Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

 Protecting Home Turf

Matt Wettersten, GROWMARK Publications and Media Relations Specialist 

The beginning of baseball season provides beautiful sights and sounds for sports fans; there's the crack of the bat, the cheers after a home run, and even the singing of the seventh inning stretch.  But when Jim Coens watches a game, he's looking at something a little different – the grass and the infield. For the last 35 years his team of Certified Turf Specialists (CTS) at Conserv FS has worked with the Chicago Cubs grounds crew to make their field looks pristine. "We provide them with their inputs and are a source of expertise for the grounds crew as well," said Coens, vice president of sales at Conserv FS. "They will call us and ask if a certain type of application is a good idea or not," he added.

When the sod gets replaced at Wrigley Field, Conserv FS provides them with root stimulants that go under the turf to help it knit to the soil faster. They also provide fertilizer, special marking paint for the lines that won't damage the grass, and Turface® - the clay-like substance that goes on the infield. "We are the largest distributor of Turface® in the U.S.," added Coens. "We want to help the Cubs have a winning playing surface that is safe for the players. We also want fans watching the game in person and on TV to see its beauty as well," said Coens.

He wants the same for all the locations and teams Conserv FS works with. That includes the Cubs' division rival. The Milwaukee Brewers stadium, Miller Park, provides a different set of challenges because it has a retractable roof.  "The lack of natural sunlight is a huge challenge," he said.  In the past, Conserv FS has also worked with the grounds crew at U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox.  

They also work with the team at Toyota Park, home of the Chicago Fire in Major League Soccer.  Additionally, they work with the Soldier Field grounds crew, home of the Chicago Bears. Back in 1996, they also helped the Bears build their practice fields from scratch. "We work with several professional sports franchises, but also lots of school districts, park districts, municipalities, and private soccer entities," added Coens. "We have a great relationship with a lot of different places. They enjoy working with us because they know our co-op structure gives them great service and supplies," added Coens. "Whether it's a Major League Baseball playoff game or a little league scrimmage, we want to help provide a great playing surface that is safe for the athletes," said Coens.

Conserv FS is a member of the Sports Turf Management Association. They supply northeastern Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin with home run 'turfonomic' services and more.