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Influence of Tall Fescue Baseball Infield Mowing Height on Ground Ball Speed

Influence of Tall Fescue Baseball Infield Mowing Height on Ground Ball Speed

( By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension and Gage Knudson, KSU Turfgrass Undergraduate Research Assistant)

Summary. Athletic field conditions have shown to influence playability. Results of ball-roll speed studies can be used to predict success of infield hits. Field trials were conducted at Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Center to determine the influence of tall fescue baseball infield mowing height on ground ball speed and batter on-base success. Mowing heights of 2.5, 5, and 7.6 cm resulted in 1.77, 2.08 and 1.88 s ground ball times, respectively.

Rationale. Tall fescue [Schedonorus arundinaceus (Schreb.)] is a drought tolerant turfgrass species commonly used as a baseball infield playing surface. Cultural management practice studies on athletic surfaces have shown direct influences on playability. Minimal information exists on the influence of infield mowing height and ball-roll speed. Results of ball-roll speed studies can be used to predict success of infield hits.

Objectives. Determine the influence of tall fescue baseball infield mowing height on ground ball speed and batter on-base success.

Study Description. Research trials were initiated on November 21, 2016 at the Rocky Ford Research Center (RF) in Manhattan, KS to determine the influence of tall fescue baseball infield mowing height on ground ball speed and batter on-base success. Research trials were conducted on 30.5 m long simulated tall fescue infield. Two experimental runs were conducted on three different infield mowing height treatments; 2.5, 5, and 7.6 cm. Six individual replications of a simulated ground ball were applied to each infield condition and experimental run. Ground balls were applied with a pitching machine set to 112.6 kph. Simulated ground balls were timed in seconds (s) from simulated pitched ball and bat contact (insertion into machine) to baseball fielder location (30.5 m distance). Successful infield hits were calculated using constant athletic ability data and infield ball-roll data. Data was subjected to ANOVA in SAS and means were separated according to Fisher’s protected LSD at 0.05 significance level.

Results. Mowing heights of 2.5, 5, and 7.6 cm resulted in 1.77, 2.08 and 1.88 s ground ball times, respectively (Figure 1). Utilizing ground ball speed results, researchers were able to predict that a simulated batter, if a ground ball was hit to the shortstop position (30.5 m distance), would result in an unsuccessful at bat if a tall fescue infield was mown at 2.5 cm and successful if mown at 5 and 7.6 cm, utilizing consistent player athletic ability data (Figure 1 and Table 1).

#ksuturf Undergraduate Students Compete in Research Symposium

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Last Friday, three undergraduate turfgrass science students completed in the Gamma Sigma Delta Undergraduate Research Poster Competition; Dani McFadden, Peyton South and Gage Knudson.  Peyton South received 1st place and a 100 dollar monetary prize.  Congrats to Peyton and a job well done to Dani and Gage!

Below you can read about the research that they conducted over the past two semesters.

Titles included;

  1. Effect of Dormant ‘MidIron’ Bermduagrass Colorant Applications on Clothing Blemishing
  2. Influence of Tall Fescue Baseball Infield Mowing Height on Ground Ball Speed
  3. The Effect of Human Insect Repellents on Perennial Ryegrass Growth and Recovery

Effect of Dormant ‘MidIron’ Bermduagrass Colorant Applications on Clothing Blemishing

L. McFadden* and J. A. Hoyle*

*Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources, Kansas State University, 2021 Throckmorton Plant Sciences Center, Manhattan, KS; Corresponding author’s email; dmcfadden@ksu.edu

Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) is a warm-season turfgrass used on athletic fields in the midwest. Although a desirable turfgrass species for athletic fields it fails to maintain acceptable green color during winter. Turfgrass colorants have been utilized to maintain acceptable green turf color through dormancy periods. Athletes of all ages play on sports fields where colorants have been applied. Extensive research has explored turfgrass colorants on turfgrass quality but minimal research exists on potential clothing blemishing when athletes contact turfgrass applied with colorants. The objective of this research was to determine if turfgrass pigments and paints blemish athletic clothing after the recommended dry time. Researcher’s hypothesis paints would result in greater blemishing and pigments would have no effect due to coloring occurring from inside the plant. Field research trials were initiated Feb. 16, 2017 at Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Center in Manhattan, KS on dormant ‘MidIron’ bermudagrass maintained at 3.8 cm. Treatments were applied to 1.5 by 1.5 m plots arranged in a randomized complete block design with four replications. Treatments consisted of three paints (Wintergreen Plus, Green Lawnger, Endurant Premium), one pigment (Envy) and a non-treated control for comparison. All colorant treatments were applied at 1:6 (v:v) dilution in 1,234 L ha-1 spray volume. After recommended drying time (4 hrs), a white cotton t-shirt was pulled 1.5 m across the plot weighted down with 11.4 kg. Digital image analysis was used to determine percent blemishing of t-shirt area. Data was subjected to ANOVA in SAS and means were separated according to Fisher’s Protected LSD at 0.05 significance level. Envy (turfgrass pigment) resulted in the highest blemished clothing percentage (60%). All other treatments were no different than the non-treated. Results demonstrate that the tested turfgrass paints safely adhere to the turfgrass canopy and do not blemish athletic clothing.

