Dethatch, Aerating and overseeding a soccer field

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by green_thumb, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. green_thumb

    green_thumb LawnSite Member
    Posts: 120

    I havent gotten into doing this kind of stuff on big scales, but since it's my old school, i figured I'll at least look at it. Met with someone and we came to the conclusion that it needs to be dethatched, aerated and then overseeded.
    Is there a bigger aerater and dethatcher that i can rent to do big jobs like this? The size of the field is 110 yards by 64 yards.
    What would be the going rate something like this??
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,788

    De thatch? That sounds like way too much work--especially when it comes to removing the debris. Aeration and slit seeding, that is more like it. Athletic fields (no personal experience) are supposed to need plenty of aeration due to compaction. Especially around the goal mouths, and for football between the hash marks. You would probably be better off with a frequent aeration and overseeding program (using the latest top quality perennial rye). Also improve the soil drainage with a sand topdressing program. Does the field need improvement? Exactly why? Is it over used? (common). Can it be rotated or shifted to reduce concentrated wear on the goal areas? Read through the section on athletic fields. Is there a good crown? Drainage adequate? Irrigation good?
     
  3. green_thumb

    green_thumb LawnSite Member
    Posts: 120

    I hear ya about the dethatch. I have a spot to dump the thatch on site, if need be. Its only used for soccer and lax. They had the field professional installed about 12 years ago. There is a good crown and good drainage on either side of field. The grass is just real thin with some thatch. They never had a good aerating and seeding program. Just trugreen fert program and maintenance guys that mow.
    It just needs to have thicker grass.
     
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    TGCL fert program is a good explanation why the grass is thin, and this 'thatch'... are you talking real thatch or brown mulch over the ground? What kind of soil do you have and how deep do the roots go? Irrigation?

    A lot of unnecessary work in most cases... Aeration is probably worthwhile as Riggle said and possibly every 3-4 weeks, unless it is sandy soil... :)
     
  5. JFGauvreau

    JFGauvreau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,297

    Their would be a lot of plugs left on the soccer field that would bug the soccer players. Maybe spike it every 3-4 weeks like smallaxe said. Get a small tractor with a spiker attachment behind it. At least you can sit down and not push anything.
     
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    They say 'spiking' causes more compaction and plugging is the only thing that does the job as the holes close up... When you think about it, it does compress the surrounding soil to make the hole... so it might be true...

    You can always plug when it's reasonably dry, then drag and irrigate b4 the next usage... :)
     
  7. JFGauvreau

    JFGauvreau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,297

    I totally agree, spiking is a short term fix, it will make holes to let the water and nutrients reach the roots faster, but like you said, your pushing the soil down to make the hole, making more compactions in the long term.

    Most golf course, soccer fields, baseball fields etc do the core aeration 6-8 times per year, but they pick up all the plugs somehow, so it doesn't affect the players on the field.
     
  8. Puttinggreens

    Puttinggreens LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 369

    Aerate heavily at least 2x per year, LEAVE the plugs they are beneficial. Drag and break them up if you have to but don't even consider picking them up. I would not dethatch, the time, energy and money can be put to better use with a heavy aeration.
     
  9. green_thumb

    green_thumb LawnSite Member
    Posts: 120

    That's a great point. I need to go back to test the soil Ph. Are there good kits for that? I wouldn't mind spending $ on a good kit if this is something I will get into for the long run. The thatch that I'm seeing is just the dead grass. I was there to look at it 3 weeks ago. Winter just ended here and the temps are only in the 40's recently. The lawns are just starting to green up. So maybe the grass on the field is a mix of 2 grasses. I don't know how to identify grasses just yet. The irrigation is good. They have a motorized big wheeled thing that runs back and forth to water. Can't recall the name of it. Thanks for the input.
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  10. green_thumb

    green_thumb LawnSite Member
    Posts: 120

    How long would it take to aerate that field with a rental unit? I think there 16-18" wide. I don't have a tractor to pull aerators. I only have wb mowers. One thing about the plugs. I've seen people use an old chain link fence section to drag around to bust up the plugs. Does that rip up the grass real bad?
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