Crumb rubber as topdressing - Michigan State  · Crumb rubber as topdressing…

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<ul><li><p>Crumb rubber as topdressingsomething to do with it. In our studies we were using aproduct that had slightly larger particles than some of theother studies. In fact, it seems the Pennsylvania study alsoused a larger particle size (think No.2 pencil eraser size).So, maybe the finer rubber particles perform better. Also,most of the studies were done on cool-season grasseswhereas my studies were done on bermudagrass. The dif-ferences in growth habit; bunch growth versus srolonifcr-ous growth, may have something to do with it. There arevery few scientific studies reporting how these productsperform on warm-season grasses.</p><p>So, in the end how would I recommend crumb rub-ber? I would say, I think it has a place. My experiencewith crumb rubber over 3 years on bermudagrase inFlorida with a sandy soil was not as positive as some utb-ers have been in different climates, on different soils, anddifferent grasses. In our studies, topdressing with sand,on average, performed the best considering the parame-ters we measured. This study and others indicated it istough to beat sand topdressing on bermudagrass. Butsand will likely never decrease soil surface hardness tothe extent that crumb rubber can; nor is it likely to pro-mote greener turf when the soil is cool since its colordoes not absorb much light. If these are characteristicsthat interest you, then crumb rubber may be something'you want to try.</p><p>Like more information? There has been other positiveand negative information related to crumb rubber report-ed by scientists and turf managen. Some uf this informa-tion has been scientifically documented and some is justantidotal information. First, an increased release of theelement zinc in the area around the rubber has been doc-umented. J have not seen any problems from this report-ed, but it is a little concerning and should be investigatedfurther. Second, it is a little difficult to get turf established,particularly seeded grasses, in areas with heavy concen-trations of rubber. Third, the rubber is easily moved off-siLe with water sheeting over a thin turf or bare ground.So, the rubber particles Illay accumulate in low areas ormove into drainage basins. Fourth, a thick rubber layer isdifficult to core aerify through. The same properties thatdecrease surface compaction may also work against yourcultural practices.</p><p>On the positive side, I know people that swear by it forhelping alit in heavy traffic areas including sidelines, gual-mouths, etc. Perhaps the most bazaar comments I haveheard is that mole crickets did not like to tunnel in areaswith incorporated crumb rubber. While this is unverified, itwould be interesting to document. </p><p>During a work.rhop pmentation at the 2007 STMACQnjerence,I was asked about using crumb rubber as a topdress-ing on athletic fields. Here's my response.</p><p>Topdressing is a positive and useful culturalpractice, so Iam glad that you have an inter-</p><p>""""... est in the subject. Topdressing is usually usedto aid ill the control of thatch, speed recov-el)' ofturf that has stolons, arid/or to modify</p><p>the soil surface. When used in conjunction with core aerifl-cation, it can also be used to modify the soil profile.</p><p>The typical surface modification desired is increasingwater infiltration by adding a coarse texture particle, mostoften sand. The USl:' of a coarse-textured material such ascrumb rubber has been suggested as a means to reduce com-pacrability of a soil and minimize wear. The origin of thecrumb rubber is most often shredded or cubed tire pieces.</p><p>Previous research 113S demonstrated that crumb rubbermay be an effective topdressing material to reduce surfacehardness and protect the crown of cool-season grasses.</p><p>Another noticeable benefit that has been observed is aquicker greening of grass in the spring due to the dark colorof the crumb rubber increasing convection heating. Oncethe rubber works its way into the soil profile it is not thatmuch of a heating factor. This was certainly the case withbermudagrass in Florida. When rubber was applied justbefore the grass broke dormancy, we saw a dramatic green-ing effect for several weeks.</p><p>Reports of changes in traction or turf shear have beenmixed. In some studies there have been a slight increaseand in other studies significant decreases in traction. Insome studies I did in Florida, I saw anywhere from a lfi to31% decrease in traction depending on topdressing rate. Areduction in soil surface hardness has generally beenreported in most studies, One Pennsylvania study indicat-ed that a coarse crumb rubber actually increased hardness,but all the other studies I reviewed S</p></li></ul>