From The Field

Posted: June 30, 2010

From the Field is a monthly column written by members of the Sports Surface Research Center at Penn State University. Each month we will try to comment on or direct you to the latest research and practical information concerning your playing surfaces. As our expertise and experience is mainly with natural and synthetic turf surfaces, that's where we'll begin.

If you look at my bio you’ll wonder what a natural turfgrass soil scientist is doing studying synthetic turf? During the 1980’s and 1990’s Penn State developed numerous portable testing devices that could characterize the playing condition of natural turfgrass surfaces. In 1998, Fieldturf installed their first field at Ringgold H.S. in Monongahela, PA. There were many questions about this new infilled synthetic turf surface. As we worked with field managers, installers, and athletic directors we were asked what we knew about this new synthetic turf. The answer at the time was, nothing, but we had the tools.

Much research has been completed since then but much remains to be done. Real and imagined issues continue to arise concerning surfaces and the Sports Surface Research Center is working to bring you answers. Stay tuned. In the meantime you can find out more about us at

Andrew S. McNitt is Associate Professor of Soil Science — Turfgrass and Director of Penn State’s Sports Surface Research Center, The Pennsylvania State University