Ever wonder why EP Fastpitch can't start practices when we want to? The City of Eden Prairie manages the fields and turf; here's an explanation from the Recreation Supervisor-Adult Athletics (APR2017).
Hello Youth Association Representatives!
I’m sure your teams are anxious to get outside with the warm temperatures we have had and that are forecasted; however, the fields are not as anxious to be used yet! As far as the official opening of fields for use in the spring, we keep all fields closed until we start to see soil temperatures warm enough that the turf will come out of dormancy and start to grow again. Even though we can get some warm stretches where the air temperature is 70 degrees or more, that does not mean that the soils have warmed and the grass will begin to grow. This means that any damage to the turf from wear or overuse will not heal itself and you very quickly begin to see field conditions decline. Once this happens, it is very difficult to grow in new turf in these areas under the normal wear and tear of a season and will most likely affect play throughout the playing season. I have attached an article from a few years ago that does a much better job of explaining the importance of staying off fields until they are ready for play. Please share this with any of your coaches or other members of your association to help ensure that we don’t sacrifice field conditions for the entire season in order to have a few extra practices early in the spring.
I will work with Tom, our Parks Maintenance Supervisor, to continue taking soil temps and let you all know when the fields are open for the season. Until then, we appreciate your help with remaining off the fields and proactively providing the details of your field needs to us to help us get everything ready for your use!