks after fraze mowing. Area under the green cover curve (AUGGC) and area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC) were calculated based on digital image analysis and visual estimation of spring dead spot severity recorded every 14 d in spring 2015.  All data were subjected to analysis of variance, and means were separated with single pair-wise orthogonal contrasts.  Fraze mowing at four mm or eight mm increased AUGGC values compared to no fraze mowing, but did not reduce AUDPC values.  No difference was observed among nitrogen source treatments. Over a single season of study, fraze mowing alone did not substantially reduce an established spring dead spot epidemic, but may be a portion of an overall integrated control strategy. 

Dr. Barry Stewart - Mississippi State University
Recovery from Fraze Mowing: When Can We Play on It Again?

Fraze (fraise) mowing is a new technique in athletic turf management in the USA.  The verdure and part of the thatch layer of turf is removed.  New grass is planted by seed or allowed to regrow from vegetative parts.  While fraze mowing has been used in Europe for years it is new to the U.S.  Little information is available on fraze mowing hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon x C. transvaalensis, Burtt Davy). Fraise mowing stimulates new growth and can improve the overall health of the turf.  Little is known about the date of fraze mowing and recovery time for the playing surface from this very disruptive practice.  The objectives of this study are to determine the time to recovery after fraze mowing and model the relationship between date within the growing season and recovery time.   The tractor mounted four foot fraise mower was loaned to the project by Redexim Charterhouse.   A Tifway bermudagrass turf area, on MSU's North Farm was chosen for the study site.  Plot size was 15.4 m long and 1.2 m wide.  The plots were arranged in a split plot design with mowing date being the main plot factor and depth (0 unfraze mowed (control) 3 mm, and 10 mm) being the subplot factor.  Each main plot was replicated 3 times and 13 dates in 14 day intervals will be tested.  Percent recovery and weed pressure is being monitored visually and by digital photography.  Plots were fraise mowed on Oct 1, and Oct 21, 2014.  The first treatment of 2015 was May 8 due to excessively wet conditions.   We have seen no recovery from the fraise mowing conducted in 2014.  The plots fraze mowed on May 8, 2015 at 3mm have reached 70% cover at 14 days while the 10 mm plot had 20% cover.

Dr. Mike Goatley - Virginia Tech University
Fall Traffic Tolerance and Spring Recovery of Bermudagrasses in the Transition Zone
Read the full report (starting on page 18) in the 2015 Virginia Turfgrass Research Update

Dr. Alec Kowalewski - Oregon State University
Cost Analysis of Synthetic and Natural Grass Athletic Fields

The popularity of synthetic infill turf systems is on the rise in the USA, for instance 1,200 synthetic fields were installed in 2013.  The purpose of this study is to investigate and compare the costs associated with installation and maintenance of third-generation synthetic infill and natural turfgrass systems.  In September 2014 installation costs and maintenance budget information was gathered from managers of 5 synthetic and 5 natural grass fields at 3 different locations.  Locations included Sheldon High School, Eugene, OR, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR and Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation, Tualatin, OR.  Information was collected from 1 natural grass and 1 synthetic field at the Eugene location, and then 2 natural grass and 2 synthetic fields at both the Corvallis and Tualatin location.  Installation costs and maintenance budgets were compiled and analyzed using Agtools software ultimately providing 20 year budget cycles for the individual fields, which includes the cost of installation, maintenance and renovation.  Usage hours and participant numbers for the fields described above were collected from athletic directors, coaches, online schedules, and player rosters.  Player numbers and usage hours will be used to create a dollar per player use hour value.  These findings will be used to generate budget/player use models for those looking to purchase a new athletic field.  Findings from this work determined that the average cost of installing a synthetic field is $1,149,750 and the average 20 years budget cycle is $3,744,147.  The average cost of installing a natural grass field is $464,000 and the average 20 year budget cycle is $2,120,622.  When dollar per player hour use is taken into consideration the synthetic fields averaged $7.76 per player use hour.  Natural grass fields averaged $52.92 per player use hour and had values as high as $99.26 per player use hour at the Eugene location.

Access to research at other colleges and universities:

Auburn University

University of Arizona

University of Arkansas

University of California - Riverside

University of Connecticut

Univeristy of Florida

Purdue University

Iowa State University

Kansas State University

University of Massachusetts

University of Minnesota

Mississippi State University

University of Missouri

University of Nebraska

New Mexico State University


Oregon State University

Penn State University

University of Tennessee

Texas A&M University

Washington State University

International Resources