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.
|FMRP Fields||See Update Below|
|Playfair||See Update Below|
|Interested in reserving a neighborhood park for your team practice? Make a request here.|
|FMRP and Playfair fields will follow the criteria detailed below. They will open once soil temperature and moisture levels meet requirements.|
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 20%.
- When fields contain greater than 20% 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 Update 4/9/21
Fort Missoula Regional Park is starting its annual countdown to reopening grass athletic fields as the turf awakes from its winter dormancy. 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.
As of 4/8/2021, average field soil temperature across the North bowl and Pitch fields had reached 43°. Soil temperature increased nearly 3° due to this week's warm daytime and nighttime temps and lack of moisture, as seen on the chart above.
Next week's 7-day weather forecast predicts below-freezing nighttime temperatures with daytime temps below 50°—and even a chance of snow. If the forecast is accurate, we expect soil temps will gradually climb towards 45°. Parks staff will continue to monitor conditions throughout the week. We will provide a field opening update early next week.
Until then, Parks and Recreation reminds sports field users that there are many neighborhood parks with larger grass open play areas where teams can hold practices and games.