Need help to renew a Christian school athletic field
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Author:  markhitz [ Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:52 am ]
Post subject:  Need help to renew a Christian school athletic field

Hi. New person here who doesn't know much; needing help to renew an athletic field.

Scenario: Christian school in Plano Texas (Northeast of Dallas) with a tight budget has a neglected athletic field that is unusable. I would like to make it safe & usable for soccer in the spring.

It appears to have hard black expansive clay soil base with many cracks that could cause ankle turns. Yesterday I walked the field with a yardstick and the 1 to 2 inch wide cracks measured between 8 to 24 inches deep. Long steady rain does cause the cracks to disappear from the surface. Short rains do little. There is an old sprinkler system which is functional but not used much due to the cost of city sprinkler water & city stage 3 water restrictions. This area has been in a drought for a while with zebra muscle concerns restricting water to our lake / reservoir.

The city has just issued me a variance so I can water some but I want to have a plan.

Last year we had parents take wheelbarrows & shovels to fill in some cracks with dirt / sand. I cannot tell if this has really helped because there are still long deep cracks. A football / soccer field is a big area.

The cracks are easy to see because it is mainly weed grasses. Very little Bermuda left.

We do mow whatever is growing weekly with a zero turn.

I would like to have a plan so we can use this as a soccer field for the kids. We are a Christian school so money is always in short supply.

Do we fill in the cracks with ....? Is there some free compost we can get? Is there some inexpensive amendment that works to reduce cracking of highly expansive clay? Bring in a tractor? tiller? drag? aerate?

Plano Texas has been composting products called Texas Pure. It's $30 a cubic yard. Is this a worthwhile option?

Thinking once we get the crack issue somewhat resolved, we need to get some common Bermuda established. Sprigging? Hydromulched? Strips of sod & wait for it to creep?

Then there are the questions of fertilizer or nutrients. Is there an inexpensive natural way to do this?

I am a parent / volunteer who wants to make this happen but need "know-how" and inexpensive resources.

Is there some local university that has geology students who could take on this project? Perhaps as a case study?

Thanks - Mark

Author:  Doug [ Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Need help to renew a Christian school athletic field

As a follow up, Mark met with the Texas Organic Research Center and received a natural organic program for his property. TORC has successful athletic fields that have great turf, are healthier, softer to play on and saving 50% on the water bill.

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