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All Seasons Park: Chula Vista, California
Owner: City of Chula Vista
Distributor: West Coast Turf

Sea Spray is a Natural Choice for Coastal Neighborhood Park

Chula VistaSea Spray seashore paspalum thrives in high-sodium conditions, making it an ideal choice for reclaimed sites like All Seasons Park.Residents of Chula Vista are enjoying the wide, open spaces of newly built All Seasons Park. Constructed in the summer of 2010 then opened later that fall, the neighborhood park features an all-purpose sports field that is used for soccer and peewee football, along with a playground area for small children and a full basketball court.

The area was sodded with approximately 218,000 sq. ft. of pure Sea Spray seashore paspalum, which took about one week to install. Selection of a paspalum for All Seasons Park was a notable departure from the city's typical choice of Bermudagrass, a decision that took many factors into account, points out Ben Koehler with West Coast Turf, including the area's soil conditions.

The park uses an effluent water source, and the quality of that water fluctuates. Over time, the reclaimed water leaches deposits that accumulate in the soil and result in increased levels of sodium and nitrates. Although periodic flushing of salt accumulation is required, Sea Spray paspalum thrives in high-sodium conditions better than all other species, making it a natural choice for reclaimed sites like All Seasons Park.

Temperatures in the San Diego suburb are also ideal for establishing Sea Spray. As a coastal area, Chula Vista has a moderate climate, not reaching extreme high or low temperatures. When planting from seed, Sea Spray requires 4 to 8 weeks at a minimum soil temperature of 60 degrees, however higher soil temperatures allow for faster germination. If establishing turf during cooler temperatures, sodding is best; and if winter sodding is necessary, Sea Spray is available with a ryegrass overseed.

The city of Chula Vista has a policy of not overseeding its parks, a practice instituted not only to reduce cost of inputs and labor, but also for improved overall turf quality. A new species, such as ryegrass, introduced through overseeding creates competition, could introduce weeds, and actually shades the paspalum, essentially weakening the primary variety. In addition, a monostand of Sea Spray yields improved playability for a sports field by eliminating the possibility of varying blade growth habits, such a height, width or rate. Therefore, the end result of a single turf variety offers a smoother and safer surface.

Sea Spray has experienced growing success for applications on golf courses, sports fields and municipalities and is available in both seed and sod.An additional Sea Spray trait that has proven beneficial for Chula Vista is the variety's improved tolerance for cool temperatures, which is especially helpful in southern California where sports fields often shut down as warm-season grasses turn brown. Since paspalum — particularly when compared to Bermudagrass — results in greener turf for an extended period, residents have more field-use time both heading into and coming out of cooler, winter weather. In fact, in its first spring after construction, the Sea Spray turf at All Seasons Park was reported to come out of dormancy earlier than expected, thereby lengthening the season of the community's use of the park.

Paspalum's popularity continues to grow in the region, mentions Koehler, but he points out that projects don't always necessarily specify Sea Spray. All Seasons Park, however, did just that. Because Sea Spray is the only seeded variety of paspalum available — all others are sold only as sprigs or sod — the city will have the ability to do touchups or strengthen a stand easily and affordably.

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