Influence of Tall Fescue Baseball Infield Mowing Height on Ground Ball Speed

Gage M. Knudson* and Jared A. Hoyle*

*Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources, Kansas State University, 2021 Throckmorton Plant Sciences Center, Manhattan, KS; Corresponding author’s email; knudson.gage@gmail.com

Tall fescue [Schedonorus arundinaceus (Schreb.)] is a drought tolerant turfgrass species commonly used as a baseball infield playing surface. Cultural management practice studies on athletic surfaces have shown direct influences on playability. Minimal information exists on the influence of infield mowing height and ball-roll speed. Results of ball-roll speed studies can be used to predict success of infield hits. Research trials were initiated on November 21, 2016 at the Rocky Ford Research Center (RF) in Manhattan, KS to determine the influence of tall fescue baseball infield mowing height on ground ball speed and batter on-base success. Research trials were conducted on 30.5 m long simulated tall fescue infield. Two experimental runs were conducted on three different infield mowing height treatments; 2.5, 5, and 7.6 cm. Six individual replications of a simulated ground ball were applied to each infield condition and experimental run. Ground balls were applied with a pitching machine set to 112.6 kph. Simulated ground balls were timed in seconds (s) from simulated pitched ball and bat contact (insertion into machine) to baseball fielder location (30.5 m distance). Successful infield hits were calculated using constant athletic ability data and infield ball-roll data. Data was subjected to ANOVA in SAS and means were separated according to Fisher’s protected LSD at 0.05 significance level. Mowing heights of 2.5, 5, and 7.6 cm resulted in 1.77, 2.08 and 1.88 s ground ball times, respectively. Utilizing ground ball speed results, researchers were able to predict that a simulated batter, if a ground ball was hit to the shortstop position (30.5 m distance), would result in a unsuccessful at bat if a tall fescue infield was mown at 2.5 cm and successful if mown at 5 and 7.6 cm, utilizing consistent player athletic ability data.

The Effect of Human Insect Repellents on Perennial Ryegrass Growth and Recovery

 Peyton E. South* and Jared A. Hoyle*

*Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources, Kansas State University, 2021 Throckmorton Plant Sciences Center, Manhattan, KS; Corresponding author’s email; southpeyton@ksu.edu

Human insect repellents containing diethyltoluamide (DEET) commonly damage turfgrass due to non-target application. Common visual damage results in two areas of healthy growing turfgrass in the shape of footprints with necrotic and chlorotic turfgrass surrounding. Damage results in unacceptable turfgrass quality and playability. Minimal research has been conducted to explore the influence of human insect repellents on turfgrass injury and recovery. Research trials were initiated in November of 2016 at the Throckmorton Plant Sciences Center Greenhouses in Manhattan, KS to determine the influence of human insect repellents on perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) growth and recovery. Perennial ryegrass was established in 10 by 10 cm pots at 387 kg ha-1, maintained at 4.4 cm and were irrigated to prevent drought stress. Greenhouse environment was a 12 hr photoperiod at 15.5°C/ 22.2°C (night/day). Insect repellent treatments were applied to perennial ryegrass plants arranged in a randomized complete block design with 4 replications. Treatments included 9 insect repellents and a non-treated control for comparison. Five treatments contained the active ingredient DEET. Other commonly used insect repellents were also included for comparison. Collected data included visual percent injury on a 0%- 100% scale, where 10% represented maximum acceptable injury. Data was subjected to ANOVA in SAS and means were separated according to Fisher’s protected LSD at 0.05 significance level. All treatments except the control resulted in at least 6% turfgrass injury 1 day after application (DAA). Repel Max (40% DEET) and Off Active (15% DEET) resulted in 68% and 30% injury, respectively 21 DAA. At 21 DAA all other treatments resulted in turfgrass injury similar to the non-treated. Results demonstrate that permanent non-target turfgrass injury will occur if Off Active and Repel Max are applied as a human insect repellent.

To bag… or not to bag? Whether ’tis nobler to recycle clippings.

