Mind the grass Hood River’s sports fields face stressful times. One local caretaker offers tips to keep them healthy

Photo by Adam Lapierre

Jim Tedford waters a newly sodded patch of grass at Westside School. Use of Westside’s fields is currently limited due to repairs.

By ADAM LAPIERRE

News staff writer

July 23, 2005

From the Columbia Gorge Soccer League, the Hood River Dynamos and summer lacrosse, to kids playing catch, ultimate Frisbee, rowdy dogs and the scorching summer sun, Hood River’s sports fields are facing a stressful season.

And soon summer will end —sorry kids — and school soccer, cross country and football will begin their grueling practice schedules, recess will send stampedes of young rascals over the grass, and the fields will once again get trampled day after day until winter says it’s time to play inside.

After a wet early summer, recent weather has been hot and dry, putting more stress on fields trying to recover from heavy spring use.

Hood River Dynamos coach Jim Tedford is one of a handful of staff members working hard to maintain Hood River’s fields.

“Our fields are a valuable asset for the community,” Tedford said. “If everyone, individuals and groups, do their part, the fields can remain in good condition for all to enjoy for years to come.”

Recently, Tedford has been helping with repairs to Westside’s fields, which are currently open only to limited use while extensive re-sodding takes root. According to Tedofrd, damage to the fields has been from both responsible use over time and from misuse.

Watering a patch of fresh sod, Tedford commented, “We need a community effort to keep these (fields) in good condition. We can not afford to do this every year.”

Westside fields have recently been cored, slice-seeded, top-dressed, and re-sodded to repair damaged areas before school sports start daily-doubles.

“Together,” Tedford said, “we can keep our fields safe, clean and in good condition.”

Tedford offered some simple instructions the community can follow to help reduce damage to Hood River’s already stressed sports fields:

Trash should always be placed in appropriate containers at all the fields.

Don’t place portable goals in the same place over and over for practices.

Stay away from flagged, recently repaired areas.

The soccer goals should not be placed at the end of the fields for practice (where they would be in game situations) and they should not be tipped over so they are resting on their front sides because they rust.

Be careful not to tear up wet grass or bare spots with cleats.

Do not drive a vehicle on fields.

Any group wishing to use any of the fields must sign up through Community Educaiton at (541) 386-2055.

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