Warringah Council manages over 40 sportsgrounds with over 125 individual playing fields. The sportsfields need to be ready to cater for up to 12 different sports and 25,000 sports participants each week.
Sportsfields Renovations FAQ
The sportsfield renovation program is a series of maintenance activities undertaken to repair and improve the surfaces of the sportsfields throughout the year. The program aims to ensure playing surfaces are durable, fit for purpose and in a condition suitable for play.
The program extends beyond the day to day maintenance of sportsfields, such as mowing, topping up surface divots, fixing goal posts, edging playing surfaces such as cricket wickets, and removing debris and litter.
The sportsfield renovation program consists of activities such as soil testing, weed and insect control, fertilising, aeration, turf replacement and topdressing. Further information on each of these activities has been provided with the answer to the next question regarding the timing of the program.
The timing of the program is influenced by a variety of factors including use, weather conditions, school holidays and individual field condition. The following information outlines the major activities and their approximate timeframe.
Healthy soil is an important aspect of good turf management. Soil testing is undertaken to determine what amendments need to be made to the soil profile. Soil is analysed for sufficient nutrient levels and physical properties such as % of organic matter and soil pH. This information is used to plan appropriate fertiliser applications throughout the year.
Herbicide and Pesticide Applications
Council uses the safest appropriate herbicides and pesticides available. The applications are done by qualified professionals adhering to all appropriate regulations and environmental controls.
Weeds can cause problems for sportsfields as they create an inconsistent surface cover, compete with desired grass species and can be a nuisance for users. All sportsfields are sprayed for broadleaf weed such as bindi and clover during July and August. Where required, fields may also be treated with herbicide to address turf weeds such as Ryegrass, Onion Grass and Sedges in July.
A pre-emergent herbicide is sprayed on sports fields during September and October to prevent other weeds that typically appear in summer like crab grass and crows foot which also affect playing surface quality.
Pests can also be a problem for sportsfields as they can compromise the health, structural integrity, and amount of turf cover provided. Fields are sprayed during September and October for the prevention of pest infestations through summer. If an insect infestation occurs pesticides may be applied reactively to control the situation.
These activities do not impact on the playability of the field after these works.
Based on previous soil testing, amendments are applied to sportsfields toward the end of August to rectify any imbalances in pH or Trace elements. Fields are also fertilised in October and again in April to promote growth and health of the turf. This activity does not impact on the playability of the field after this work.
Aeration is undertaken to improve the movement of air, water and nutrients into the soil. Fields are aerated with a verti-drain machine two times a year in August and April. This activity does not impact on the playability of the field after these works.
Turf cover on sportsfields is reduced when growing patterns are low, during colder times of the year, and subject to ongoing use. The amount of wear depends on the level, type and frequency of the use. For example, wear will be different for a football code than softball or cricket, or for a field used 60 hours a week compared to 20 hours.
Damaged areas across fields are returfed typically during September and October subject to wear patterns. Areas are prioritised based on amount of wear and impact on safety. Laying new turf at this time maximises the timeframe for re-establishing a quality playing surface for the summer sports. It is the optimal growing period through spring, before hotter and dryer weather over December and January, which would be too stressful for new turf to successfully establish.
It is beneficial however, to minimise turf replacement and encourage regrowth of existing turf where possible as this turf will be stronger and survive stress better in the long run.
Topdressing playing fields, the spreading of sand and soil based materials across the surface, aims to provide level playing surfaces and supports new turf growth. A layer of new soil smooths out any depressions created in the surface from impacts of high sporting use, machinery use or access during wet weather. Turf can also knit together across bare areas utilising the new soil for growth.
Topdressing is typically done on a two year cycle. Fields may be prioritised due to severe unevenness or other micro level issues.
Seasonal Change Over
This includes activities such as changing the goal posts, baseball and softball nets, linemarking and covering or uncovering of cricket wickets.
Changeover from winter to summer sports occurs during late August and early September.
Changeover from summer to winter sports occurs during late March and early April.