Just as a clean shave can make a man look better, fraise mowing an athletic field can greatly improve the field’s appearance.
To fraise mow a field, use a Koro TopMaker or similar machine (Combinator, etc.) to shave off the top 1/4-3/8” of soil, clumpy grass, thatch, and loose rocks. Load the spoil via a conveyor and haul it off site.
The first significant benefit of fraise mowing is that surface irregularities and clumpy grass, the result of surface compaction, are removed while the field’s grade is not significantly changed.
As the surface is made smoother it also becomes safer for athletes – clumpy grass easily turns ankles and gives bad bounces.
The thatch removal that comes with fraise mowing gives significant benefits regardless of whether other steps are taken in the renovation.
After fraise mowing, the field may be immediately seeded in two directions, watered and grown-in. One should expect significantly higher germination and seed growth because of the thatch and debris removal—about 85-90% germination vs. about 40% if the thatch has not been removed. Often the field turnaround is fast because the seeds have little competition. Under good conditions, a field will be ready for play in 3-5 weeks.
What’s more, because the old grass root was left when the top of the grass plant was removed, the old grass will come back from roots as the seed is germinating, and they will grow in together. This significantly contributes to a thicker stand.
Fraise mowing may be a new concept to some; however, it has been used for years to produce an improved athletic field surface quickly while removing unwanted elements that impact safety. This practice will make even the ugliest fields look good.
I’m in the golf business, and I have a few fairways that could benefit from this procedure. Have you had anyone in the golf industry use fraise mowing?? Did they get good results??