When the Miami Marlins take the field this spring, the new Marlins Park stadium will feature a complete field conversion to Platinum TETM Paspalum turfgrass. Platinum TE earned its place in the franchise by meeting the specific performance needs of the team and of the retractable roof, warm season stadium, as well as addressing environmental priorities, such as predictability and reduced water and nitrogen usage.
Besides the typical criteria used to select sports field surfaces such as durability, maintenance requirements, and aesthetics, the fluctuations between an open and closed stadium environment added the concerns of extreme shade and temperature differences.
“Everything changes when you factor in a retractable roof,” said Chad Mulholland, director of grounds for the Miami Marlins. “Field temperatures can reach over 100 degrees during the day and drop to as low as 72 when we close the roof on game days. But even more challenging is the shade. There are days when some areas of the field get no sun at all.” The Marlins Park stadium has the LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, placing additional demands on performance. The conversion to Platinum TE yielded a marked reduction in water usage and inputs, specifically nitrogen.
Before switching from bermudagrass, Mulholland conducted extensive research including visits and long conversations with the field manager of the Houston Astros where Platinum TE has been in use for several years. With a retractable roof and similar climate, Houston provided comparable conditions with the success Mulholland sought.
Mulholland found Platinum TE to be “a better surface for our players and a more predictable grass to maintain.”
In addition to reduced light tolerance and sustainability benefits, Mulholland says Platinum TE is an aggressive and thicker turfgrass that recovers quickly. The dark green color provided aesthetic appeal and striped well both under artificial and natural light. Platinum TE’s density and ability to sustain low heights of cut provided the extra benefit of slowing down the ball.
“Our players noticed it, but this feature really resonated when a player from a visiting team made a point to let us know how ecstatic he was with the turf, getting a good hop and having the ball stay down,” said Mulholland. “We are very happy with our choice. It’s exceeded our expectations.”Platinum TE is a patented and certified paspalum turfgrass cultivar developed by Turf Ecosystems. This environmentally sustainable, salt-tolerant turfgrass offers unparalleled playability and cosmetic appearance.