New Hockey Field

Discussion in 'Sports Field Management' started by JNyz, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. JNyz

    JNyz LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,087

    I am a landscape contractor who has plenty of experience renovating residential lawns. I usually use round up to kill the existing lawn, power rake it, lime, seed with a tall fescue, and apply a starter fertilizer about 7 days later.

    This is going to be my first athletic field to be used for field hockey, it also is going to be a donation to the school from me. The current condition is about a 1 on a scale of 1-10. I was thinking about approaching it the same way as a residential property, round up, raking, lime seed, fert. If any of you have a different approach let me know. I also need an opinion on a type of seed and variety that will be able to cut short in the fall. I would like to use bluegrass but there will not be any irrigation and will have to rely on rainfall. I am located in southeastern Pa so will need to use a cool season grass.

  2. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    I have good and recent experience almost exactly like your own. My DSL and telephone lines are out and am writing this from handheld/cell phone. Will respond more fully from computer over the weekend. Are you starting this yet this fall?
  3. JNyz

    JNyz LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,087

    I can start now but it might be too late to seed here. I might want to get all the grading done though. I usually don't like to seed in the spring since we have to much competion with crabgrass and weeds but I might now have a choice.
  4. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    Still without my land line here but wanted to get back to your thread and proposed field.

    I am within days of completing a baseball field that I began 13 months ago. Many. similarities to your project: extremely poor (unusable) original condition, no permanent irrigation and undertook the job as my contribution. In addition to neglect, misuse (football team used this as its practice field a few years ago), we were faced with an unmanageable 14" layer of river silt that was placed uniformly over beautiful native sand throughout the park. Regretably, the school had paid TG throughout 2007, bringing it to the condition presented on my first day:eek:ver 100 large geese nesting and calling the ballfield home, all desireable grasses gone entirely or accounted for less than 5% of the cover, heavy grub infestation, dozens of active moles, grown over infield skin and base paths. Crabgrass and lots of it had taken over the infield and outfield. Batters box and pitcher's mound had to be completely rebuilt after tearing out big lips. In time, we got rid of our pests, had irrigation installed, rebuilt skinned infield surfaces and grew new grass (blue-rye mix).

    When you say "grading" I think the worst. On my project, we disturbed the surface much more than was necessary. This caused much extra work but no real benefit. Once you disturb the surface, whatever is in season will begin to grow back. Chemicals can provide a window of time to help get your field up and established in spring even though convention suggests late summer-eaely fall is a better time.

    At this time of year, I would encourage you to do any frainage work that needs to be done and let that help you get established in spring. Also, if you plan to amend the soil that could be completed yet this fall.

    Tall Fescue is coarse, durable, and resists drought well. I think I would use a traditional. Athletic field mix of ryes and blues and hope for long term average good growing conditions. Let Natural Selection do its thing. Sounds like the in-season time for field hockey is fall, whis is a forgiving time of year for cool season turf. Someday they may add irrigation as they did here part way through the work.

    Good luck with this noble project. I will be watching this thread and look forward to updates on your decisions, progress, snd setbacks. I can provide photos and more specific information once I get back online, if you are interested.
  5. blmland

    blmland LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    The first thing you should do is take a soil sample and find out if and how much lime and fertilizer you will need. If you aren't seeding until spring add the pelletized lime now. If the area is flat, I would seed it. Mulch over it with straw or hydro mulch. I've hydroseeded over an inch of snow and frozen dirt and had 95% coverage in the spring. I would use a rye, blue and fescue mix. Starter fertilizer is just that, put it down with the seed!
    Good luck!

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