Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Startup

March 5, 2012 @ Target Field.
Now is a good time to update on the past couple of weeks here at the ballpark. Strange weather indeed as we continue to break record highs this week in Minneapolis. Back on March 5th, we were still clearing snow off the warning track and the shady 20% of the turf here that takes very long to melt each March. We prefer not to dial up the field heat above 38* until the winter turf blankets are removed. No sense in us promoting pink snow mold on March 1st. This past winter, we were able to put two layers of our DuPont Xavan 5201 covers down in anticipation of minimal snow cover. The Xavan is very light (2 oz. sq. yd.) and permeable. Having only one layer down and no snow cover is not much protection. We put one down by Thanksgiving and once we saw the forecast trends from NWS, we put the other layer down in early December. This worked out quite well. It was still pretty cold March 8th, so we waited until the 9th to pull them off. It is hard to see texture in the photo below, but the blankets are very light and allow the turf to breathe.

By the 13th of March, our irrigation contractor, Mickman Brothers, was in to help us with the spring startup. This is always one of the great days in March...the return of water to the field makes me and all of the crew quite happy. That afternoon we finished our first mowing of the spring.

Sprinklers at Target Field 3/13/12.

On Wednesday March 14, the temps got into the low 70's here. That day I applied a granular fertilizer. This spring, we went with Grigg Brothers 8-4-16 Endurance, greens grade. Following that, we spent most of our time on the 15th and 16th working on the infield dirt. This consisted of a variety of nail dragging, raking and rolling with the walk roller. The work with the dirt and warning track continues over the next couple of weeks.
Going into this weekend, we sprayed the entire field with Civitas, a plant defense activator that contains a subtle green pigment to it. The effect of Civitas is that for about a week the turf will be a hair darker than it would normally be in March. This will help the turf improve its efficiency of photosynthesis and get the ballpark progressing to Opening Day the way we would like. Today we are mowing the field again in anticipation of some potential rain Monday and Tuesday. Below is a shot from this morning of the Toro Greensmaster 1600 mowing 1st base foul territory. Larry.



About Me

Welcome to my blog. I am Larry DiVito, Head Groundskeeper for the Minnesota Twins. DISCLAIMER: content within this blog does NOT represent views or policies of the Minnesota Twins or Major League Baseball.This turfgrass management blog will provide insight into the work of a big league groundskeeper and his crew. I grew up in California playing and coaching baseball, while also working on fields along the way. In 1995 I was fortunate to be hired as Head Groundskeeper for the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox, where I spent seven seasons. In 2002 I became the Assistant Groundskeeper at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. I worked for four seasons in LA from 2002-05. In 2006 I became the Head Groundskeeper for the Washington Nationals in Washington, DC. After three seasons there, I moved to Minnesota in the spring of 2009 as Head of Grounds for the Twins during the building and completion of Target Field.
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