One of the most crucial decisions that must be made during field construction/renovation is what type of turf to use – the success of your playing surface depends on proper selection. Fortunately, there are many options to choose from and a great research program that can aid you in making the right choice. Considered the standard for turf testing, the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP), one of the most comprehensive and widely known turf research programs in the world, compiles extensive data on turf varieties and presents the material to consumers in annual reports. The yearly reports address factors such as quality, color, density, disease resistance, pest resistance and tolerance to drought, heat, cold and traffic. NTEP results can aid you in determining which grass will be the perfect fit for your climate, soil type and level of maintenance. If you aren’t familiar with this great resource, more information and reports can be found online at www.ntep.org.
Breeders and researchers are constantly developing and improving varieties to suit the needs of sports field managers, improve disease tolerance and reduce maintenance requirements. It can be tough to keep up with all of the latest introductions, so in this issue we’ll present you with some of the newest advancements. Turn to page 20 for a look at some of the latest seed varieties to hit the market. And, before you pull the trigger and make the purchase, make sure you stop by our online forum, www.SportsFieldSite.com, to see what your peers have to say about their favorite (or least favorite) varieties. Registration is free, so log on and join the conversations!
Also in this issue, we bid farewell to industry legend and pioneer George Toma, a SportsField Management fixture since our inaugural issue in March 2006. George has finally decided to take a well-deserved break and retire from his monthly column, Toma Tales. See page 24 for the final installment of Toma Tales, as well as a special tribute to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Man. We thank George for his many years of service and wish him all the best in the future.