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Athletic use of dormant and saturated fields

Discussion in 'Sports Field Management' started by John B Laidlaw, Jan 30, 2006.

  1. John B Laidlaw

    John B Laidlaw LawnSite Member
    Posts: 95

    As manager of the athletic fields for our land-locked college( what we have is all we got to work with), my challenge is to keep these fields in as good as shape as possible. Lately, the temperatures here in the eastern PA have remained mild. Now, the athletes are using the fields everyday for lacrosses and inter-murals as well as the kids playing pick-up games of football and frizzby. Our fields consist of dwarf varieties of blue grass and blue grass/rye fieldsand they are beginning to show some severe wear and tear. What are other folks with the same situation doing to keep your fields in playable shape?
     
  2. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,850

    keeping them off the field is the only way to prevent damage. you're going to have a hardpan in the spring because the fields are so wet now. I hope you have heavy aeration and patch seeding in your spring budget
     
  3. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    He's right. The best way is to keep them off the grass. Hard to do but still the best thing to do. Our football field looked like a parkinglot after soccer season. Clay soil. Aeration helped a little. It was not overseeded with winter rye. The football team woul dplay on it wet too which really damaged it.
     
  4. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    water+compaction=rice paddy :p
     
  5. John B Laidlaw

    John B Laidlaw LawnSite Member
    Posts: 95

    I agree with PurpHaze and the other comments and I appreciate the response. I have a particular field which was totally renovated a year and half ago. I argued a greater pitch, 2-3%. but got shot down for 1-1.8% pitch. Now, after settling and ( also against my judgement) vibra-rolling, compaction is worst then before and it's beginning to look and feel like a rice-paddy. I've done everything within my budget, which is never enough, such as aeration and top-dressing with a mushroom blend soil. The root system is stunted and thin. Would anybody out there think it would be cost affective to perform a regular schedule of micro-boosting? I'm thinking that would be my last gasp before I recommend more invasive work.
     
  6. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    Sometimes you'll never win John. We have a field at one of our oldest high schools where everything imaginable has been done; aerating, dressing, reseeding, fertilizing, completely renovating irrigation including booster pump, etc. to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. The field looks decent from mid-June to mid-August... when school is out, the impact is gone and the field is allowed to get some rest. The rest of the year it's used for daily PE, band practice, football practice/games, soccer practice/games not to count numerous weekend activities that add to the compaction. During trenching I've come across some areas that are so compacted up to 18" deep that it takes forever to get through them even with carbide teeth. Fact of the matter is that the field is just overused but administrators will never see it this way. :rolleyes:
     
  7. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    I've been there on that one. Good luck trying to convince a PhD. that can't find their way out of a wet paper bag with a map and a flashlight of anything. A change in job will come before they ever come to their senses no matter how many experts you bring in to cooberate what you tell them.
     
  8. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    Right on!!!!!!!!!!!! :cry:

    AND... The way the news has been lately in my area they don't know the difference between funding and fondling; lots of new registered molesters.
     
  9. John B Laidlaw

    John B Laidlaw LawnSite Member
    Posts: 95

    Thanks guys... good comments though not exactly what I hoped for but deep down know that you are all right on the money. When the field in discussion was in the planning stages of renovation, I was kicked off due to my "contrary" opinions and that I was UPSETTING THE CONTRACTOR!!!! They insisted in rolling the field AFTER several days of heavy, pounding rain. They also insisted on using a blue grass blend that costs much more then what we were using on the other fields.
    So, yes, you are all right. Its frustrating but I keep plugging away with common sense and recruiting the "right" people to support the cause.
     
  10. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    Does anyone in your area have a drill and fill machine? You might be able to put some Turface profile down in it to help with drainage and compaction issues. I don't suppose they installed drain tiles at all did they? Good luck to you. Feel your pain.
     

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