By: John Mascaro
Volume 6 Number 1 - April 2000

In this issue:

  1. Say, who the heck are you anyway and what is a Turf-Tec Digest for Sports Turf Managers?
  2. Wind chill index full of hot air.
  3. Is your athletic field safe?
  4. Sample of Tom Mascaro's CD-ROM on the web.
  5. Looking for a quiet vacation spot? Try outer space!
  6. Case study of infiltration on a golf green.
  7. Looking back.
  8. Contributions to this publication.
  9. Privacy policies.


Say, who the heck are you anyway and what is a Turf-Tec Digest for Sports Turf Managers?

Sometimes, you just assume things like all you people that receive my newsletter already know who I am. Well I have gotten some email saying that they enjoyed the newsletter but "who are you?" So I will start from the beginning, My name is John Mascaro and I am president of Turf-Tec International. I have been with Turf-Tec since 1986. This newsletter, the Turf-Tec Digest I have been writing, off and on for the past 12 years however this is the third issue to be available online and the first issue ever devoted strictly to the Sports Turf Manager. I will try to make it a bi-monthly publication if I do not run out of things to say!


Say, who the heck are you anyway and what is a Turf-Tec Digest for Sports Turf Managers?

I feel that I have been in turf all my life, and in fact I have. My father was Tom Mascaro and he was a inventor in the sports turf and golf course industry, with inventions like the Aerifier (1946) and the Verti-Cut (1955) to name just two of the over 100 turf related inventions that he introduced. So growing up around Tom was interesting to say the least. He was always making something neat to either clean up leaves, cut grass better, or just be different. In addition, Tom was a speaker on all the major turf conferences from 1946 until he passed away in 1997. Over his career, he photographed over 100,000 images on turf. Many of these slides will be incorporated into future versions of this newsletter as well as my web site. If you want to learn more about our company history, you can see it on our web site at the attached address: http://www.turf-tec.com/ourhistory.html


In addition, Tom also had the idea for the first "Sports Turf Managers Association" chapter in the world. He called a meeting together here in South Florida in 1988. We met, formed a chapter, and affiliated ourselves with the STMA. After our first meeting, he then turned it over to me and I have been running the Florida chapter ever since 1988. We named the chapter the "Florida Chapter # 1" because it was not only the first chapter in the State, but the country as well. We now have over 85 paid members in our chapter and our mailing list reaches over 350 people in the sports turf profession.


Wind chill index full of hot air.

The Associated Press reported that the wind chill "index exaggerates how cold the air really feels to bare skin. And they say it's time for a new formula to predict the risk of frostbite and hypothermia."

Purdue University is at the forefront of getting a new index initiated. Apparently, the current index is based on formulas from the Army's research in the 1940's.

"Though supposedly measuring how fast human skin loses heat when exposed to the wind, the index is based on tests done in Antarctica using water filled plastic cylinders to measure the speed at which water freezes at different air temperatures and wind speeds. And there's another problem: While air temperature is measured at the eight-foot level, wind speed is measured about 30 feet above ground." I suppose this is for you really tall people.

"The index also doesn't take into account other variables, including the fact that sunny skies on cold, windy days can make a big difference on how warm people actually feel."

Donít you already feel warmer?

Is your athletic field safe?

The question often arises, "When do I aerify my athletic field?" Well, the answer is actually whenever it needs it. The truth is that there is no definitive answer as the best time to aerify but one thing is certain, it cannot be set by the calendar. Too often aerification is scheduled once in the spring and once in the fall. This is fine for a basic framework, however we all live in the real world with too many variables to even count. In every city, there are different soil types, different watering practices and many different usage schedules on our athletic fields.


Is your athletic field safe?  Find out with the Turf-Tec Penetrometer.

An example of this is the basic fact that a sand athletic field will not compact as quickly as a soil or clay based field. So, with all this said, the question still remains, when do you aerify? The answer is to monitor each field individually with a tool like a Penetrometer. The Penetrometer is used to determine how hard the field is in percentages. In general, a soil with 50% compaction, has 50% soil (the solid faction), 25% for air space (the air faction), and the remaining 25% for water (the water faction). The Penetrometer reads these percentages and if compaction reading get above 60%, the air space has been driven out of the soil and there is more solids in the soil then air space. This is when the soil starts to get hard or compact.


Compaction relates directly to the health of the grass plant because if there is no air space in the soil, there is no place for grass roots to grow. In addition, roots breathe! If there is no air space, the grass roots cannot breathe and all living things need air to breathe. So, if you monitor your sports field compaction, when the Penetrometer reads 60% or more, it is time to aerify. Open the soil up, allow air to get into the ground and the roots will grow. If you have good roots, the grass will grow. In sports turf, the only rule of thumb is to grow more grass then the athletes can wear out.


The title of this article mentions ... "Is your athletic Field Safe?". This is a direct relation to compaction, if the soil has more solids then air space, it is compact or hard. If the reading on a Penetrometer is 75%, the field is somewhere between a good soil and cement. If the reading is 100%, the field is as hard as cement. And if there is no air space in the soil, then there is no room for grass roots and there is also no grass. So, by periodic monitoring of the soil compaction, your fields will be safe for roots, grass and athletes.


