December 2013

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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Facility&Operations | By Jameson Sheley, CFB-S, CTB Soil stabilization important for synthetic fields B EAUTY CAN BE DECEIVING especially when a new synthetic field is completed. School administrators look at the pristine green surface, take their first steps on it and imagine the thrilling games it will host and the immense value it will provide as recruiting tool. But for many, it can also lead to heartache when imperfections begin to show more and more prominently; a portion of the turf puckering here, a persistent pool of water there, and humps or divots mysteriously materializing. All are generally signs of one thing: an improperly stabilized soil sub-base. The most common mistake high schools, colleges and other organizations make when planning an artificial surface is failing to realize the importance of the sub-base. How important? It is not only essential to ensuring lasting value over a synthetic turf 's 10-year life span, but a properly stabilized sub-base can last three synthetic turf life spans, 30 years. It's one reason why Byrne & Jones Sports recommends allocating $50,000 to $100,000 of a budget to fixing potential soil issues. [ When considering an investment of a $1 million or more in a new athletic field and subsequent replacement surfaces that will be needed every 10 years or so, it makes eminent sense to invest in a good sub-base. 30 SportsTurf | December 2013 ] One of the more common missteps in athletic field installations is becoming too enamored with compaction as a "catch all" solution to sub-base issues. Compaction is not a substitute for the stability of soil. You can compact a soil, test it to confirm all the air in the soil has been voided and still wind up with a mud bog. It is one of the more common issues we encounter when contacted to evaluate turf imperfections on surfaces we didn't install. The ideal soil for synthetic fields is found in the northern states of Midwest farm country and is comprised of silt and top soil. In some areas, like Gary, IN the surface can appear to be the ideal silt/soil combination until you probe deeper and find that it's all sand 8 inches below the surface. Otherwise, clay soils tend to be most common problem. Clay will retain water and impede effective drainage. Water that persistently pools on a

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