Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science





First Advisor

Adam W. Thoms


Providing a safe and attractive playing surface should be the goal of every athletic field manager. Athletic field use is growing faster than budgets that maintain them. With the added use, there is extra demand on the playing surface, including wear and soil compaction. Developing turfgrass management that better maximizes the playing surface quality and safety is necessary. Soil compaction from repeated foot traffic can limit recovery and increase surface hardness. Many of the methods to eliminate surface hardness are limited to the off-season due to the amount of surface disruption. The Shockwave linear decompaction device offers a tool that has limited surface disruption, but can lower surface hardness and compaction. Research is lacking on how the Shockwave can be used as a tool for athletic field decompaction, and how the Shockwave compares to solid tine, hollow tine aerations, as well as an untreated control under simulated athletic field traffic.

A two-year field study at Iowa State University was conducted with aeration treatments carried out in the summer months before simulated athletic traffic in the fall. Shockwave treatments of a single pass and double pass were also applied during the summer as treatments, and once during the traffic season. Research determined that the Shockwave used in one direction over the surface would provide a playing surface that performs as well as an athletic field treated with solid tine aeration during the off-season. This indicates that the Shockwave could be used as a tool to maintain safe and eye-appealing playing surfaces.

Pressure also exists from individuals to provide a natural grass playing surface with fewer inputs needed than currently used. Tall fescue requires fewer inputs than Kentucky bluegrass, but research is lacking on what height of cut to maintain tall fescue at for an athletic field playing surface in Iowa. A two-year investigation was conducted to determine the optimum height of cut under simulated athletic traffic. Results indicate the performance of the playing surface subjected to various height of cut will vary by year, but that there will be few differences in surface hardness, soil moisture and rotational resistance.

Copyright Owner

Timothy O Dalsgaard



File Format


File Size

58 pages