How to Protect Your Field in Winter
We don’t need to tell you it’s cold outside. In fact, it’s the time of year when most sports are playing indoors. However, that doesn’t mean you can ignore your fields and stay inside where it’s warm.
Between the excessive rain and freezing temperatures adversely impacting the health of your fields, it’s actually one of the most important times to perform maintenance. If you are in charge of maintaining a field, you understand that it’s a daily process. However, if you manage it better upfront, then you will experience a greater return and lower maintenance cost.
Depending on whether you have grass or synthetic fields will determine what preventative maintenance needs to be done to protect it.
For natural grass fields, this time of year can become a difficult dance between field conditions, its management and the necessity of the individual teams practicing and playing on it.
You need to start by winterizing your irrigation system. Scheduling field use should also be considered, in order to minimize the risk or damage to the field during freezing temperatures. When there is excess moisture, field usage should be kept at a minimum. Due to the grass going dormant during this time of year, the fields aren’t able to absorb as much water, and it can be difficult for the high rainfall to evaporate.
The main goal during the winter season is to protect your investment or you could be facing a major repair bill come springtime. If your facility over seeds your fields, understand that field usage while temperatures are below freezing can lead to significant injury of the ryegrass.
While most synthetic turf systems are designed to handle the high rainfall, you still need to take care of field conditions during freezing temperatures. The biggest concern is the safety of a frozen field.
Synthetic field drainage systems do move excess moisture away; however, it’s common for some moisture to be retained in the infill. If that moisture becomes frozen, it will make for a field with poor footing and one that will not maintain force reduction standards.
The two best things you can do to prepare your field for winter weather and help keep your field recover faster are:
- Reduce the amount of irrigation during the winter season
- Ensure that the drainage structures and inlets are free from obstruction
At Sports Turf we have very knowledgeable staff that can advise and consult with clients about their maintenance needs.