Making the Painting Season Less Painful

How PRGs can help you save paint and hours…

School is back in session and fall sports are gearing up, that means it’s painting season! We who maintain baseball and softball fields stumble along all season painting a handful of lines at most, but it’s those who maintain football and soccer fields who are the true painting pros out there with all of the painting they need to do at this time of year. The professionals and colleges paint weekly for bright, vivid and stunning athletic masterpieces.

Lower levels of play struggle more to get their fields painted due to tight financial budgets, lack of sufficient time to get on the fields to paint, or issues with having knowledgeable and capable people available to perform the layout and painting tasks.

These situations deserve the consideration of using Plant Growth Regulators (PGRs) to help paint last longer on your fields. When mixed at the proper rate with diluted field paint, PGRs can allow painted field lines and artwork to last anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks longer on the turf surface before repainting is needed. This provides many advantages including:

  • Reduced amount of paint used in a season.
  • Considerable savings in labor or volunteer hours needed to paint.
  • Less wear and tear on field painting machines.

The most common PGR for this exercise is Syngenta’s Primo Maxx. It features 11.3% of the active ingredient Trinexapac-ethyl — now available under other generic brand names such as T-NEX 1AQ by Quali-Pro. By adding just 1 ounce of this PGR to each gallon of your diluted/mixed field paint, it will extend the life of your field lines and logos for 2 – 3 weeks. That’s a real time saver!

The PGR works by inhibiting gibberellic acid which controls cell elongation in the turf plant. With this hormone limited, the plants cells do not elongate thereby helping to greatly slow or stop the top growth from occurring in the plant. However, it does help to promote a denser turf due to increased tillering and the shorter cells means increased chlorophyll content in the cells creating a darker green turf plant.

Last year at our Little League complex, we painted our lines on the ballfields four times between the last week of April and the first week of July. Our fall ball program, which runs 6 weeks only needed painting twice during the fall season.

Before using PGRs we were painting once a week. This change saved the league considerable amounts in paint and labor hours. We are actually expanding our use of PGRs this season to other challenging turf maintenance issues.

Paul Zwaska

Paul Zwaska

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1984 with a Bachelor's in Soil Science with a specialty in Turf & Grounds Management. Paul took over as head groundskeeper for the Orioles’ final season at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and then was heavily involved throughout the design and construction phases of Oriole Park at Camden Yards which debuted on April 4, 1992. Paul has led Technical Sales Support at Beacon Athletics since the summer of 2000. In 2012, Paul authored and oversaw the launch of "Groundskeeper University", the first online ballfield maintenance training venue. Over the years, Paul has donated thousands of hours working with West Madison Little League, which also plays a critical role in the research and development for many of Beacon’s innovative field maintenance tools.

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