Sports Pitch Drainage Problem Solving

Advising and problem solving

Solving your sports pitch drainage problems


There is always scope for improvement with sports pitches.  Here are some of the common challenges that I advise upon:

  • Surface drainage has not been considered and there is nowhere for surplus water to go.
  • It can simply be a matter of nutrition – though compaction can complicate the situation.
  • The lack of a systematic programme of maintenance leads to a steady deterioration.
  • Infrequent mowing at the wrong height can quickly reduce the grass plant density and weed infestation soon develops in open areas.
  • Where irrigation is provided there should be sound judgement on the frequency and amount of water applied.  Applying scarcely 4mm in the hot sunshine is of little benefit when almost all of the water applied is lost by evapotranspiration. Retaining good levels becomes vital in ensuring water run-off and preventing puddles of water developing.
  • End of season renovation of winter pitches becomes an exacting task when over-seeding is undertaken.  The sequence of treatments can be vital in achieving the desired vigorous ryegrass cover for the start of the season.

Problem solving

The main problem usually concerns sports pitch drainage – all the others generally involve standard maintenance management.  As grassed winter sports facilities must remain firm and provide a sound playing surfaces in wet conditions, they must shed water readily – off the pitch or to the nearest slit drain.  The matter of drainage is vital in all winter pitches but the installation and maintenance of an adequate drainage system is an expensive exercise – especially the annual application of sand dressing.  A drainage installation only becomes vital if games are not to be cancelled and so the expense is not warranted if play can be postponed until drier conditions prevail.

Case studies