Essentials in sports pitch drainage
The main concern in all winter sports pitches is the ability to provide a good firm playing surface during the wet winter months. Continual rain and restricted evaporation at this time lead to the accumulation of surface water. Seldom is the problem due to underground water.
Essentially, there are just two ways in which satisfactory drainage can be achieved on sports pitches:
- An imported sandy root zone ensured of removing surplus water as soon as it falls
- Installing close-spaced slit drains to ‘bypass’ a relatively impermeable topsoil
To achieve sustainable drainage – irrespective of the design – annual maintenance becomes critical. On premier pitches constructed with a sand rootzone it is the accumulation of organic matter debris, thatch and the encroachment of shallow rooted annual meadow grass that threaten the playing performance. On clay loam soils installed with close spaced slit drains the main objective must be to keep the slits open at the surface.
This can only be done with the maintenance of a high quality ryegrass cover and the and the regular applications of sand dressing – at least annually.
Refer to the following article and papers…