The most effective drainage systems for soil based sports fields are what we term “Surface” drainage systems. These are a series of drain lines that come to the playing surface which are filled with a homogenous material. This material is a course grade of sand. There is no native soil placed over these lines, hence the term surface drainage. The turf grows into the sand and with good cultural practices, i.e.: aeration (both coring and slicing) and topdressing, the infiltration rate into these lines makes it possible for the field to remain firm. It should be noted at this time that if you install a drainage system and do nothing additional to the field to accentuate the effectiveness of the system — it will fail as soon as the lines seal over. However, with the systems that we install — all the trenches have locator wire buried with the drain pipe making it possible to locate these lines in case they do seal over. Simply using a lawn edger and cutting a narrow trench over the lines will re-energize the system. If you spend the money necessary to make a problem field work properly — you must be able to commit money to keep your cultural practices at a designated level.
Installing a drainage system like we are discussing is not as simple as using a recipe with the end product always predictable. For example, if the field is totally flat it is more difficult to move the surface water into the drain lines versus the water flowing off a crowned field. More than likely the flat field will have the drain lines more closely spaced than the crowned field. The equipment used to install the drainage is very fast and clean. We can help you design a drainage system that will meet your needs.
There are two key items that set our installation apart from others.
We dig with a laser guided, machine controlled, high speed wheel (Shelton Super Trencher). Our machine cuts a very precisely sloped trench. In addition it also leaves the trench incredibly clean, and deposits spoils directly into a material transporting unit with very minimal amounts of material touching the ground before getting to a stockpile. The trencher keeps the surface and the trenches so clean that there is less “trench contamination” when backfilling and there is not very much clean up needed on the field after installation.
We “pin” our pipe about every 20’ (twenty feet) to the bottom of the trench. This ensures that there is no fluctuation in the slope of pipe. Sometimes during backfilling pipe can move or “float” which can cause drainage action to slow – that is not the case with our installations.
After pipe is laid and pinned on the bottom of the trench, we backfill with a special machine that focuses the sand into our narrow trenches. They are filled in several “lifts” and compacted with a specially designed compaction wheel that is narrow enough to fit in the trenches. The top inch of the trench is filled with a proprietary mixture of sand and seed that promotes good infiltration, encourages the turf plants to establish quickly, and helps the plant toughen up quicker.