Drainage problem

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Keegan, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. Keegan

    Keegan LawnSite Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 628

    Will compost applications help alleviate drainage problems?

  2. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,599

    Can you be more specific about the drainage problem?
    hort101 likes this.
  3. Delmarva Keith

    Delmarva Keith LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 534

    Also be more specific about what you plan to do with the compost. Compost is basically a really good sponge. Laying a sponge on top of soil makes a wet sponge. Mixing it into clay improves porosity but too much makes a heavy, mucky soil, etc.

    Drainage requires, generally, high relative % of sand deep enough to allow the water to infiltrate. High water table requires lowering the water table — french drain.
    phasthound and hort101 like this.
  4. Keegan

    Keegan LawnSite Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 628

    It’s an athletic field that has drainage problems since it was installed about 8 years ago. With all of the rain we have had this fall the field has been closed much of that time.
    Water will stay on it for days. Been very difficult to mow at times because the mower will get stuck.
    Would sand be a better option than compost? Thinking of putting drains in too.
  5. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,599

    Here's a recent article that might help.
    I know of a sports field in NJ that was constructed very poorly (high compaction & improperly designed drainage system).
    School District tried an organic approach using compost tea and compost top dressing. It helped the turf, but not the drainage issue.
    The School District does not have the funds to redesign the field in order to solve the problem.
  6. wrooster

    wrooster LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 81

    The school district itself didn't construct the sports field -- they contracted the work out to a company who did the work, and that company apparently didn't do a very good job of planning for and mitigating drainage issues. There is a solution there somewhere.
    Keegan likes this.
  7. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,599

    That's the same scenario as the field I was talking about.
    The owner of a road construction company did the work as a donation to the school district. The only real solution is to redo it & that's not going to happen.
    Keegan likes this.
  8. Delmarva Keith

    Delmarva Keith LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 534

    Dig a hole in a spot without standing water. Keep going until you hit either wetter or dryer soil. If you hit wetter and the hole starts slowly filling with water you need to lower the water table with drains. If you hit dryer you need to improve infiltration. My bet is you hit water and need drains.
  9. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,359

    The field needs a certified sports turf manager. Or maybe a professional athletic field company.
    For instance see page 39 of this magazine.

    This field probably should have been laid out and graded with laser-leveling equipment. An 18 inch crown is typical.
    Failing that, drainage tubing at 25 foot intervals is the usual method of controlling excess water.


    There is a sand injection method, if you don't want to dig it up completely. Two inch wide slits are cut 18 inches deep and filled with sand.

    There was a sand topdressing method studied at Michigan State for wet high school fields. Years ago. Could not find the reference so far. Found it.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
    phasthound likes this.
  10. Keegan

    Keegan LawnSite Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 628

    The company they hired to put the field in is a demolition company. They have never installed a field before and probably haven’t since. Apparently they went to court because they did such a horrible job.

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