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Update: Restoration of Russ Miller Soccer Field

Post Date:10/09/2014 4:54 PM

Town SealUPDATE 11/17/14: The annual field renovation work reported on below was completed the week of November 10th as scheduled. To encourage seed germination over the winter and conserve water, turf blankets will be placed over the turf next week as planned. The blankets will stay on through December. Signs are posted indicating that the field is closed. The field is on schedule to be ready for use in the spring for the regularly scheduled soccer season. Please let Public Works Director Howard Young know if you have any questions (650 851-1700 ext 214).


October 9, 2014 ~ Following the conclusion of scheduled use in November, Town staff will begin restoration of the Russ Miller Soccer Field at Town Center. The field will be restored to its historically high standard in time for next year’s soccer season, which begins February 2015.

The first week of the program will start with aeration followed by top dressing, seeding, and watering. To encourage seed germination over the winter and conserve water, staff will then lay turf blankets over the field to cover the seed for approximately two months. While blanketed, the field temperature will be better regulated and water evaporation will be minimized. This process has proven successful in restoring Town fields and staff is confident that the field will be ready for play in February.

Although the field is not currently in optimal condition, it is level, playable and free of hazards. At this point in the soccer season there is no possibility of restoring the damage caused by foraging wildlife and drought without displacing scheduled play. The plan outlined above will restore the field, and future decisions regarding turf management will be made based on the best information available and at the direction of the Town Council.

If you have questions regarding the planned restoration of Russ Miller Field, please contact Public Works Director Howard Young at 851-1700 x214 or via email at



The Town has received several comments about the current condition of Russ Miller Soccer Field, including questions regarding the Town’s turf management practices. The Town Council provides direction to Town staff on the expectations for Town fields and staff regularly briefs the chair of the Parks & Recreation Committee on programs of interest to the Committee.

In the first half of 2013, the Town Council added a priority that in addition to being safe for field users, Town staff should work to reduce both the amount of water and chemicals used to manage the Town’s playing fields. In response to the Council’s priorities, Town staff developed a pilot organic fertilizer program and proceeded to implement a now 12-month-long pilot program on Russ Miller Soccer Field.

While the soccer field most definitely has large bald spots and has been damaged by wildlife foraging for grubs and the drought (which has resulted in a 20% reduction in water usage), the current condition of the field is not conclusive evidence that the organic methods used were unsuccessful. Nonetheless, the pilot program will be suspended effective November. Town staff will retain the information gathered in this pilot program and consider a revised program when drought conditions are no longer a factor in order to fully determine whether organic management for Town fields is a viable long term and sustainable alternative to conventional methods.

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