SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1990

Tolerance of Several Cool-Season Turfgrasses to Simulated Sports Traffic


Cool-season turfgrasses have potential for use on sports fields in the Southwestern United States. Fifty-three cultivars were planted in the National Perennial Ryegrass Evaluation Trial at the University of California at Riverside in 1984. After four years, Palmer, HR-1, Tara, Citation II, M-382, Gator, Blazer, Prelude, and SWRC-1 rated highest in quality with no statistically significant difference among them. A Brinkman traffic simulator (BTS) treatment, equivalent to one professional football game per week, was applied in 1988, over an eight-week period, to the perennial ryegrass cultivars. All of the ryegrasses tolerated the traffic, with Citation II performing the best.

Common Bermuda grass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] was overseeded with several cool-season species. Under moderate BTS traffic, roughstalk bluegrass (Poa trivialis L.) disappeared almost immediately. Annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.), Flyer creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra L.), and Shadow Chewing's fescue (Festuca rubra var. commutata Gaud.) tolerated more traffic. Rebel II tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) withstood a moderate amount of traffic. Caliente and Elka perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) cultivars were traffic tolerant with the Caliente rating higher. Under the traffic and competition of the more persistent overseeded grasses (perennial ryegrass and tall fescue), the common Bermuda grass did not transition.

Established Mojave tall fescue was submitted to BTS traffic over a nine-month period. The grass tolerated moderate traffic, but it did not perform well under a once a week football game equivalent. Penetrometer measurements were significant among the treatments, indicating the heavy traffic reduced the impact absorption capability of the turf and increased the soil compaction.

The perennial ryegrasses are durable enough for consideration as sports turf for some sports in the Southwest.

Author Information

Cockerham, ST
University of California, Riverside, CA
Gibeault, VA
University of California, Riverside, CA
Van Dam, J
San Bernardino County, University of California, Cooperative Extension, Riverside, CA
Leonard, MK
University of California, Riverside, CA
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Developed by Committee: F08
Pages: 85–95
DOI: 10.1520/STP25352S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5133-8
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1296-4