Working Hard on the Field and Behind the Scenes: Turfgrass Managers
September 08, 2022
Football season, and any game played on turf, would not be possible without turfgrass managers diligently working behind the scenes.
Plants and soil systems major Jack Simmons spent the summer working with LSU Athletics’ facilities and grounds teams, learning how to care for the athletic fields on campus.
“I helped out with anything they need for the athletic fields on campus, including Tiger Stadium,” said Simmons. “This includes painting, making paint, mowing, and fertilizing.”
Simmons’ concentration is in turf and landscape management. He is learning about plant and turfgrass selection, installation, and maintenance in the classroom.
Pursuing a career in turfgrass management allows Simmons to stay in proximity to athletics.
“I played baseball and football in high school. For baseball, we had to take care of the field ourselves, and I was really involved in it and enjoyed it and decided to pursue something related to that,” he said.
He has escalated from caring for his high school athletic fields to the field in Tiger Stadium.
“We mow typically every other day, and once a month we fertilize the field,” he said. “During the summer, they do more intensive work to add nutrients back to the grass.”
A top-dressing of sand is spread across the field in summer to add nutrients to the soil. Simmons helped pull soil cores to check soil quality.
As LSU prepares to enter football season, Simmons is helping maintain and prep the
field for home football games.
Painting Tiger Stadium for a home game is a three-day process. The grounds team will meticulously apply between 60 to 80 five-gallon buckets of paint to the field.
The morning after the game, the field will be mowed and repaired.
"Mowing the fields is the easiest way to get ruts out of the field,” said Simmons. “We’ll let it rest for a couple of days and come back to see if anything needs patching. We can put in new inserts on sod if it needs it.”
Simmons says he wants to continue with a career in turfgrass management. Most universities have turf grass management teams along with professional teams. There are also opportunities to work with golf courses and commercial landscapes.
To learn more about the turfgrass and landscape management program, visit the LSU College of Agriculture website, lsu.edu/agriculture/programs/undergraduate/plant-soil.php.