waterlogged pitch

A Waterlogged Pitch- Why are Games Cancelled and What Can Be Done To Help?

  • Manual aeration tools: These include hand-held tools such as garden forks and spades, which can be used to manually poke holes in the soil
  • Motorised aeration equipment: There are various types of motorised aeration equipment that can be used, such as hollow tine aerators, solid tine aerators, and turf plugs. These machines use rotating tines or plugs to create holes in the soil
  • Topdressing equipment: This includes tools such as sand spreaders, which are used to evenly distribute a layer of sand or other material over the surface of the pitch.

7) Compaction on the pitch- If the pitch is used regularly it can be highly compacted which reduces and damages pore spaces- the water has nowhere to go. This can also be caused by heavy machinery such as heavy mowers/tractors.


Things you can do to help

1) Keep players off pitches during warmups/ let the pitch rest after

Prevent the pitch from becoming overly muddy and causing more permanent damage to your pitch by asking the players to warm-up off the pitch or at least off certain areas of the pitch. Make sure if you do get a game in you are letting your pitch recover after.

 2)  Verti-drain/Aerate your pitches regularly. You should be aiming to aerate at least once a month to a depth between 100-200mm. Once a year you should aim to aerate to a greater depth (200-300mm) using a larger, more powerful aerator. Make sure conditions are fit to aerate incase you do more damage than good.

 3) Get better drainage installed- Easier said than done! This is highly expensive!

4) Use covers- This is not really an option that clubs choose.  As you can imagine there is a huge volume of water you've got to put somewhere for example if there was 20mm of rain since midnight, and every millimetre of rain on that pitch is seven tonnes of water, thats a lot of water! Often if the water tables are full the water is coming up from the ground so covers do not help!

4) Use sand on your pitches/sand based soil - This aids drainage of water. Sand-based soil is more free-draining than other types of soil and is less prone to waterlogging. A minimum of 60 tonnes per pitch after spiking is the recommended amount and a maximum of 100 tonnes.

5) Scarify regularly to keep your pitch free of thatch. Our C34 mower is perfect for football pitches and you can insert a Turf Rake cartridge or Scarifier cartridge to get rid of thatch. The Turf rake is more suited to using throughout the season.

5) Postpone the  game

Playing on saturated pitches will bring disastrous results. It is often better to postpone a fixture rather than ruin the playing surface for the rest of the season. It is not the groundsman's decision as to whether a game goes ahead- the officials make this decision based on advice from the groundsmen who know their own pitches and how they drain. The officials are analysing whether the pitch is safe to play on and whether or not conditions are or could turn farcical based on the forecast. Trust the groundsmen! They are experts and are only human. Think twice before you take to social media.

Maybe in years to come football will be moved more towards the summer months to avoid the bad weather?


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