Local News

On Opening Night in Durham, Turf is Envy of Amateur Greenthumbs

Posted April 8, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Tuesday night's game at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park sees not only the meeting of the only two unbeaten teams in the Carolina League, but when the Bulls go to bat against the Kinston Indians it will be the beginning of the last season the Durham team is associated with the Atlanta Braves.

WRAL'sJim Payneis at the ballpark withWRAListens, where he found out that spring means more than baseball. It also means green grass, whose groomers have some advice for every other homeowner slaving away on their own lawn.

DBAP Head Groundskeeper Mike Boekholder said it took constant vigilance and planning to maintain one of the Carolina League's most respected fields.

It all starts almost a foot below the surface where with a 10-inch base of sand on top of a crushed pea gravel sub base. It's on top of that level that the drainage system is placed.

Once you've laid all those elements, it's time for the green stuff.

Boekholder said the DBAP used a hybrid Bermuda grass. Tiffany 419 to be exact.

It's probably not the kind of grass your neighbors have.

"It's rather high maintenance," Boekholder said. "It's used on golf courses and places like that where you want more of a formal type turf."

That doesn't mean homeowners who don't want to spend all their time in the yard, he said. The N.C. Department of Agriculture Extension Service will test your soil for free.

"Unless you soil test on your lawn, you don't know what your lawn needs," Boekholder said.

The test will help you decide on the type of fertilizer to use, or whether you need to add lime. And then it's time to choose seed.

"In this part of the country, the fescues and things like that are really the way to go for your average home owner," he said.

Boekholder said most people would probably enjoy their yard and not make it their job like he has.

"I think most people would rather sit on a chair and enjoy their lawn rather than have to work on it all the time."