Assessing winter sports pitch drainage performance

How well does the pitch drain

With spring around the corner – if it will ever come – now is the time to assess how well pitches have performed this winter.  Immediate thought must be given to what can be done to overcome the problems that have arisen.  If the solution is simply to control surface water run-off on to the pitch or fill in depressions, this should be undertaken as soon as soil condition is firm enough.

The solution may not be simple and could need much planning and organisation.  The problem may warrant undertaking a topographical survey and a soil study  – thereafter possibly re-grading and drain installation.   If play is to re-commence in the autumn there is a limit to what can be done in the short time available – unless pitches can be  irrigated.  If a system is not in place temporary irrigation installations can be hired – otherwise a playing season could be lost in the time it takes for the pitch to recover from major works.

Whatever improvements are undertaken, it remains vital that a full vigorous and dense grass cover is established before the season starts in order to tolerate the wear and abuse that is sure to take place.

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