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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Page 23 of 51

www.spor 24 // October 2017 THE BENEFITS OF MICRO-TRENCHING // By PAT WILLIAMS Editor's note: Pat Williams is operations manager for Performance Sports Fields, Inc., Lee's Summit, MO. S ome fi eld managers make the case that proper fi eld drainage is second in overall importance when managing a sports fi eld, second to proper mowing but ahead of irrigation. They may be right, but whether it is second, third, or even fourth on the list, you shouldn't overlook it. There is an affordable service for new or existing fi elds, micro-trenching. It has many unforeseen benefi ts and is worth considering. What is it? Sometimes referred to as a "sand slit drainage system," micro-trenching has been around for several decades and has begun generating a new, and growing interest. On a full-sized soccer fi eld it is over 17 miles of narrow sand fi lled trenches that are usually installed at a 45-degree angle to the prevailing slope. This gets the excess water off the surface and into the trenches as quickly as possible. Trenches can be cut into your new or existing fi eld to enhance drainage (native soil, sand modifi ed, sand capped, or a sand-based fi eld that has sealed over with organic matter). Micro-trenches can be used with or without sub-base drains but a well-designed and installed sub-surface drainage system can greatly enhance the performance of micro-trenches. Sub drains are expensive and may not be required for your situation. On existing fi elds, micro-trenches should be installed fi rst and if experience demonstrates that faster drainage is desired the sub surface drains can be added later. The addition of the sub drains will not damage the micro trenches. If you are building a brand-new fi eld or there is a high- water table to contend with, it would be best to install the sub drains at the same time as the micro-trenching. How does it work? Seems simple enough but understanding how the knives slicing the trench interacts with the soil profi le is vital to understanding the hidden underlying benefi ts of micro- trenches. Our machine has six sets of long knives that are positioned 10 inches apart along a slowly rotating shaft. The shaft rotates in the direction that the machine is traveling, cutting six slits at the same time.

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