October 2017

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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www.spor 15 October 2017 // problem with the grade and standing water in low areas occurs, this process will not work. Some sands work and others do not. Make sure that you start with the right sand and that the sand will be available for many years to come. Here is the most important rule of topdressing: once you begin, you can never stop. One of the most common errors in topdressing is to start and stop and then start again. This will result in layers that form a barrier to the roots and will cause more harm than good. Once it has been decided that topdressing is going to be used and the proper material has been chosen, it is critical that the right amount of topdressing is applied per application and that the interval between applications is proper (Figure 3). Applying too much topdressing at a time can result in the burying of an existing thatch layer, which results in a layer of organic matter that acts as a barrier to root growth later. Applying too little at intervals that are excessively long will result in a series of thin layers that again form barriers to rooting. There are no set rules for how much and how often. It depends on the conditions in the fi eld and is based on the experience of the fi eld manager and observations made of the profi le during the process. There is no substitute for an experienced sports fi eld manager who can stay with the process over a number of years. If there is a thick thatch layer, light applications of 1/8 inch or less every few weeks would be appropriate until the thatch layer has broken down. Combining this with core aeration is also a good idea. Be careful not to bury the thatch layer, it has to be broken down slowly to avoid layers. If the fi eld is new and has a sand base, applications of 1/8 to 1/4 inches of topdressing per application, a few times per season should be suffi cient. Monitor the sand build up by cutting profi les in the fi eld on a regular basis to observe the build-up of sand. If there is not a thick thatch layer and the plan is to establish a new rooting media over time, heavier applications can be made more often. Usually the goal will be to build up at least 4 inches of Figure 2. Layering in a sports field. This is a picture of a soil profile from a professional stadium in the US showing the layers that can develop over time. The green material is green sand, it is capped with a clay-loam soil, followed by a sand layer, then there is a black layer probably due to anaerobic activity, and the beginning of a sand cap. Reconstruction would likely be necessary on this field. Used by permission of Dan Strey.

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