(By Jared Hoyle, Turfgrass Research and Extension)


A week or two ago I posted on mowing and introduced two new publications for homeowners and professionals about correct mowing practices.  Well since we are all out mowing I tend to get the question about bagging lawn clippings.  Do I bag clippings?  Doses it cause thatch? Can I use it as mulch in my garden? Etc…

Well I just updated the Recycling Grass Clipping Extension Publication at the KSRE Bookstore.

http://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=701

Check it out for more information and to answer the question….

To bag… or not to bag? Whether ’tis nobler to recycle clippings.

***Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is solely for identification purposes and does not imply recommendation or endorsement, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned by Kansas State University.***

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @KSUTurf.

Also, visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/KSUTurf

Turfgrass Care for Homeowners (K-State Radio Network) – April Broadcast

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

About a week ago I was invited back again to speak with Eric Atkinson, host of Agriculture Today a daily program distributed to radio stations throughout the state. It features K-State agricultural specialists and other experts examining agricultural issues facing Kansas and the nation.

This week we covered the following;

  • fertilization of cool-season lawns
  • fertilization of warm-season lawns
  • weed control
  • preemergent herbicide control
  • spring mowing heights

Check out the radio program below!

Always remember to READ THE LABEL for the correct rate, turfgrass tolerance, and specific instructions before application!!!

***Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is solely for identification purposes and does not imply recommendation or endorsement, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned by Kansas State University.***

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @KSUTurf.

Also, visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/KSUTurf

It’s not how fast you mow, It’s how well you mow fast – PART 2

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Last year in April I posted about the John Deere “Its not how fast you mow, It’s how well you mow fast” and talked about how we mow our lawn.  Well it is that time of year again.

 

Click the link below for more information on how fast you should actually mow, mowing height, mowing frequency, clippings, mowing pattern and more.

http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/its-not-how-fast-you-mow-its-how-well-you-mow-fast/ 

But this year we are introducing updated KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension publications about mowing.  These two updated publications are for homeowners and professional turf managers.  Enjoy!

Homeowners Publication – http://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=615

Professional Series – http://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=712

 

“It’s not how fast you mow, It’s how well you mow fast!”

(by Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

The new John Deere lawn mower commercial cracks me up.  I feel like that has been the story of my life. The tag line in the commercial is, “It’s now how fast you mow, It’s how well you mow fast!” Take a look!

This gave me in inspiration to write a little article on mowing.  First of all, a couple fun facts.  Did you know that mowing your grass can be relaxing.  Researchers actually found out that the smell of fresh cut grass actually makes people happier.  Also, if you really like the smell of cut grass you can have it all the time; candles, air freshers, etc.

candle

Ok now actually to some information about mowing.  Mowing is one of the most important cultural practices we do.  If we don’t do anything else to our lawns we are at least going to mow. So below are some mowing tips

  • Actually, “It’s now how fast you mow, It’s how well you mow fast!” is not really true…. Operate your mower at a safe operating speed.  Usually 3 to 5 MPH. This will cut the grass cleanly and thoroughly.
  • Mowing height – When you mow turfgrass too short you can get weeds, diseases, and a thin canopy.  The same goes it you mow it too tall.  So staying in that optimal range is very important.  Listed below are the optimal mowing heights for each species and usage.

mowing heights

  • Mow according to the 1/3 rule.  Remove only 1/3 of the leaf blade at a time.  That means the shorter you mow your turf the more often you will have to mow it.  According to this rule, for example, if you want to keep your lawn at 2″ then you would mow when it gets to 3″.  If you wanted to keep your lawn at 4″ then you could wait till it got to 6″ before you mowed it.  But no matter what height you keep your lawn at it still grows the same speed, therefore the shorter you want to keep your lawn the more often you will have to mow it.
  • Clippings – Try and keep your clippings on your lawn.  It is free fertilizer!  Sometimes you may have to bag the clippings because too much grass was cut and you don’t want it to shad out the other grass.

IMG_0528

  • Always keep a sharp blade.  A sharp blade makes your mower more efficient and is better for the turfgrass.  A rotary mower actually doesn’t cut the grass, it actually chops the grass off therefore making sure you have sharp blade is very important.  A dull blade and rip and tear the grass apart making it look brown unhealthy not to mention it will take a lot of the plant’s energy to repair it.
  • Establish a mowing pattern. Blades tend to lean the grass in the direction of the mowing. So switch up the pattern at each mowing.  This will also help with soil compaction and turf wear.
  • Lastly, maintain your mower.  Proper maintenance is a must.  It will keep the turfgrass healthy and you safe.

For more information check out the latest Agriculture Today Radio Program about mowing and a publication at the KSRE bookstore on mowing!

http://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=712

IMG_0551

***Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is solely for identification purposes and does not imply recommendation or endorsement, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned by Kansas State University.***