Sports Turf Dashboard
Missoula sports teams and Parks and Recreation share a common goal: safe, high-quality athletic turf for games and tournaments. Preserving sports fields in the shoulder seasons can be a challenge for your team's practice schedule, but it's necessary to ensure fields are ready for competitive play.
We appreciate your patience and efforts related to the opening of game fields at FMRP and Playfair Park. This page is intended to help inform organizations and other members of the public how the Department considers data in order to safely open fields.
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Sport Turf Opening Requirements:
Prior to opening sports fields for reservations, Missoula Parks and Recreation uses the criteria listed below. This criteria was developed from overall best management practices for turf management in our region. These benchmarks must be met, in order to ensure safe and sustainable turf grass.
- Soil temperature must be holding at 45° or above.
- The grass does not begin to come out of dormancy until soil temperatures are at 45 degrees. Turf resiliency depends on its ability to grow. Grass that is coming out of dormancy is not yet growing, leaving it more vulnerable to damage that could affect field conditions moving forward. Holding means that the soil temp remains at or above 45° degrees for 3 consecutive days.
- Moisture levels in the turf must be below 30%.
- When fields contain greater than 30% moisture they become unsafe for athletic footing and are more vulnerable to compaction. This is observed when mud and water are pressed out of the ground while simply walking on the fields. It is important that field activity is avoided when these conditions are present for the safety of athletes and future field conditions.
FMRP/Playfair Update 4/13/21
As of 4/13/2021, based on the current weather conditions and forecast, we are confident that field moisture and temperature will meet the criteria above by the weekend. Playfair and FMRP sports fields will open on April 17.
Turfgrasses perform best and are most resilient when the plant is actively growing; root growth and plant regeneration begin when the average soil temperature is around 45°.
When soil temperatures reach and maintain 45° for three consecutive days, the turf's roots are starting to grow, and the field is ready to absorb the wear and tear of practices and games. Playing on wet, dormant turf can damage the grass plants, delay spring green-up, and create a dangerous playing surface that can be expensive to repair.