Schnell (pictured below) made the decision to convert the Rose Bowl from a bermudagrass base (overseeded with perennial ryegrass) to a 100-percent Kentucky bluegrass variety. Schnell explained that bluegrass is ideal for use during the Southern California’s six-month cooler season from November through May. UCLA plays its home games at the Rose Bowl, and the venue hosts the annual Rose Bowl game along with various other major events.
“During those cooler months, in this part of California, it’s great bluegrass-growing weather,” Schnell says.
The bluegrass variety Schnell choose is a three-way blend called 365 SS. It consists of varieties Bolt, Legend and Blue Note. According to Schnell, the blend features a dark green color and excellent leaf texture. “It looks beautiful from the stands and on TV,” Schnell said.
The 2016 Rose Bowl game and 2016 spring and early summer months showed Schnell that the bluegrass sod would hold up to the rigorous demands made on the field. “This field is used more than any other in the country and it has to be able to stand up to those extreme demands,” Schnell said. “It also has to look great doing it. That’s why picking the right blend is so important — it has to do everything extremely well.”
The Rose Bowl is used roughly 300 days each year. In addition to football, the field is used for filming television ads, movies and numerous other events, including soccer tournaments (2016 America’s Cup), concerts and even a motocross event.
When Schnell began researching new species and varieties for the Rose Bowl, he relied heavily on the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP). The NTEP reports provided him with university data to make unbiased comparisons between cultivars. He noticed that Mountain View Seeds’ Kentucky bluegrass varieties consistently ranked at the top of the NTEP lists. After discussions with his partners at West Coast Turf, Schnell made the decision to plant a trial of 365 SS that would eventually be chosen for the Rose Bowl. After evaluating test plot growth patterns and testing its strength, the decision was made to grow a field for use.
“Being part of Will’s winning team really means a lot to our group,’ said Troy Kuenzi, president and CEO of Mountain View Seeds. “We pride ourselves on providing the best quality products to all of our customers and that’s something we have in common with Will and the Rose Bowl. We look forward to many years of success as partners.”