When the temperatures drop and the first snow flies, it’s time to tuck turf into bed for its annual hibernation. Whether you’re protecting your field from a blizzard or enhancing your late-season overseeding, there is a wide range of turf blankets, covers and field protection mats to help assure your turf emerges healthy and happy in 2014. Here’s a look at some of the available options.
In the 11 years that he’s been in the industry, Jeff Mondor, vice president of sales for Aer-Flo, has seen new technology lead to the creation of improved field care options.
“Not too long ago, geotextile was the answer to protecting football sidelines and baseball infields. Now, the use of industrial-strength meshes, like Vipol Matrix Mesh, has allowed turf managers to leave their protectors down for longer periods, get longer product life (which saves money), and even allows them to get their team’s colors and painted logos,” he said.
BP Zone Turf and Bench Zone Sideline Turf Protectors, as well as Tuff Windscreens, are all made with the company’s Vipol Matrix Mesh, a unique fabric that sunlight, air and moisture can penetrate. Since the turf still receives water and sunlight while covered, the mats can be left on for longer periods of time without damaging the turf.Photos courtesy of Aer-Flo.
Research and new technology lead not only to the development of new products, but also improvements to pre-existing products. Evergreen turf blankets are porous, ventilated covers designed to be lightweight and easy to install. Throughout the development of Evergreen, it was determined that the color of the turf cover could play a role in improving turf quality.
Photos courtesy of Covermaster.
“Evergreen is a translucent cover in itself, and with the addition of different color lace coatings we could see a difference in results. A case in point; the Original Evergreen with white lace coating tends to give a quicker green-up, while the Premium’s green lace coating controls the amount of photosynthetic active radiation entering the plant. The Radiant, with its silver coating, allows more photosynthetic active radiation, but also reflects heat back into the soil because of its reflective capabilities,” explained Bob Curry, president of Covermaster.
In the future, Curry predicts that color will play an even more important role in the effectiveness of turf blankets, and he said Covermaster will continue to focus on developing colors that will provide climate-specific benefits.
Permeable turf covers are a great solution to protecting turf from the elements while still encouraging growth, but winter weather may require a different approach to field protection. Garry Sullivan, national sales manager for GreenJacket, says the company’s permeable grow-in cover is a good fit for actively growing turf, but for the winter months field managers may want to consider the impermeable winter protective cover.
Sullivan says using permeable covers in the winter can bring turf out of dormancy, making it more susceptible to damage from low-temperature kill.
“With the temperature fluctuations we have seen these past few years, depending on the time of year a warm-up comes, you still could be looking at a month or two of cold temperatures yet to go for the remaining winter months. We believe we want to help keep the turf in the dormant state for as long a possible,” he explained.
The patented GreenJacket Winter Protective Cover System is an extruded engineered film that is cross-laminated and reinforced with ripstop cording.
Photos courtesy of CoverSports.
Seemingly small design changes can mean big improvements in product quality. Such is the case with CoverSports’ Field- Saver spot covers, which now feature IncrediSeal reinforced hems and seams. IncrediSeal hems are heat-sealed, eliminating the possibility of thread breaks, and open seams or hems. The new process also provides a clean look to field covers.
IncrediSeal is standard on all FieldSaver vinyl and poly spot covers, ArmorMesh field covers, batting practice infield protectors and collar protectors, football sideline tarps, jump pit covers and windscreens.