Equipment & Irrigation

When it rains, it doesn't drain I have a problem with my sports fields here in Oklahoma. When it rains, they remain wet for days. That causes a lot of rainouts. The fields have 4 inches of dirt and sand, then you hit Oklahoma clay. What are your suggestions?--Oklahoma

A method that works well for drainage is to excavate 13 to 15 inches below the desired grade, install drain-tiling in trenches cut into the subgrade and cover the whole field with 2 to 4 inches of coarse sand. On top of the sand, place 12 to 15 inches of a modified soil mixture that will maintain adequate porosity after compaction to guarantee adequate drainage and air movement for root growth.

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Sloping the surface from the field's center to its sidelines provides good surface drainage. On most athletic fields, a slope of 1 to 1.5 percent is appropriate and does not affect play very much. A 1.5-percent slope on a football field is equal to a 15-inch crown running its length. If possible, to remove the surface runoff from the field, create a trench along the sidelines, outside the bench area and at the lowest grade level. Place a plastic-drain-tile line in the trench and extend coarse sand to the surface to allow excess surface water to drain.

Be a "star" with stripes How do the NFL and Major League Baseball crews stripe their fields? --California

Athletic-field managers accomplish striping via mowing patterns with reel mowers. Essentially, a mower's blades cut the turf and "comb" it in the direction the mower is going. The different shades of green in the stripes are due to the fact that the leaf blades are lying in opposite directions, allowing the turf surface to either reflect or absorb sunlight. Grass blades laying down in the direction away from you appear light, while blades with their tips pointed toward you appear dark.

You should determine the pattern you want to create before you begin mowing. An important feature of every design is consistent line width. When beginning a new pattern, use a guide (sidewalk, foul line, etc.) to ensure your first line is straight. You'll also need to locate a spot on the outside edges of your mower that marks a 1-inch overlap of the previous cut. This will maintain a sharp edge between directions.

Research update: low percentage of injured workers wore protective equipment Though many operators take it for granted that work-place injuries are inevitable, research statistics show that most are preventable. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that only 1 percent of workers who suffered facial injuries were wearing face protection. Only 23 percent with foot injuries were wearing safety shoes or boots. A scant 40 percent with eye injuries were wearing eye protection.

*Hands and arms are susceptible to injuries such as cuts, burns, bruises and chemical spills. If you handle granular or liquid chemicals, you should wear the protection described on the product's label. Hand protection includes rubber or leather gloves. Arm protection can be as simple as wearing a long-sleeved shirt.

*Body protection involves preventing injury that can threaten the torso--such as chemical splashes, impacts, cuts, etc. You can avoid such hazards by wearing protective clothing such as vests, jackets, aprons, coveralls or full-body suits.

*Ear and hearing protection are necessary to shield employees from exposure to high noise levels. Engine noise from mechanical equipment can cause irreversible hearing loss. Research indicates that noise can also cause physical and psychological stress. Clean reusable plugs with rubbing alcohol after each use. Portable radio/CD headsets do not constitute hearing protection.

*Eye and face accidents can result in cuts, punctures or fractures. The kind of protection you wear should be appropriate for the type of hazard present. Safety glasses or goggles are necessary whenever you are pouring or mixing chemicals, cutting, mowing, trimming, grinding or chipping. Wherever you mix or store chemicals, you should be sure there is an eyewash station nearby. If you don't have an eyewash station, install one. Know how to find this station in the dark--literally. If you have chemicals in your eyes, you won't be able to see where you are going.

* Foot protection means wearing leather closed-toe or steel-toe boots. These boots will protect you from compression, puncture and impact injuries. When you are mixing or spraying pesticides or other chemicals, rubber boots offer sufficient protection and are easy to clean after each application or mixture you complete.

Standard safety research suggests that when personal safety equipment is available and in use by employees, work-related accidents decrease, job-completion-time improves and insurance premiums remain lower.

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