Biophysical Effects and Ground Force of the Baldree Traffic Simulator Public Deposited

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This is an author's peer-reviewed final manuscript, as accepted by the publisher. The published article is copyrighted by Crop Science Society of America and can be found at:  https://www.crops.org/publications/cs.

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  • Traffic simulators are often utilized when researching turfgrass wear tolerance and recovery. However, the availability of a durable traffic simulator capable of producing dynamic force is limited. Therefore, the objectives of this research were to: 1) evaluate a novel traffic simulator with improved durability and capable of producing dynamic force and 2) evaluate the bio-physical effects of the traffic simulator on a native soil turfgrass system. The Baldree Traffic Simulator is a modified Ryan GA 30 riding aerification unit, equipped with fabricated, spring loaded steel plate feet studded with screw in cleats. The effects of this unit on a ‘Tifway’ bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon [L.] Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy) system established on a Tifton loamy sand (Fine-loamy, kaolinitic, thermic Plinthic Kandiudults) were evaluated at the Coastal Plains Experiment Station, Tifton, GA. Factors included location (1 and 2) and traffic rate (0, 12 and 24 passes applied over a 6 week period). Field data included soil bulk density, turf density, and percent green turf cover. An in-ground force plate at the McPhail Equine Performance Center, East Lansing, MI was used to quantify vertical and net shear ground reaction force produced by the Baldree traffic simulator when operated in the forward and backward direction. The Baldree traffic simulator produced more cleat marks per pass than the Brinkman and Cady traffic simulators, as well as vertical force values comparable to that of a trotting horse. At the low traffic rate the Baldree traffic simulator increased soil bulk density, while turf density, percent green turf cover and vegetative indices decreased, therefore, the tool can be used to simulate heavy traffic conditions with a minimum number of passes.
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  • Kowalewski, A. R., Schwartz, B. M., Grimshaw, A. L., Sullivan, D. G., Peake, J. B., Green, T. O., ... & Clayton, H. M. (2013). Biophysical Effects and Ground Force of the Baldree Traffic Simulator. Crop Science, 53(5), 2239-2244. doi:10.2135/cropsci2013.02.0118
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