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Crayfish and Soccer Fields

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Bootlegger, Aug 12, 2012.

  1. Bootlegger

    Bootlegger LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    **I originally posted this over in the "sports" area, but apparently no one has posted there since May, so I'm trying my luck in this forum**

    I am the Fields-VP for a Southern Indiana soccer club. We are about to acquire 22 acres of flat land. The club who currently owns the land is merging with us and they have tried unsuccessfully the last three years to build some good fields on the site. We can sell the land but flat land at this price is rare in our community so I am looking for solutions to the problems. The major issues are:

    1) Crayfish!! The site is near the Ohio river and the dirt mounds and holes these critters leave make it almost impossible to grow a good, flat piece of turf.
    2) The site is in a 15-year flood plain, is very flat, so it is prone to get very wet and doesn't drain well.
    3) No real turf grass has been established.

    My first inclination was "sell it, we'll never be able to build and maintain turf there." But after doing some research on building sports fields and the crayfish problem I have an idea that might work.

    1. Build the field UP from the existing grade.
    2. Start with a permeable barrier then 4 inches of drain rock, maybe 2's and 3's.
    3. Dig a catch pond on the low end of the property. Use the dirt to start the field topsoil.
    4. Complete the topsoil with sand and organic amendments.
    5. Full irrigation for the dry months.

    I think the barrier and rock will keep out the crayfish, while the elevated grade combined with a 1.5% slope will allow the field to dry quickly.

    I would like your opinions on this method to keep the crayfish out of the field and deal with the "wet" site. I'd also like to hear any alternatives to my plan.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,525

    Bootlegger, first answer this. What kind of grass would you like to grow ? I am just curious.

    A flood plain that doesn't drain well, that sound's like a problem. Flood's can bring in a thick layer of silt that could make those field's unplayable, forever.

    What's to stop those crayfish from colonizing that area from the top ?

    Do you know how much it would cost to do just one field the way you are talking about. Rock is expensive, so is clean soil.

    It might be cheaper (in the long run) to use some dry land and pay for the earthwork. That would be a one time cost. I don't really have good answer's for you, these are just knee-jerk reaction's to your idea's. Good luck.
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,569

  4. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,777

    And make sure you can add fill to a flood plain.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,569

    And listen to this lecture at the sports turf Managementhttp://www.intelliquestmedia.com/library/STMA2011EdSessions Association, Dr Jason Henderson.

    He discusses native soil fields.
  6. Bootlegger

    Bootlegger LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Great ideas. Keep 'em coming.
  7. Bootlegger

    Bootlegger LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    We are right in that range where we can grow cool or warm weather grasses so I am open to suggestions on grass type.

    My hope is that after a flood a raised field will emerge first, and with less silt.

    Crayfish like to dig down, the rock barrier will prevent them from going down as well as up. They also like wet soils, so a raised field with dryer soil would also deter them. I plan to check with some crayfish biologists on this idea.

    Rock for one field is about $5k, just for the material. The soil is free as we would move it from one part of the site to another.

    If we could afford, or find, flat and dry land in the area, believe me we would :weightlifter:
  8. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,525

    If you were a little further south i would say hybrid bermuda, but you are in climactic zone 6b, a cool season grass is probably called for, you need more local advise for that. Your extension office is a good resource. When is soccer season and would those field's not be played on the rest of the time ?

    How much are planning on raising those field's ? Unless it's 3-4 ft. a flood is probably gonna get you.

    I don't know anything about crayfish, but i have seen the chimney's they make, those thing's would be deal-breaker, you better be sure about what they would do.
  9. Bootlegger

    Bootlegger LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Yeah, I was thinking it would have to be a cool weather grass, but I do intend to talk to the extension people as well as the people that do the turf for the University of Louisville which is right across the river.

    I was thinking a couple of feet, it could still be inundated, but again would dry out faster than the surrounding areas.

    I have contacted a couple of crayfish experts with articles on the internet. I will keep y'all posted just so this information is available to others in the future.

    Thanks agrostis.:)

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