Featured Speakers of the Month

SFMA’s Conference Education Committee is working hard to put together an exciting and informative education program for the 2022 Conference in Savannah, Georgia! Each month, speakers presenting at the conference will be featured. Don’t miss the networking and educational opportunities offered this year!

Dr. Chrissie Segars (left) is an Assistant Professor and Extension Turfgrass Specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Dr. Ambika Chandra (right) is a Professor at Texas A&M AgriLife Research. On Wednesday, January 19, they will be presenting “Breeding Zoysiagrass for Sports Fields.”

Zoysiagrass, a warm season turfgrass, is adapted to the tropical regions as well as the transition zone of the US. The interest in the use of zoysiagrass on sports fields is increasing. With proper selection of varieties and proper management practices, zoysiagrass will produce high quality playing surfaces with fewer inputs. This seminar will review the history, genetics, development, performance, and use of zoysiagrass on sports fields. Participants should learn a brief history of zoysigrass, the current available cultivars, plus their strengths and weaknesses as well as the latest agronomic and pest management strategies to provide peak performance.

Attendees should come away with a bigger understanding of how breeding programs are developed and how cultivars are chosen to move forward. Discussions will be focused on breeding zoysiagrass for sports fields and current research that Texas A&M is undergoing to assess traffic tolerance and recovery of commercial and experimental zoysiagrass.

Thomas Shay, PE is a Principal, Technical Manager and the Sports & Recreation Practice Leader at Woodard & Curran, an integrated science and engineering consulting firm headquartered in Portland, ME. On Tuesday, January 25, he will be presenting “Pursuing Infill Depth Perfection in Synthetic Turf Systems.”

This session will identify shortcomings of synthetic turf infill installation results and how that translates to challenges in future operations and maintenance, impacting overall field performance and longevity. We will review field installation case studies where geolocated infill depth measurements and heat mapping indicate there is a need for improvement.

Attendees will understand limitations of current infill depth measurement practices and visually demonstrate (via heat mapping) how infill depths vary on existing and newly installed synthetic turf athletic fields.

Attendees will be able to identify lessons learned and areas for improvement in infill installations for oversight and implementation by the sports field manager that will lead to longer lasting and higher performing fields.

The session will provoke thoughts and discussion on how the industry can be better served by improving means, methods, equipment, and collaboration throughout the design and installation process.

The content covered in this session can be immediately implemented by the sports field management staff and lead to higher quality and longevity in synthetic turf systems.