Football fans all over the world spend countless hours preparing to watch a football match.
However, not many people pay attention to the football field, unless there is something wrong with it.
Because of this, it is important to understand the type of grass used on the football pitch.
What Type Of Grass Is On A Football Field?
Unlike other sports, the type of grass used in football fields is chosen based on its environmental adaptability. In the United States, five primary types of football field grass are most commonly used.
In the northern states of America, there are three types of cool-season grasses that are used on the football field: Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue.
Although the name implies that this grass variety originated from Kentucky, that’s not exactly true.
This grass type was native to northern Asia and European countries, but was brought to the United States and was used as pasture grass in many states, including Kentucky.
The Kentucky Bluegrass is widely known as the best quality grass type for football fields located in cooler regions.
Because of this, the grass is grown in northern states where the temperature remains temperate.
Kentucky Bluegrass takes about 14 to 30 days to germinate and can establish a thick and luxuriant carpet.
It has a creeping growth and its color can be vivid emerald green to a dark green with blue undertones — hence its name.
Kentucky Bluegrass has a fine texture and is low growing. Hence, it does not require too much upkeep.
The tall fescue is another great variety of cool-season grass.
It is prized because it grows well in a large range of climates, and remains hardy in heat, cold, shade, and drought, because of its root system that extends 2 to 3 feet into the ground — much deeper than many other cool-season grass varieties.
Tall fescue is a perennial grass that can germinate in about 7 to 12 days.
It grows into a thick and dense turf that can last for a whole season, further proving that this grass type is pretty tolerant. To maintain the thick turf, tall fescue is reseeded twice a year.
Tall fescue also comes in sewer shorter varieties that are insect and pest resistant.
Perennial ryegrass is an upright growing grass and can form a thick turf quickly in just five to 10 days.
Since it grows so fast, it can also repair itself very quickly. Some sources claim that this grass is the most tolerant against wear among all the cool-season grasses.
This attribute is pretty useful since football field grass sees a lot of traffic that can result in wear and tear. However, it also requires frequent maintenance and needs to be mowed not later than after it grows to about 2 ½ inches.
Perennial ryegrass has been improved over the years and now comes in a better color and texture and is pest and disease-resistant.
It has also become the most popular grass for overseeding.
In the southern states, warm-season Bermuda grass and Bahia grass is primarily used.
Bermuda grass is probably the most ideal grass for all-around sports fields. The grass is grown in hot regions and is valued because of its high tolerance to heat and drought.
If it is grown in the transitional zones, it needs to be overseeded in the fall season so that it can germinate in the spring.
Bermuda grass takes about 10 to 30 days to germinate and has a fine to medium texture.
It grows into a fast-growing, fast-healing, and dense turf and has medium to deep green color.
It can also withstand heavy traffic and can recover fast from damage, which is why it is commonly seen on many football fields.
Bahia grass is a very popular grass is a perennial warm-season grass and prefers sunny conditions.
Because it can tolerate a high temperature, drought, and low-nutrition conditions, and can flourish in environments where other grass types may wilt, it is a very popular choice for football fields in the southern states.
It takes about 14 to 28 days to grow and can withstand heavy traffic, recovering itself quickly.
Since it does not grow too fast, it is low-maintenance, which is one of the reasons why it is preferred by most football field managers.
If you an avid fan of all things football, this season takes a look at the grass growing in the fields your favorite teams will be playing at. Based on the geography, durability, texture, and color, you may be able to determine which grass type is used.
Are Football Fields Made of Grass?
The major football associations have rules about what kind of turf a football field needs to have. The football field needs to be green and wholly natural, unless the competition rules permit something else.
Because of these rules, most football fields are made of natural grass, though in some cases they can also be covered in artificial turf.
Professional football players favor football fields that are covered in natural grass as opposed to artificial turf.
Although artificial turfs are very durable and reliable, it still has a few drawbacks compared to natural grass.
The major reason why artificial grass is used in football fields is because it attempts to minimize the effect of inclement weather on the field.
For example, rain can cause a playing field made of natural grass to become slippery.
Artificial turfs need only to be crested to shed water and they can withstand a lot of foot traffic, unlike natural grass that can become damaged quickly due to stamping feet.
However, artificial turf has some notable issues:
- Once you decide to go with artificial turf, you can’t go back to natural grass. That’s because the plastic in artificial turf kills the living organism in the subsoil, rendering the soil infertile. It would require years of soil remediation to grow grass on the surface.
- Artificial turf also becomes quite hot during the summer season, which means field developers have to constantly improve the aeration, irrigation, and ventilation of the turf. This makes it more costly.
- Artificial turfs are not soft like grass and players often complain that rubber surface burned their exposed arms and legs.
On the other hand, with good management and a proper root zone, natural grass can perform very well. In fact, football fields can now also stay green all year long.
Thanks to anti-freezing piping that pumps extremely hot water, the soil doesn’t freeze even in cold seasons.
Additionally, huge heat lamps can mimic the sun and provide the natural grass enough heat to trick it into thinking it was growing in the middle of spring.
If maintained well, natural grass can survive up to 10 years. In addition, it is cool and does not irritate the skin, which is why it is the top choice of turf for a lot of football players.
Can You Grow that Kind of Grass on Your Lawn?
Of course, the types of grass used on the football field aren’t used exclusively for sports.
Most of these grasses can be bought for the lawn in your home as well.
If you think about it, this can be pretty exciting since grass you boast in your lawn is the same type that your favorite footballer runs on every week.
Choosing the right type of turf can be pretty intimidating, especially with the large variety to choose from.
If you want to mimic football fields, you will need to go with one of the five options of grass we mentioned above.
All of these grasses are very durable, hard-wearing and have quick repairing ability.
So if you have a lawn that sees a lot of children, pet, and guest traffic, getting a turf used on football field can be a great idea.
In fact, you should also know that it is much easier to grow a type of grass in your lawn than it is on a football field.
That’s because when it comes to sports field, there is a lot of mathematical calculations, science, effort, and money involved in keeping the field green so that your favorite football players can run on it.
Maintaining a football field requires an impeccable irrigation system, frequent mowing, adding the top dressing, applying fertilizers and insecticides, and painting the field. You also have to make sure that water from the field does not run off into open waterways for public safety.
Since football fields experience a lot of aggressive running and skidding, it is essential that the grass grown on them is hardy and durable.
If you use climate-compatible grass types, it is also easier to maintain.
The benefits of natural grass turf on a football field are innumerable. That is why a lot of professional players prefer natural turf over artificial or hybrid ones.