The benefits of a land drainage system

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 30, 2011 14:44

The benefits of a land drainage system

Whatever the sporting or leisure activity, efficient drainage is an essential element in maintaining a good playing surface.

Loss of use due to waterlogging or turf damage can result in a backlog of games, dissatisfied sportsmen, lost fixtures and even serious financial losses.

An efficient drainage scheme will eliminate waterlogging, reduce compaction, allow easier maintenance and more flexible management of valuable resources. Improved drainage will result in improved soil structure, fewer weeds, better sward and more economical use of fertilisers.

The requirements of different sports vary, especial seasonally, but as golf is played all year it is regularly played when precipitation rates and general weather is at its worst. As leisure and amenity activities increase in importance so does the intensity of use and the players expectations of the facility. Invariably rapid removal of surface water is considered essential.

For sportsturf, land which is excessively wet will impose limits on the availability and quality of play and will prevent optimum sward growth and development and restrict maintenance operations.

The introduction of drainage by perforated plastic pipe will play an essential role in the removal of excess soil water quickly. It can do no more than bring the soil water content down to field capacity but the process is speedy and constantly functioning.

An intensive drainage system will have a significant effect on the overall performance of the sportsturf facility. It will also provide the necessary infrastructure for any subsequent secondary drainage operations.

Having produced the means for the transportation of soil water it is often desirable to make provision for the quick removal of surface water. The restricting factor is usually getting surface water into the pipe system due to compaction and smearing on the surface.

A number of secondary drainage operations are available, for example sand slitting, gravel banding or grooving, vertidraining and moling. These operations, correctly situated and installed, can have a marked effect on specific areas requiring more intensive drainage, that is low lying area, hollows or areas of high traffic, approaches to greens and so on. These secondary operations should be borne in mind as a means of extending the efficiency of a piped drainage system and not always an essential component of a new system.

The installation of a land drainage system within a new or established sportsturf facility requires a combination of the correct experience and expertise, complemented with the correct installation equipment. It is of paramount importance that the equipment used is fit for the purpose. Such equipment will feature low ground pressure tyres or tracks. The trencher will be fitted with an efficient spoil conveyor facility to prevent contamination. A laser grading device will allow constant pipe falls despite undulations within the surface contours. The backfilling equipment will introduce measured, and consistent layers of the chosen permeable trench filling material.

Only specialist contractors and consultants should be approached for both design and installation phases of a project.

The operators of such equipment must be conversant with the type of work and sympathetic to the surface upon which they are working.

The closure of any facility due to wet weather will be instantly reduced once a system is installed, though the overall efficiency of the drainage system will not peak until one or two seasons after its installation.

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 30, 2011 14:44
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