June 2, 2023

Fallow Fields, Fair Play

Posted by Wildewood Group
Michael Wettengel, President

Not unlike the farm fields from whence many Southern Maryland recreational activities have sprung, recreational fields need to lie fallow as well. For every two years that a soccer field is in service it needs a growing season time-out to recover.

Although proper turf care for soccer fields varies with location, across the country horticulturalists agree with the need to let a soccer field rest.

In the Midwest, Zac Reicher, Associate Professor/Turfgrass Extension Specialist of Purdue University schedules “disruptive maintenance practices” while a field rests and suggests the rotation should be conducted throughout the year. “Ideally, a field should be rotated out of play for four growing months or more. The ideal time to rotate a field out of play is September, October, April, and May with play starting again in June. The second best time is April, May, June, and July with play starting again in August.

During this resting period, the field should be mowed and irrigated regularly, aerified aggressively at least once (preferably twice or more), overseeded and fertilized. This process provides the opportunity for the root system to re-establish; thereby ensuring a healthier and more durable playing surface.

The practice continues across the west with the Snyderville Recreation District  in Park City, Utah  where the recreation master plan notes an attempt “to identify fields that are overused such as a soccer field that is used continually during the spring and fall. After all attempts at coring, seeding and other reestablishment practices have not produced acceptable turf cover, the field is closed for one season or less depending on the extent of the turf damage.

“Please understand, we do not rest fields because we have an over abundance of fields therefore allowing us to remove one from play. Instead, we rest fields to allow us to continue to have quality fields for years to come and to prevent injuries.”

The same advice goes to the athletes as well. According to www.football.isport.com, resting gives muscle tissue a chance to process the build-up of lactic acid and depletion of glycogen levels. As a result, you actively stimulate tissue regeneration and help your muscles to grow.

Build at least one rest day per week into your training and do light work on the day following a strenuous match. You’ll reap rewards over the course of a long season.


Leave A Comment