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31/03/2022 - 13:50
The council of Aalter in Belgium invested heavily in upgrading their football infrastructure. A new artificial grass pitch on the A-field, a renovated grandstand building and a new top layer on the B-field.
The top layer of the B-field was completely rebuilt: a mixture of specially chosen sand and soil from the A-field. This top layer was then further optimised with the TerraCottem turf soil conditioner.
What makes a good sward for a football pitch?
Good drainage is essential. Football is a winter sport. It is played in a period when there is a positive water balance. More water falls onto the pitch (precipitation) than is used by the grass. Moreover, during the winter months, evaporation is very limited. So, there is a "surplus" of water. To keep the football pitch playable, that water must be drained away by the soil profile as quickly as possible. Hence the need for a sandy top layer.
Sand also ensures an airy soil: good air and water circulation is extremely important for healthy grass root growth. Moreover, sand is also resistant to compaction caused by treading.
Sand does have one disadvantage: it retains but a small amount of water and nutrients. In the summer months, the water balance can become negative: little precipitation, high water consumption by the grass and a lot of evaporation. Additional watering is then often necessary. By mixing TerraCottem turf into the sandy top layer, you increase its water retention capacity without affecting the drainage. Moreover, the soil conditioner reduces the leaching of nutrients. The result: more efficient use of water and nutrients.
TerraCottem turf also stimulates root growth: the grass forms more and deeper roots. This ensures a strong grass foundation with noticeably less play damage.
The B-field with natural grass was raised one and a half metres with 2 million kilograms of soil from the A-field over a total surface of 7,000 m². The 15 cm deep top layer was further improved with 180 tons of Sibelco M31 sand and 500 kg of TerraCottem turf soil conditioner.
Not only the pitches, but also the facilities were upgraded with new goals, fencing, an electronic scoreboard, dugouts, ball barriers and corner kick flags. The total cost was €663,000.