Being in business for 38 years has allowed UltraLawn to cultivate a bevy of incredibly rewarding relationships. People have trusted us with all sorts of projects of all sizes dealing with an array of problems requiring solutions. Whether it’s controlling weeds in a small front lawn or helping to rebuild lawns and landscapes devastated by a natural disaster, the satisfaction of a job done well never gets old!
One of the unique partnerships that’s been created is with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. In 1890, the Cedar Rapids Canaries took the field as part of the Illinois-Iowa league. Nearly 120 seasons later (there were a few breaks in the action), the Kernels are still playing ball! There is a deep connection between the city of Cedar Rapids and this baseball team, and that support and passion was recognized in 2021. Major League Baseball restructured its minor league system, which resulted in dozens of minor league teams being disbanded. The Kernels were elevated to “High A” status in the rebranded Midwest League, showing just how great a job Cedar Rapids has done hosting professional baseball! We couldn’t be more excited or proud to be a small part of the experience they offer fans and players!
In 2008, we entered an earnest partnership with the Kernels to assist in taking care of the playing surface. The field there, consistently ranked among the best in the Midwest League, is under the outstanding direction of Jesse Roeder. Jesse has been recognized by the Iowa Sports Turf Managers Association as its Manager of the Year, and the field he maintains has also been awarded as the best playing surface in the state, regardless of sport.
High level athletic fields are a unique, delicate environment to care for. The field at Veterans’ Stadium is a premium blend of Kentucky Bluegrass grown on a sand-based medium. The field is fully irrigated and is mowed between 1” and 1.5”. UltraLawn does NOT recommend trying to replicate those conditions at home! The bluegrass blend used there is comprised of specific varieties of bluegrass that can withstand low mowing heights, do a better job holding up to traffic, and are more resistant to diseases. The interior of the infield is mowed with a 21” walk-behind “reel-to-bedknife” mower, the rest is cut with a 3-reeled unit commonly called a “triplex”. These types of mowers are specially designed for precision cuts on the highest quality of turf, and also make it possible to accomplish the striping and designs that you see when you put a baseball game on TV. Roeder and his staff mow the field several times a week, which helps keep the playing surface thick, fast, and consistent. Since there are heavy rollers on their machines, mowing directions do need to be alternated to keep the grass growing as upright as possible.
Whenever turf is grown and maintained in such conditions, it is under increased amounts of stress. Even though the field at Veteran’s Stadium is lush, green and perfectly manicured, there are extra steps necessary to keep it that way beyond what a homeowner must do to keep their own lawn in good shape. Regular irrigation is necessary to keep the grass hydrated, but in the heat of summer, it can create an environment where the turf is under disease pressure. This is one aspect where we’ve assisted the Kernels, applying preventative fungicide treatments there for several years. Depending on weather conditions, we will alter the products used to treat the disease that is the biggest threat at the time. Our equipment allows us to achieve superior coverage, done in a manner that ensures no compaction to the field from heavy spray equipment.
In addition to a disease control program, we also assist Mr. Roeder with insect diagnosis and treatment, as well as helping with problematic grasses that infiltrate the playing surface. At the beginning of each growing season, we come up with a plan with Jesse to make sure the needs of his field are being addressed, we’re responding to issues that may have crept up the previous season, and doing whatever we can to let him and his crew show off their excellent work.
We are a small cog in a smooth rolling wheel, but it’s a great source of pride that we can assist in taking care of the baseball field that belongs to OUR city’s team!