Field development

Discussion in 'Sports Field Maintenance' started by rsp1961, Jun 2, 2018.

  1. rsp1961

    rsp1961 LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 211

    I have been mowing and maintaining the local soccer fields for a private pay to play org, and they are wanting to turn a few practice fields into something more premium. As usual, cost is always an issue. We have a volunteer consultant that is head of the dept at the large university in the area , because his son is playing with the org, but these guys are used to large pocket budgets and want to do everything perfectly. This org wants best product results from smaller budget. Without bringing in large earth excavators, does anyone have insight experience with doing this with a box blade and other such implements on a tractor, or even using a skid steer? Is it best to remove all top soil, then level it, and replace topsoil? Or core aerating the snot out of the field, bring in top soil and grade it? We are installing irrigation as well, and have not decided on whether or not to sprig or sod. Im looking for practical insights, not top notch professional high budget answers. Thank you
  2. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,916

    First of all a soccer field isn’t level
    There’s a crown so water runs off with the proper drainage
    If you don’t already know this, don’t touch this project with a ten foot pole, you’re woefully under prepared.
    The job requires knowledge of laser grading and prior sports field work.
    You could spend some serious money and get a piss poor result.
    This isn’t a lawn install.

    On a budget, I suggest installing irrigation with a vibratory plow, aeravating aggressively and topdressing with a sports field seedmix already in the topdressing
    Field will be ready in 4-6 weeks.

    If done the right way, a sports field renovation this year won’t be ready for use until next year.
    rsp1961 and Dandan111 like this.
  3. Dandan111

    Dandan111 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    My buddy is good on a dozer. He did our hs soccer fields. He pushed all the top soil to the side and used a laser to get the grade right. If it needs excavation it's going to cost.
    I dont think a box blade will do much. If it's laid out well now and grows good leave it alone. Irrigation and overseed are the way to go.
    rsp1961 likes this.
  4. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,070

    Not to dispute what others have said, especially TPendagast, watch a few videos of a Harley Rake in action. You can set grade somewhat with one by setting the right side 1/4 - 3/8” lower than the left and making all your passes in the same direction - lengthwise. If the center is high enough now, run two passes down the middle with the implement level, then change it as I described above. Keep your high edge on your left and keep your left toward the center line of the field. You go more or less in circles counterclockwise except that you pick the implement up at the end of each pass. Set a stop on your draft control so you set it down the same amount each time.

    If you have a suitable tractor or skid steer you can rent the rake for about $200 / day and finish a field in a day. If you need the rental place’’s tractor and implement it will, obviously, cost more.

    It won’t be perfect but you can make a huge improvement in the field’s playability. Plant a good mix for your area and take care of it. You cannot modify the soil with this approach but you can have soil tests done and do the best you can. Pictures would help us help you. Good luck.
    hort101 and rsp1961 like this.
  5. OP

    rsp1961 LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 211

    Thanks guys. All very helpful. Im still waitinng on word from the university consultant regarding what direction is best. If they want to use laser grading techniques, I think I will leave that to the professionals. I was thinking something along the lines of aggressive aerating for one of the fields such as tpendagast suggested, and the harley rake on the other field such as foreplease suggested. I know these fields, and its all about maintenance and time. Problem is with this org, they use the piss out of the fields, and the only time they get to rest is during the summer when the turf is strongest. Anyways, I will keep you updated. Thanks again.
    Dandan111 likes this.

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