The native soil at Bill Davis Baseball Field at Ohio State reacts like any other native soil field when it rains; the infiltration rates are very low and moderate amounts of rain results in standing water, loss of grass cover and muddy playing conditions. This fall it has rained a lot, particularly on game days and football Fridays.

A cost-effective way to remedy a situation like this is to by-pass the native soil with channels backfilled with a material that drains. A method that been practiced in Europe for decades and gaining momentum in the USA, is the installation of sand-slits or channels.

In this particular instance (picture left), the blade on the machine created channels 6″ deep that were backfilled with medium-coarse sand. The slits were spaced 8-10″ apart. Once the sand was brushed from the surface, the channels were only about 0.5″ wide. The grass typically grows over the slits and hides them from view.

The field is playable almost immediately and most importantly, the field can handle future rain events.


1. VIDEO of sand-slits being installed at Bill Davis

2. Previous article on SLIT DRAIN SYSTEMS

3. If the budget is not in place to install sand-slits this year, field managers with muddy fields need to at least get on a topdressing program. Details about that are HERE

Posted by Pam Sherratt & John Street,

SportsField Management