The Braves marked an important milestone in the construction of SunTrust Park on Saturday: grass.
Workers began the installation of 109,000 square feet of sod on the field, a task that will continue Sunday.
The Braves selected a type of grass called “Seashore Paspalum, Platinum TE” for the stadium, according to field director Ed Mangan.
That’s the type of grass that was used in the infield at Turner Field in recent seasons.
The Braves replaced Turner Field’s Tifway 419 hybrid Bermuda grass in the infield in 2012 in hopes the softer, thicker paspalum would slow down the playing surface a bit for the benefit of their infielders. The Bermuda remained in Turner Field’s outfield, while the grassed areas of foul territory also were switched to paspalum.
At SunTrust Park, the entire field will be the paspalum, Mangan said.
It is a popular choice for beach golf courses. It also is used in the Houston Astros’ and Miami Marlins’ stadiums.
Large rolls of sod were trucked to SunTrust Park from Bent Oak Sod Farm in Foley, Ala.
Installation of the sod is the next step in the creation of SunTrust Park’s playing field. Already installed are 20,600 linear feet of drainage pipe, 14,300 cubic yards of stone backfill, 4,100 linear feet of irrigation pipe and 4,500 cubic yards of root zone sand.
After installation of the sod is completed, it will get constant care from the Braves’ grounds crew.
“We will start with water and rest for transplant shock,” Mangan said in an email response to questions. “Within the next week, it will be rolled, edged, mowed and fertilized. We’ll then monitor temps and weather for growth and fertility requirements and disease control. From there on, it will be pampered and manicured as needed.”
The first game will be played at SunTrust Park on March 31, a Braves-Yankees exhibition. The Braves’ regular-season home opener is on April 14 vs. San Diego.