Monday, March 07, 2011

Dodger Stadium Prepares For The Cameras

Via LA Observed and Blue Heaven, here's a shot of the new turf going down at the Stadium.

It's almost time for Dodger baseball!

More detailed info from West Coast Turf:

Think of the Dodger Stadium turf as two crops, spring and summer. The original grass, a Bermuda hybrid, is grown in Palm Desert, where the root systems are nurtured in sandy soil similar to that of the stadium in Chavez Ravine.

The growers then overseed the Bermuda with rye, the leafy, wide-bladed cool-weather grass common in northern climes. This rich, deep-green grass does better in the early months of the baseball season, taking dominance as the Bermuda lies low. By June and July, the rye begins to give way to the Bermuda grass, which better tolerates crushing heat.

The makeover that Hansen and his crew undertook this spring is necessary when, after several years, the rye adapts and refuses to go dormant during the summer, giving the field a scruffy appearance.

The laying of the sod takes 16 hours, demanding specialized equipment and, ultimately, the human touch. Behind the outfield, a forklift operator unloads big spools of the turf from flatbed trucks. The spools are then hooked to the nose of what looks like a big, ornery lawn mower, which unwinds the grass the way you would a roll of carpet. Tom Stafford of West Coast Turf says the company, which also provides the turf for the Angels, Padres and A's and at the Rose Bowl and Coliseum, created the machines by converting old mowers.

The re-sodding, about $100,000 per ballpark, goes quickly, with several members of the crew following behind to press the seams tight with rakes and heavy garden forks. Back and forth the crews work as a unit, first blanketing the infield, which must be pool-table-smooth, then moving to the outfield, making passes as if mowing. They save the simplest areas for last: the bullpens, which are about the size of a typical Burbank backyard.

Now, why is the guy in the white sweatshirt wearing a ski mask (or is that a gorilla mask)?