Investigation on Turfgrass Growth Environment in Natural Turfgrass Playgrounds of 22 Elementary, Middle, and High Schools in South Korea

Seog-Won Chang1,*   Eun-Ji Bae2   Ki-Dong Kim1   Jeong-Ho Lee1   

1Deparment of Golf Course Management, Korea Golf University, Hoengseong 25249, Korea
2Forest Biomaterials Research Center, National Institute of Forest Science, Jinju 52817, Korea


Natural turfgrass school playgrounds are increasing in number as alternatives to artificial turf and bare playgrounds because they are emotionally comfortable and environmentally safe for students. This study was conducted by visiting 22 elementary, middle, and high schools (17 land-based schools and 7 schools in Jeju) that have natural turfgrass playgrounds to investigate the turfgrass growth environment. The school grounds in Jeju island, which are managed by experts, are compared with those on land, which are self-managed by non-experts. The direction of the playgrounds was southwest and south in most schools. On the land and in the Jeju, the playground was sandy loam or loamy sand soil containing 60-80% of sand. The soil content of the schools in Jeju was higher in nutrients such as organic matter, phosphorus concentration, and cation exchange capacity (CEC) than the land-based schools. The turfgrass types of playgrounds surveyed were zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica or Z. matrella). Plant height of Jeju schools was shorter than that of land schools. Turfgrass coverage was 92.6% in Jeju, which was higher than land schools. The shoot densities and the thickness of thatch layer of turf were higher and thicker in Jeju schools, respectively. Sprinklers were mainly movable types, and an average of 4.1 was used for watering the playground. The main diseases on the natural turfgrass grounds were fairy ring, rust, and large patch, and zoysiagrass mite and moles damages were frequently found. Crabgrass (Digitaria ciliaris) and horseweed (Erigeron canadensis) were the main weeds both on land and in Jeju. In general, the turfgrass condition of Jeju's school playgrounds, managed by experts, was better than that of land schools by non-experts, so it is considered that the outsourcing system them to experts should be considered to improve the efficiency of school playground management in the future.

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