New Era begins for Ross-Ade stadium turf – Turfgrass Science at Purdue University

New Era begins for Ross-Ade stadium turf

The Purdue Boilermaker’s 60-35 win this past Saturday was not only the first test for the football program but also the first real test and a historic milestone for Purdue’s newly renovated field. The beginning of this season marks a new era in Purdue football as Ross-Ade stadium becomes the only Big-10 stadium with a bermudagrass surface. In fact to our knowledge this is the first time that a Big-10 regular season football game has ever been hosted on bermudagrass.

Some may wonder why is this significant? The biggest reason is that bermudagrass is typically known as a Southern turfgrass species and is the species of choice for stadiums in the SEC, ACC and BIG-12. The ability to reliably culture this species in West Lafayette is primarily due to advances in turfgrass breeding (improved cold tolerance) and superior management techniques. Planting bermudagrass in Ross-Ade marks a major agronomic change from the previously used Kentucky bluegrass. Issues like summer rooting or summer disease issues are much less of a concern. Additionally the field can be mowed and maintained at a tighter (at or slightly below 1 inch) cutting height. One of the biggest challenges and partial reason for the renovation was the early four game home stand every weekend in September (when the weather can still be rather warm). With the size and speed of many of the current athletes any sand-based field will face some stress, and bermudagrass will tolerate it as well or better than most. The overall success of this project is primarily the due to the significant time, energy and attention to detail exhibited by Purdue’s Sports Turf Management Staff. Al Capitos, Sports Turf Manger, and his staff have made this project an early success. Thank you for your efforts!!!

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