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Unlevel Soccer Fields

Discussion in 'Sports Field Management' started by ryangiggs, Mar 28, 2009.

  1. ryangiggs

    ryangiggs LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    Thanks addict... yeah we are in a rural area with lots of good, hard working, blue collar people, often generous with their time and tools :)
  2. addictedtolandscaping

    addictedtolandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Posts: 569

    You are welcome. I love soccer, my youngest son plays 12 months a year and I plated for 13 so the sport is a bit personal to me. Any how:

    You should be in really good shape then. Personally, I would hammer the hell out of it with Tri Rye, get it in and get it thick. Then in between the sessions, aerate it and start dropping your higher end seed. This accomplishes a few things, the Rye is very hearty, will take a beating. It germinates quickly, so you wont be full of wees and erosion will be kept at a minimum. Your kids will have the ability to play and enjoy themselves. Then between sessions, aerate and overseed with higher end here it would be KBG and creeping Red Fescue. You have time for them to starts germinating, the Rye is already established and will protect it so to speak.The Rye is a bunch grass so it won;t spread but others should, I apologize I really don't know what you guys use there but I a sure you understand what I am saying.
  3. coop1109

    coop1109 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4


    It really depends on where you want the fields to be in 3 to 5 years. Yes, you can Harley rake, add a little top soil and throw some seed in but what will you have in 3 years?

    The way we do this is to deep core aerate 2 different ways. Remove the cores from the field. Topdress with 1/4" of screened mason's sand (USGA approved if you can get it.) For a normal soccer pitch, you will need about 60 cu yds of sand. (normal cost is about $1700 to $2000)

    Most important is to hand fill the irrigation lanes with sand before you topdress. This is quite common after construction.

    After topdressing, drag the field with a brush (not a screen drag or nail drag) in both directions then diagonal. We use a 12' wide by 4' deep pulled by a JD Gator. This will help to level the sand. Then turn the water on.

    Overseed with Bermuda. In Arkadelphia you are probably too late for rye. Riviera is a seeded variety that has been getting great reviews (yes, I have one field of Riviera and is just as good as the Tifway 419 or Tifsport and you can always overseed the bare spots.)

    If you follow this every month for 3 months your field will be completely different. They will drain better, play better and you establish a much better turf that can withstand the abuse.

    For the winter months, overseed with perennial rye in Sept with a follow up in Nov. This will protect your bermuda over the winter.

    Sounds like a lot but the aerating and topdressing can be done in one day and play can resume the next.

    Good luck and if you need anything or have any other questions I'd be happy to help.
  4. gobbles2700

    gobbles2700 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 71

    I was thinking the same as Addict. Mark the heads and take the crowns off the trenches with a Harley then skim the field with additional topsoil. I think its important to get those crowns off as the field sounds like it is really not safe to play. I would follow Coop's recomendations from there.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
  5. Shaker56

    Shaker56 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    I had a similiar problem but not as bad as you have described. I have a limited budget, equipment to rent and no reliable volunteers. Due to budget problems (NO Money) I aerate, then topdress (thin layer of sand and organically rich topsoil) and drag. I have verticut twice and our turf (Tif 419) has responded very well. Our fields get used 10 1/2 months a year with our main issue being a worn out crown area in the middle of the field.

    One volunteer decided to add gas to the paint when he lined the practice field. The result, as you can imagine, was that they could easily find where to paint every week. The turf died, creating an uneven surface every five yards. I am fixing this problem with aeration, verticutting, topdressing and fertilization. It will take all summer but it will be ready for fall football. Luckly our berumda spreads very aggressively during the summer months.

    Good Luck
  6. rfrench

    rfrench LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    You are on the right track with what you are doing, and what everybody seems to be telling you. I have 5 multi use fields that I maintain, they were built very poorly. I have continued to core aerify and chop up the cores then top dress with mortor sand, the sand is about 15 dollars a ton for us. in your area a princess blend may be a good fit for you, you did say that you were originaly sodded with 419, this seems to be the closet match with color and blade textur that you will get. I would try to stay away from any mulch mix if possible, that can bring in disease like fairy ring or something in that line even though that doesnt really hurt it can get out of control and look bad. Taking away the cores is great if you have the means to do so, I have been working on my fields for three years and have just chopped up cores and top dressed very heavy. you can also locate your sand heavier in some of your low areas with a drop type top dresser rather than using a spinner type. you can never poke to many holes try slicing also as much as you can.
  7. RD 12

    RD 12 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 85

    I would agree with rfench. I had the same problem you described and solved it with aerating and top dressing with mason sand.
  8. slimdigger

    slimdigger LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    Aerate, Topdress, drag and roll with a vibratory roller. The roller should help level out the high spots over the irrigation lines. It worked very well for me.

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