Sample of Tom Mascaro's CD-ROM on the web.

CD Rom of Turfgrass Slides.

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America has just released 875 photographs from the late Tom Mascaro's slide collection. It is available through the GCSAA's information services department and all proceeds benefit the GCSAA's Historical Preservation Program. If you want to see a sample of some of the slides, I have added some sample pages to my web site at the following address: http://www.turf-tec.com/CD/00INDEX.HTML The CD-ROM sells for $50.00 and it includes photographs in JPEG format in excellent quality of 80KB per image. The slides are grouped in categories of "Soil", "Grass", "Water" and "Nutrition". Text also appears on each image giving information. If you wish to order the CD, contact the GCSAA's at (800) 472-7878 and ask for the Information Services Department or follow the links at the above address.

Looking for a quiet vacation spot? Try outer space!

According to Moscow, If you are looking for a vacation of a lifetime, for $40 million, Russia soon may offer a chance to visit the Mir space Station. Desperate for financing for the 14-year-old station, which in recent years has suffered a series of breakdowns and mishaps, the Russian Space Agency is considering selling charter flights to Mir, after the government cut off funds.

"Technically, a short expedition for tourists is possible right now," said Yuri Koptyev, director of the space station. "It's difficult to predict the demand. But we can probably find a few millionaires who would pay $20 million to $40 million for a week's vacation on Mir.

Case study of infiltration on a golf green.

Mascaro Soil Profile Sampler.

Recently I went to a golf course located in the South Eastern United States to teach a seminar on turfgrass. Yes, I said golf green, however I cannot count the number of times that I have seen the exact same situation on athletic fields. The greens were about 25 years old and I wanted to see the best and the worst green on the course. Upon first examination, the worst green looked good. Nice green, healthy looking Bermuda grass with uniform texture. The Penetrometer read 45% and the moisture was in the 80% - 100% range. When the Infiltrometer was used, the readings were 3 inches per hour. When the soil profile was inspected, it revealed a layer of mat that was approximately four inches thick.

Conversely, on the best green on the course, the grass also looked healthy, and uniform. The Penetrometer reading was also 45% and the moisture was in the 75% range. On this green the infiltration was 24 inches per hour.

Conversely, on the best green on the course, the grass also looked healthy, and uniform. The Penetrometer reading was also 45% and the moisture was in the 75% range. On this green the infiltration was 24 inches per hour. When the soil profile was inspected, it reveled that the sand and the mat had been mixed in with the topdressing and properly decomposed. There was no mat present in the layers of the soil profile below one inch.

To see pictures of these profiles look at this newsletter on my web site. This case study illustrates the sometimes-drastic differences between each green on the golf course and why monthly monitoring of infiltration rates is imperative to prevent problems from building up over time. This particular situation can be corrected with the implementation of aerification at the 4 1/2 inch level along with core removal and sand topdressing over the next several years. However, infiltration rates need to be monitored until the 8-inch per hour threshold is reached. In addition careful attention needs to be paid to this green to be certain the soil does not dry out. If this much mat is allowed to dry, it will take forever for it to re-wet due to the hydrophobic characteristics of mat.

Looking back.

Did you know Ö Tom Mascaro published a monthly periodical called the "West Pointers" from June 1946 to December 1955? He wrote the one page flyer and mailed it out to all the sports turf managers and golf course superintendents in the country for free. At the time, it was one of the few turf-related publications available to the turfgrass professional, yet Tom kept the topics informative and light. Here is a short excerpt from the first issue of the "West Pointer" on June 1946. At the time, West Point Products was selling topdressing to sports fields and golf courses in the Philadelphia area. The invention of the aerifier was just a couple months away.

After a long dissertation about earthworms, Tom wrote" It has been shown that 53,000 worms in an acre can cover the surface with three inches of soil in fifteen years. We do not feel inclined to calculate the exact number of worm hours which would be required to topdress a green, but we have presented the figures in case some ambitious person would like to work it out. If the time is too great to be practical, you may count upon our special Top-dressing mixture to supplement the work of the worm."

Contributions to this publication.

I also want to invite all of you recipients of this newsletter that if you wish to contribute any information that you find interesting or exciting, please send it to me and I will include it along with crediting it's source.

Also, if you know another Sports Turf Manager that would like to receive the Turf-Tec Digest, have them forward their address along to me. In addition, I get most of my new product ideas from sports turf managers who see a need in the industry that has not been filled. Be sure to look at the new product section on my web site for new additions to the line. http://www.turf-tec.com/index.html


Privacy policies.

If you received this newsletter directly from john@turf-tec.com, donít worry. I personally acquired your name by researching each sports field individually. In addition Turf-Tec does not buy, sell, trade or share their mailing list to anyone. We also have taken security measures to insure that your name will not be passed along to other people. If, however you still do not want to receive this newsletter, simply respond to this email with the words "remove" in the subject line and your name will be permanently deleted from our list.


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