Turf Tips: Painting in Cooler Temps and Delayed Seasons

If your team takes you far into the fall sports season, be equipped with cooler temp turf tips to ensure safety and playability.

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

  1. It’s important when painting in cooler temperatures to only take out as much paint as you plan on using in an 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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, 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 risk putting paint down with less than perfect weather conditions.
  4. 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 Game Day Turf Colorant or 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.

Discover how Cleveland’s NFL crew successfully paints as temperatures decrease: How Game Day Quick Cure Helped Neal Pate in Cleveland

When the season does come to a close, consider these cultural best practices for putting your field to bed.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 expediting the field warm up, 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.

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