RESEARCH PROJECT: COMPARE HOURS OF USE FOR DIFFERENT SPORTS FIELD CONSTRUCTION TYPES AND MAINTENANCE INPUTS
Author: John Neylan, Turfgrass Consulting & Research
In April 2017 a research project funded by the Sports Turf Association (Vic) was commenced by David Nickson (Grand Prix Turf) and myself to study the effects of hours of use on sports fields of different construction types and levels of maintenance. The project involves 4 sports fields used for either Australian Rules Football or soccer as well as cricket.
Each trial site is divided into 5 areas (each being 100 square metres) representing both the high and low wear areas of the field. In each area the following measurements are being undertaken; soil description, turf grass composition by point quadrat, visual assessment of the test area in terms of turf cover, turf density and turf health, traffic and wear, thatch depth,root depth, soil moisture content, infiltration rate, surface hardness, compaction and turf health as measured by the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI).
The project will be conducted over the next 18 months with 7 detailed assessments as well as collating the maintenance information, the hours of use and the level of sport (e.g. junior vs senior). This information will then be compared to the turf quality parameters being measured. As part of the project there will also be a literature review undertaken to provide an up to date document on sports field management as it relates to the hours of use.
Over the research period the results will be provided as interim reports available on the STA(Vic) website and Facebook and presented at their seminars.
Acknowledgement: Thanks to the STA (Vic) for funding this project and the Councils that have allowed us access to the sports fields under test.