The pristine athletic turf of Haslam Field is being torn up. And this time, 300-pound football players aren’t the culprit.
Darren Seybold, Tennessee’s director of sports surface management, said the new turf is simply a rite of spring that occurs every year between the end of spring practice and the beginning of the summer season.
UT will use the opportunity to do some drainage work, but the main reason for ripping up the old grass is simply to keep the field green year-round.
“Knoxville is in what is called a transition climate zone in the turf-grass industry,” Seybold said Friday.
That means the grass that looks the best in a cool season might turn brown in the summer, or vice versa. You may experience something like that in your own front yard. But while it’s possible to overseed a lawn or simply deal with a few months of dormant grass, that’s no longer an option at many colleges.
Alabama, LSU and other top programs re-sod their turf annually. Derek Dooley thought Tennessee should do the same, Seybold said, to demonstrate its commitment to top-quality competition surfaces 12 months out of the year.
Seybold said he will likely continue the annual re-sodding at least until the Vols’ outdoor practice fields are expanded in a few years.
Despite some unpredictable winter weather, the practice fields were pristine and green for Tennessee’s six weeks of spring football. So where does that old turf go? Seybold said it’s probably not a good fit for your front lawn.
“It’s pretty well pulverized by the way we take it off,” Seybold said.
Any intact turf goes to Knox County for their grass-patching needs.