Construction and Maintenance of NATURAL Turf grass

By now you should have weighed your field use options, formed your budget, and consulted with one of our technical advisors. If these items are checked off your list and you are ready to get your natural turfgrass field project going, we also have you covered. Construction costs for your turfgrass project can seem quite economical but keep in mind that post-installation maintenance for your field will be pertinent to a lush, long-lasting playing field, and should be budgeted accordingly.

SCG Field - SYNTHETIC  TURF detail

Construction

Some might think that natural turfgrass installation is much easier than its synthetic counterpart. Both can be equally challenging depending on your project location, time of construction, and anticipated use after construction. Therefore, it is always recommended to get a turfgrass consultant like SCG on your side. As your project moves forward, you will more than likely make decisions on components like gravel and sand sieves as well as turfgrass selection. 

To ensure a long-lasting turfgrass for your field you will want to make sure these details match your environment. The components beneath the surface to maintain your field’s performance and beauty are key features of prosperous natural turf systems. As mentioned, some of these include a gravel drainage layer, a rootzone growing medium, and an irrigation system.

Most natural turfgrass field construction projects occur along the following timeline, especially if you are starting from scratch. The first challenge is sub-base grading as soil fields high in silt and clay are not suitable for intensive use as they allow poor vertical drainage and easily compact during use. In most cases, native soil will likely have to be excavated from the site. The second is the material selection, in which “base material” is placed over the drain lines and the graded subbase. Base material is usually made up of properly graded sand and/or pit-run gravel. Installation of drainage lines is necessary when water tables are too close to the surface, must be lowered, or runoff drainage must be contained. Then comes irrigation installation, which is essential. There are many different types of irrigation systems to consider. Irrigation types and design should be based on the water source and pressure, the number of fields or area, region of the country, and type of turfgrass being grown.

Turfgrass species selection is an equally important component when constructing or renovating natural grass fields. Owners should consider turfgrass varieties that offer good disease resistance, wear tolerance, and have a proven ability to thrive in your climatic region. These components can significantly vary based on your environment and there is a lot more to it than you may imagine. For example, if the site is not sodded, seeding or sprigging rates for football and other sports fields could be 4 to 16 pounds per 1,000 square feet of certified seed or sprigs.

 

Maintenace

As you may now understand, maintenance is crucial to a long-lasting natural turfgrass field. As with any major asset, synthetic and natural turfgrass sports fields need well-planned and funded management programs to protect your investment.  Athletic turf managers not only have the usual challenges of adverse weather conditions and tight budgets, but they also face unique difficulties such as coordinating turf maintenance with busy practice schedules and multiple types of users. Natural turfgrass care takes time, requires specialized maintenance, and an appropriate budget to complete required tasks.

 Soil, water, and plant tissue testing. Soil test results provide data about the growing medium, specifically the levels of each of the three main nutrients needed by turf is in the soil: nitrogen, phosphorus (phosphate), and potassium (potash) as well as the micronutrients and soil pH . This allows the turfgrass manager to make future fertility decisions and adjustments based on results of the fields health.

Sodding, mowing, aerating, and topdressing. Of all activities associated with maintaining a natural turfgrass athletic field, mechanical horticulture is an activity that needs to be done the most often. In fact, in most cases, athletic fields should be mowed at least twice per week starting in early spring as the turf begins to grow. Aeration is often neglected in natural turf athletic field maintenance, but it is particularly important to help prevent soil compaction and to allow air, water, and nutrients to reach and develop the grass roots. Another important maintenance routine is topdressing and rolling applications after aerification.

These are just a few of the necessary maintenance needs for natural turfgrass fields. There are several additional options that can be tailored to each sports field project in addition to items you may have pondered, like field painting. SCG has the experience, personnel, and tools to keep your turf looking and performing at its best. We offer top-of-the-line maintenance services by turf experts.

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Our group, SCG Fields, has experience in building fields for over 50 years. We are committed to providing first-class Athletic Fields while creating value within our community.

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