Sand-based Athletic Fields - Water Management in Sand-based Athletic Fields

Water Management in Sand-based Athletic Fields

One of the many advantages of sand-based systems is extremely good drainage. A well constructed sand-based system can drain excessive amounts of rainfall very quickly. The good drainage that sand-based systems exhibit also offer the turf manager better control over soil water content.

The large size of sand particles allow water to flow freely which, in turn, allows sand-based system to drain extremely well. This is beneficial because it allows fields to be used during inclement weather. Sand-based systems will drain multiple inches of water within a short period of time. This allows a sporting event to be played through a rain or after a short delay. Native soil fields, on the other hand, do not drain well and many games have to be cancelled or postponed due to puddling on the field.

The good drainage of a sand-based system allows turf managers better control over their irrigation. Once the turf manager learns how his/her field drains, they will know, fairly accurately, when the field will need water. This allows them to make an irrigation plan that provides the turf with just enough water to maintain its health.

Localized dry spots, more commonly known as hot spots, are a common occurrence on sand-based turf systems. Hot spots are small areas of turf that are dry and often become hydrophobic. They can be first seen when the grass plants in the area begin to wilt. If the hot spot is not taken care of, the turf in that area will eventually die. Once the soil becomes hydrophobic, it is very hard to get water to penetrate. The best way to alleviate a hot spot is through long, light irrigation or rainfall. It may also help to use a pitchfork to poke holes into the soil to increase percolation.

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