Turf Tips: Painting in Cooler Temps and Delayed Seasons

2020 has definitely thrown us our fair share of curve balls and we’ve learned to be grateful for things we used to take for granted. So, as sports are welcomed back we plan on embracing the challenges with open arms.

One challenge sports turf managers may be faced with this upcoming season is painting in cooler temperatures because of delayed starts or new spring timelines. Whether you’re a seasoned cool-weather painter or this is the first time your football team may play on colder ground, we’re here to help with our cool weather painting guide.

Putting your field to bed

If football has been pushed back until this spring, set yourself up for success by putting your field to bed in the best shape possible. Opposed to the usual fall start, which follows a brutal summer of heat and heavy traffic, your field will have the advantage of time and recovery. Consider these cultural best practices to ensure the best foot forward when it does come time for your season to begin:

  • Core aerification and verticutting. Both of these processes will open up your field to allow more air, fertilizer and nutrients into the root zone. By promoting stronger root growth, your field will be better prepared to battle cooler temps and colder ground. Verticutting focuses on your thatch level. By managing the thatch level, you improve fertilizer processes and overall grass health. Just be sure to give your field enough time for recovery before dormancy.
  • If your grass is looking sparse due to summer stress, consider overseeding or topdressing your field before putting it to bed. This will aid in new growth production throughout the fall and a jump start come early spring. This is also a great time to address weed control.
  • Several university studies have supported the practice of fall fertilization. This could come in handy when preparing for a spring season. Late season fall fertilization will help your field be ready to take off once the weather jumps in spring.
  • Utilizing grow covers will be beneficial during this time and could be a worthwhile investment if your field will be expected to perform after several dormant months. Grow covers will aid in warming your field up in early spring and aid in getting a couple more weeks in the fall. By quickening the process at which the field heats, you will be benefiting the overall playability of the field. Grow covers can also be utilized to keep frost off your field and, depending on your labor force, grow covers could even be used in between early spring games or late fall to keep playing conditions the best.
  • Lastly, before your field goes dormant, consider using turf grass colorants. Colorants will raise soil temperatures and aid in overall field appearance. Make an application of products like Match Play right before field dormancy and then try to sneak in an application or two before the season starts, as weather and conditions permit.

Cold weather painting

When it comes time to paint, here are the cold weather turf tips to remember:

  • It’s important when painting in cooler temperatures to only take out as much paint as you plan on using by the hour - for both bulk paints and aerosol cans. If you’re cutting paint with water, be sure to only prepare what will be used in the near future instead of keeping paint on the cart. Be sure to keep paint in temperature controlled spaces and out of the elements. This may mean a few more trips back and forth for you but it will save you the stress of other issues.
  • The same rules should be applied to your paint machines. Don’t leave your paint machines idle outside. When taking breaks, turn off the machine and bring it back inside. This will also aid in getting through painting in cold weather conditions.
  • As turf managers we know that Mother Nature always has the upper hand so we have to be smart in preparation. When there’s the possibility you’ll be battling snow, rain and freezing temps at the opening of your season, be sure you’re utilizing time wisely. Utilize periods of time when weather is cooperative to lay out your field. In December once grass has stopped growing, consider taking advantage of a day when the weather breaks to paint the field for the spring season. However, be careful when laying out your lines on synthetic fields. Synthetic turf paints are designed to be applied during specific weather conditions, so don’t go risking putting paint down with less than perfect weather conditions. Visit our synthetic turf resources page for more information on ideal paint windows and products to utilize.

Read our full Ingredients Matter: Game Day Quick Cure feature here!

When utilizing these turf tips, you should set yourself up for a successful start once your season commences. By putting your field to bed in it’s best state and remembering these painting in cooler temperature tips, your field will be more playable and aesthetically pleasing.

When deciding what paint to put down, choose a contender that will battle Mother Nature and her cool, wet conditions. Our Game Day Quick Cure line of paints were designed to cure quicker and hold their own against the elements. This product won’t rewet once applied, which is helpful in late fall and early spring when temperatures require quicker cure times. And don’t forget your trusty old friend, aerosol paint for quick touch ups when repainting the entire field is out of the question.