Seven Watering Tips For Your Athletic Fields

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Water is vital to plants, including the turf on your athletic field: without enough of it, your turf will become seriously weakened and could die or go dormant. Water also helps make your turf more resilient, enhancing its ability to recover from stress caused by heavy use and harsh weather.

But how much water does your athletic field need, and how often should it be applied? Here are some irrigation basics for your Connecticut-area athletic field. Have more questions about watering or maintaining your athletic field? Ask one of our specialists!

Field Irrigation Basics

  1. The texture of soil (that is, the amount of sand, silt and clay it contains) determines how much water can be stored for later use. Sandy soils, for example, have poor water-holding capacity and will need to be watered more frequently than soils with more clay and organic matter. The bottom line: know your soil!
  2. The point of watering is to replenish the amount of moisture lost to evaporation and to the needs of the turf; water only when needed and as much as needed. Check the soil regularly to see if it is wet to a depth just below the root system (typically about 4 to 6 inches).
  3. Turf should receive about 1″ to as much as 2” of water per week during the growing season through a combination of irrigation and rainwater. For example, If rainfall provides one-half inch of water, you will have to add one-half to one and a half inches of water through irrigation (depending on your soil and grass and the evapotranspiration rate of your field).*
  4. Deep and infrequent watering, once or twice a week, is preferred unless you are on sand that needs more frequent irrigation.  Never apply more water than the soil can absorb! Water that does not infiltrate into the soil will be lost to evaporation or through runoff and could cause environmental and water supply damage as it drags added turf chemicals with it. Overwatering may also lead to disease problems and thatch development.
  5. Water in the early morning when the wind is calm. This allows time for the turf blades to dry off before field use. Turf watered in the late afternoon or early evening remains wet longer allowing disease organisms time to penetrate turf tissue.
  6. Finish watering at least 24 and preferably 48 hours before a game. This help the turf recover from the stress of watering.
  7. Remember: All fields are not the same. Soil texture, upcoming games and predicted weather will all factor into how much you will water and when. Avoid watering in windy conditions, which make uniform coverage difficult.

* Evapotranspiration rate, or ET, is the amount of water lost from the soil surface and the water used by plants through the process of transpiration.

Have more questions about professional athletic field maintenance in CT? We can help. Contact us today to speak with an athletic field expert at Diamond Landscapes & Athletic Fields today.