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Athletic field paint steals spotlight from the grass it covers
Date:8/27/2012

Aug. 27, 2012 Professional athletic field managers maintain trimmed turfgrass with great precision, carefully painting crisp lines and colorful logos on their grass before each game. While these fields appear to be in perfect health, some field managers have noted deteriorating turfgrass beneath repeated paint applications.

New research now suggests why. In a study that appears in the September-October issue of Crop Science, three North Carolina State University researchers found that grasses coated with latex paints show a notable reduction in photosynthesis.

In their study, which was funded by the Center for Turfgrass Research and Environmental Education at NC State University, the researchers prepared 60 pots with sand and peat substrate before seeding each with perennial ryegrass, a grass commonly used on professional football and baseball fields including most NFL and MLB fields. After the grass matured, two different dilutions (no-dilution, and 1:1 dilution with water) of red and white latex paints were applied to the turf samples weekly for six weeks.

To recognize how paint affects turfgrass health, it's important to first understand how paint itself functions. Latex paints consist of four different components: resins, solvents, additives, and pigments. Each has a unique role in the painting process.

Resins act like an adhesive, allowing paint to stick to surfaces. Solvents dilute the paint and help ensure a consistent application thickness. Additives help distribute the pigments, the fourth component, into the liquid paint. Of these ingredients, the scientists say pigments pose the biggest threat to turfgrass.

Pigments are used in paint to ensure a surface is completely coated, and give paint its color by absorbing specific wavelengths of light while reflecting others. This wavelength-selective absorption allows for the wide variety of paint colors that exist today.

However, the NC State rese
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Contact: Madeline Fisher
mfisher@sciencesocieties.org
608-268-3973
American Society of Agronomy
Source:Eurekalert

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