Growing sports turf in shady environments

R.L. Mann
Growing turf in a stadium environment can be challenging. As stadia increase in size, the sward surface is more likely to be shaded on at least part of the pitch area. A reduction in the quantity of light reduces the growth potential of turfgrass leading to reduced quality in the resulting playing surface. All grass species require a certain level of light intensity for optimal growth, with warm-season species having a higher phytosynthetically active radiation requirement compared with cool-season species. Turfgrasses grown under light-limiting conditions exhibit various changes such as larger, thinner leaves, reduced carbohydrate levels and reduced wear tolerance. Added to this, stadia environments also have reduced air movement and increased humidity. As a result, playing surfaces in shaded parts of stadia often have poor sward density with increased levels of algae and are more susceptible to disease outbreaks. Many management practices have been investigated to try to mitigate the problems associated with growing turfgrasses in sub-optimal irradiance. These include sowing more shade-tolerant grass species or varieties, reducing nitrogen inputs, providing supplementary lighting and using plant growth regulators. All of these management practices are reviewed and their effects on turf grown in these challenging environments evaluated.
Mann, R.L. (2016). Growing sports turf in shady environments. Acta Hortic. 1122, 83-90
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1122.11
shade, daily light integral, photosynthetically active radiation, golf, stadia

Acta Horticulturae