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Grass and soil for sports turf in Thailand

Grass and soil for sports turf in Thailand

This is a presentation I gave for a seminar at Bangkok Thonburi University in July 2018. I explained, for Thailand's climate, how I would work with grasses and soils to achieve these goals:

- Suitable gradient and free from dips and hollows​
- Well drained​
- Good grass cover of desirable grass species​
- Firm and stable to give good playing characteristics​

Those are some of the "main characteristics of the playing surface that need to be achieved," taken directly from FIFA's "Manager's Guide to Natural Grass Football Pitches."


Micah Woods

July 22, 2018


  1. Grass and Soil for Sports Turf in Thailand Micah Woods

    Chief Scientist | Asian Turfgrass Center
  2. Today • Grass varieties • Grass management • Soil •

    Basic requirements • Ideal requirements
  3. Kashima Soccer Stadium

  4. not like this

  5. SCG Stadium

  6. not like this

  7. Goal • Suitable gradient and free from dips and hollows

    • Well drained • Good grass cover of desirable grass species • Firm and stable to give good playing characteristics • Appropriate pitch markings with a good visual appearance
  8. Grass varieties

  9. Bermudagrass Cynodon dactylon • The standard grass for sports fields

    in hot and sunny climates • Grows rapidly when conditions are good • Does not grow well in shade • Does not grow well in wet soils
  10. Seashore paspalum Paspalum vaginatum • Grows better than Cynodon in

    shade and in wet soils • Requires regular irrigation • Susceptible to diseases and insects • Best grass for use with saline irrigation water
  11. Manilagrass Zoysia matrella • Best all-around grass for Thailand conditions.

    It grows everywhere. • `Nuwan noi' variety grows more rapidly than bermudagrass or seashore paspalum in Thailand conditions. • Excellent resistance to traffic.
  12. Experiment at TISTR • Cynodon, Paspalum, and Zoysia • Sand

    rootzone • 15 mm cutting height • 1 g N/sq. meter/week • 0.5, 1, and 2 g K/sq. meter/week
  13. Surprising result? • Zoysia grew more than Cynodon or Paspalum

  14. Use grasses with rhizomes and stolons • Cynodon, Paspalum, and

  15. Use grasses with rhizomes and stolons • Polytrias indica: good

    for lawns, not for football. Stolons but no rhizomes.
  16. Use grasses with rhizomes and stolons • Axonopus compressus: no

  17. Use grasses with rhizomes and stolons • Axonopus compressus: no

  18. Grass management

  19. Light 6 hours per day at minimum.

  20. Air in the soil • at least 25% of the

    soil volume should be air space • Easiest to achieve with a sand rootzone • Manage compaction and organic matter
  21. Air in soil • Easy way to check. • After

    25 mm of rain or irrigation, can you squeeze water from the soil? If so, too much organic matter and not enough air space.
  22. Water • Supply enough to maintain grass growth.

  23. Fertilizer • Supply enough to produce the desired growth rate.

    • Probably about 1 g N/sq. meter/week as a starting point. • Soil test to find out what the soil can supply.
  24. Insects, diseases, and weeds • First, maintain a dense stand

    of healthy turf. • Second, control as necessary. • With healthy turf in a well-drained soil, weeds and diseases will be a minor problem on football pitches in Thailand.
  25. Mowing • Mow with sharp mower blades. • Cut at

    appropriate height, usually from 20 to 35 mm. • Mow frequently enough to remove no more than 33% of the leaf at one time.
  26. Soil

  27. Use a sand rootzone • In Thailand's climate, a sand

    rootzone is required for a quality pitch.
  28. Sand rootzone with sub-drainage • Standard method is similar to

    golf green construction • Subdrainage • Gravel layer • 30 cm rootzone layer
  29. At minimum • 5 cm sand topdressing layer over soil

    • Drainage at 4 m spacing • Slit drains filled with sand at 90 degree angle
  30. Basic requirements

  31. Basic • Drainage • 5 cm sand layer • Mow

    3x per week • Ability to supply irrigation • Sprayer for use as necessary in weed, insect, and disease management • 6 week break at end of season for field renovation and regrowth • Resod areas as necessary • Others?
  32. Ideal requirements

  33. Ideal • In addition to basic: • 30 cm sand

    rootzone • Irrigation system • Use growth regulators • 10 week break for renovation and repair • Mowing more than 3x per week • More frequent aeration and verticutting • Others?
  34. More information