Athletic field turfgrass and compost use

Sports field turfFrom parks to playing fields, to help turfgrass prosper, every inch of grass will benefit from an installation and maintenance plan that includes compost use pre-, mid- and post-season.

Compost is both soil amendment and topdressing.  It has many uses in the landscape, and establishing and restoring turfgrass is one of them.

Compost will hold moisture, reduce watering requirements, extend the “green” season and maintain good plant color, even during dry spells.

It increases cation exchange capacity, releasing nutrients slowly, over time, to hold nutrients at the root zone and minimize leaching.

Compost buffers pH, bringing soils into the zone preferred by most plants without liming.

Important to sports turf, compost reduces compaction.  This allows faster drainage and reduces the severity of sports injuries.

Use STA-certified compost like McGill SoilBuilder to ensure peak turfgrass performance.  However, for maintaining playing surfaces in active use, we recommend a product formulated specifically for that purpose like McGill SportsTurf.

Turfgrass:  compost use instructionsTurfgrass - golf course

Prior to seeding or sod lay-down, amend soil or top-dress the soil surface area with compost.

  • Make or replenish topsoil — Incorporate 2 inches of compost for every 6-8 inches of amended soil layer.
  • Use as topdressing — A quarter inch of compost raked into the surf ace before seeding will help new grasses green up quickly and serve as a tonic for tired lawn and turf areas.
  • Blower truck applications — Mix compost and seed.

Compost use reduces sports injuries

Player safety has become a major focus in sports for the past several years, with sports injuries often linked to field surfaces.

Multiple studies suggest proper field maintenance can reduce the severity of sports injuries.   The major deciding factor in injury reduction is field hardness.  Reducing hardness decreases the chance of injuries like broken bones and concussions.

Compost use, in conjunction with soil aeration, dramatically improves field safety for athletes at every level:

  • Reduces soil compaction to minimize impact injuries while remaining within a desired range, even in dry weather
  • Eliminates heat-stress associated with artificial turf
  • Reduces chemical requirements to minimize athlete exposure

Additional Resources:

Penn St. program tries to prevent concussions by examining surfaces