June 19,
  With the Maryland SoccerPlex 
A weekly newsletter to keep you informed about EVERYTHING Turf at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
This week we will build on what we learned last week to learn about drainage systems used at the Plex!
Let's get sandy
What's with all the sand? Well as we discussed last week, sand is better than soil at draining quickly because there is more "space" for the water to go. At the Maryland SoccerPlex we use 4 different drainage systems that use sand! 1 field is sand-based, 2 are sand-capped, 4 have sand drains, and 3 have sand channels. As we learned last week a sand-based field (like our 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. Let's take a look at sand-based drainage systems!

 Sand-capped drainage
A sand-cap system is similar to a sand-based field. Sand-capped fields require less sand and also integrate drainage lines into the field. For sand-capped systems, drain lines are inserted about 10 inches into the native soil. The lines are then filled with sand and then about 4-6 inches of sand is on top of the native soil. Atop the sand is the turfgrass layer. Sand-capped fields can take large amounts of rain and remain stable enough to play!
Sand Channels and Sand drains
Sand channels utilize the sand's ability to drain quicker than native soil. Channels about 8-10 inches deep are cut into the turf and are backfilled with the sand. This process does not interrupt playability and the field will be back to normal in no time. The sand drain system takes it a step further and when the channels are first cut, a drainage pipe is place into the channel and then filled with the sand backfill. The sand drain fields are able to take on even more rain than a sand channel field.
Which is which?
At the SoccerPlex fields 3, 5, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 21, and 22 are all native soil fields. Which as we learned last week, the fields do not have enhanced sand-based drainage within them! Fields 14 and 17 are sand-capped fields. Our sand channel fields are 4, 6, and 7. While our sand drain fields are 1, 2, 8, and 10. The remaining field, the stadium, is our lone full sand-based field. Our ultimate long-term goal is to have all of our fields with some variation of the sand-based drainage to allow game play in all types of weather and to dramatically cut down on the amount of cancellations due to rain. We always appreciate your patience and understanding when we must close fields, and now you know why some stay open and some will close!
Next Week
Tune in next week as we look into what sprigging is and why it is done!
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.