Presented by Pennington
Dan Cunningham is the head groundskeeper at Yankee Stadium and an expert in turf grass management. Here, he answers questions about the famous field where he works and how Pennington seed can help you care for your lawn.
1. How do you repair bare spots or damage on the field?
The type of damage will determine the repair process. On very small cleat scrapes or small indentations, we may choose to do very little. Our fertility program can usually grow these blemishes out rather quickly, generally in a couple of days.
In cases where there is a more substantial repair needed, we may use a combination of seed and top dressing to fill and level the damaged area. In cases of severe turf destruction, we may have to remove the area and replace it with new sod. The sod will be thick cut to avoid any movement while it establishes a root system.
2. What is the biggest challenge keeping the field looking good?
We have a code: First is safety, followed by playability, then aesthetics. We are considered a multiuse facility because we accommodate many different events in differing weather conditions. Baseball usually doesn’t play in snow or heavy rain, but soccer and football will play in just about any condition.
We have a full Yankees schedule coupled with a full New York City Football Club (our home soccer team) schedule. These two teams play simultaneously during the months from March through October. November and December are generally reserved for football and possibly some playoff soccer. We are constantly converting from one sport to another and making each field safe, playable and also good-looking.
3. What is your best advice for keeping your lawn looking good at home?
Be aware of the changing seasons and how they will affect the way you care for your lawn. Take the time to walk around your lawn periodically and look for areas that seem to be under stress, which makes the grass unsightly and unhealthy.
Be careful not to fertilize or water more than is needed. This could have disastrous long-term effects on your lawn. Raise the mowing heights of your lawn during hot, dry conditions. This will alleviate any added stress on the plant.
4. How do you utilize Pennington to prepare the field throughout the season?
5. What would surprise fans the most about lawn care at Yankee Stadium?
I think most fans would be surprised by how much time is involved in getting a field ready. Many fans think it is as simple as cutting the grass. There are so many things that go into the final product and so many outside factors during the day that can affect the turf.
We try to keep it as simple as we can, but also realize we must continue to strive to make it as safe, playable and aesthetically pleasing as possible.