Sports field maintenance
Information on sports field maintenance practices and tips to develop and maintain healthy sporting fields.
Sports field maintenance is a key area of concern for many community sporting groups. Council is committed to developing sport across the region by providing support and funding for community sporting groups via the Sports Field Maintenance Funding Program.
Regardless of the sport being played, there are several important maintenance practices that should be followed to ensure safe, healthy, weed-free sporting fields.
It is important to have a good mowing program in place for your facility. Regular mowing at the correct height will encourage a healthy coverage of turf and help to suppress unwanted weeds. Mowing heights will vary depending on the type of sport being played, the time of year and the type of equipment being used.
As a guideline it is recommended that turf be cut at 15-20mm two to three times a week in the warmer months and 25-30mm once a week during the cooler months. This may vary depending on the requirements of your club. It is also recommended that you change the direction that the field is mowed with every cut.
Supplying nutrition to your turf surface is vital to the condition of your field and as a guideline, eight to twelve weekly applications of an organic fertiliser is recommended to keep your field in optimum health all year round. This may vary due to growth/climatic conditions, turf species and irrigation practices. Council's Parks Community Sports Field Officer can assist in selecting and sourcing a suitable fertiliser for the needs of your fields.
Pests and disease
Turf pests and disease can be devastating to the condition of your field and can kill a field in a matter of days. The key to eradicating all turf pests and preventing disease is early identification and treatment.
Treatment for pest and disease should be carried out by a licensed spray contractor.
If you think your sports field may have some pest and disease issues, council's Parks Community Sports Field Officer can help you to identify the problem and assist in engaging a suitable contractor.
Renovations are a vital part of your annual maintenance program. A standard renovation should include scarification to remove unwanted thatch and promote root and shoot growth. Aeration is recommended to a minimum of 100mm to reduce compaction. It is also recommended to top dress your fields with a suitable top dressing material to ensure a level playing surface and an application of fertiliser to encourage new growth.
Renovations usually take place around September/October or during the break between the cooler season sports and the start of the warmer season sports. It is advised that the field be rested for a period of four to six weeks post renovation to give it the best chance of recovery.
Supplying adequate water is a challenge faced by all turf managers and sporting clubs. There are many variables to consider when working out a suitable irrigation schedule such as type of irrigation infrastructure, turf species, environmental condition, and prevailing winds and training requirements to name a few.
Deep frequent irrigation is recommended to encourage deep root growth. As a guideline twice weekly in summer and once weekly in the winter months.
Soil testing should form the basis of your maintenance program and should be carried out annually. If the soil is lacking in the correct nutrients it will not provide the turf with ideal growing condition, and soil testing will give you a clear indication of what nutrients are required to amend the soil nutrition.
For more information council's Parks Community Sports Field Officer is available to meet and discuss any sports field maintenance queries, and can also help to set up field maintenance schedules. To get in touch with the Parks Community Sports Field Officer contact council.