June 12,
2018
  With the Maryland SoccerPlex 
A weekly newsletter to keep you informed about EVERYTHING Turf at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
This week we will look into what a sand-based field is compared to a soiled-based field and what the benefits of each are!
Rain, rain, go away!
One of the most common questions we receive when we have to close fields is "Why does one field stay open and others have to close?" Today we will start to answer that question! The root of the answer is actually below the root of the plant! A sand-based field (Stadium field) is a field that consists of multiple inches of gravel over-top of the native soil base. The gravel helps with quicker drainage and keeps the sand layer as level as possible. Above the gravel level is the sand-level which is normally about 10 inches of sand. That 10 inches of sand can drain 10 inches of rain in an hour!
 
Now that we know what a sand-based field is, let's discuss the other type of field: native-soil. This type of field is very much what it sounds like; a field that consists of soil that is native to the area where the field is built. At the SoccerPlex our native soils are very heavy in silt and clay, which are made up of extremely small soil particles. Native soil fields are typically the most cost-effective way to build a field (short-term) and can be very self-sufficient in that they often need less irrigation and fertilization than a sand-based field. However there are trade-offs. The one specific one we deal with here is the lack of natural drainage that native soils provide.  The small soil particles pack together extremely tightly and do not allow water to pass through quickly, like sand-based fields do.
Why does this matter?
Sand is helpful for the 
roots of the plant because it does not become compacted as easily as a native soil field does. Less compaction allows the roots to continue to grow to be healthy. One of the largest benefits that a sand-based field has is its ability to drain quickly. Because there is more  pore space (air space in between the sand particles) in sand than there is in soil it allows the water to drain through easier and thus the field can handle more water in a smaller amount of time than a soil-based field.
 
Bringing it all back together, at the SoccerPlex, we have 9 native soil fields and 1 full sand-based field. We have 2 sand-capped, 4 with sand drains, and 3 with sand channels! Now what does all that mean? Come back next week when we talk about drainage systems here at the Maryland SoccerPlex and how we are always working towards improving!
Next Week
Check back next week when we look into drainage systems at the SoccerPlex!
Ask Us Your Questions
Do you have a burning turfgrass related question? Ask us! We will be happy to answer it in future iterations of Turf Talk - just email us at info@mdsoccerplex.org, subject line Turf Talk Question.
 
Many Thanks to Fine Earth Landscape, Inc. for 
Their Continued Support of the Maryland SoccerPlex.

Learn more about Fine Earth here.