By Paul Klauda
After getting positive reviews from two of the world’s top soccer teams, the bright green grass installed for the U.S. Bank Stadium debut is headed for, of all places, recycling.
How about a roll or two for those brown spots in your lawn?
“I get that question like 100 times a day,’’ said Steve Bush, owner of Illinois-based Bush Turf, who was overseeing the removal of 101,000 square feet of sod Thursday morning, less than 12 hours after Chelsea FC defeated AC Milan 3-1 before more than 64,000 people.
Starting at 7 a.m. his crews used special machinery to start pull
ing it up and loading it onto trucks that will haul it to local businesses that will recycle and compost it.
“This sod is so thick and heavy. It’s grown on sand and won’t do well in a homeowner’s yard, and it takes an incredible amount of water,’’ Bush said.
It was being watered right up until game time, too, to help simulate field conditions preferred by Premier League teams, he said. Growing the sod on sand is preferred by pro sports fields because it’s firmer, almost beach-like hard after it’s watered.
"If it were grown on regular soil, it would get soft,’’ Bush said.
It came in 590 rolls, each 3.5 feet wide and 40 feet long and weighing about a ton. They were cut from a sod company in Coloma, Wis., then loaded onto refrigerated trucks and hauled to the stadium. Special equipment laid the sod within five or six hours of it being cut and squeezed it together to eliminate seams, Bush said. The work took about three days to complete.
After the game, Chelsea coach Antonio Conte pointed out that the field played better than the temporary pitch installed on the University of Michigan field in Ann Arbor for a recent game against Real Madrid.
“We did that field, too,’’ Bush acknowledged.
A key difference was that an armor deck was placed on top of the U.S. Bank Stadium turf before the sod was installed, similar to what gets placed for concerts, eliminating the cushier feel of the artificial surface, he said. It also didn’t help that it rained all morning on the day of the game in Ann Arbor, he said.
No such problems Wednesday night under a glass roof in Minneapolis.
“Everything we heard was positive,’’ said Bush, who expects to have the sod removal completed on Friday. “You see little marks and divots on the field. That’s what grass is supposed to do. The grass tears, not ACLs.’’