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Clearing up an overgrown farm field for sports

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  • Jun 16th, 2021 11:23 am
[OP]
Jr. Member
Sep 30, 2017
109 posts
62 upvotes

Clearing up an overgrown farm field for sports

Hello All,
We are in the process of leasing a farmland here in Durham to use as a sportsfield for our team.
In the current shape the farm is overgrown, has not been farmed for a couple of years since the new owner took over.
Based on the discussion and a quick walkthrough the ground seems to be level however we are wondering whats the cost effective way of getting this cleaned up, and get grass to grow.
The field is about 8 acres.
Would appreciate any guidance on the process to follow, also can we DIY the owner is willing to lend us a tractor.
If not what should we contract for (Grading, clearing, tilling?)
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21 replies
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2017
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SW corner of the cou…
Teach your team toughness and have them play on the field as is. The holes, rocks, and bumps (if any) will teach them agility.

Just like the Thai youth football team that had to play on a floating football field. Playing bare foot, they knew where every nail that stuck out and plank that wasn't level was.
I smile when I see container ships sailing past my house laden with stuff made in China
[OP]
Jr. Member
Sep 30, 2017
109 posts
62 upvotes
thriftshopper wrote: Teach your team toughness and have them play on the field as is. The holes, rocks, and bumps (if any) will teach them agility.

Just like the Thai youth football team that had to play on a floating football field. Playing bare foot, they knew where every nail that stuck out and plank that wasn't level was.
Its an interesting idea but don't think we want to take that risk with our players and injuries Smiling Face With Open Mouth
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2017
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SW corner of the cou…
ahaneo wrote: Its an interesting idea but don't think we want to take that risk with our players and injuries Smiling Face With Open Mouth
Then how much can you spend and how much area needs to be worked? Machinery time can be expensive. At the least, enough top sol required so you can sow grass seeds. Ripping out the soil will require levelling which adds more machinery time (and more soil).
I smile when I see container ships sailing past my house laden with stuff made in China
[OP]
Jr. Member
Sep 30, 2017
109 posts
62 upvotes
thriftshopper wrote: Then how much can you spend and how much area needs to be worked? Machinery time can be expensive. At the least, enough top sol required so you can sow grass seeds. Ripping out the soil will require levelling which adds more machinery time (and more soil).
We need to clean up atleast 3 Acres for the field, given that this was an existing field that was being cultivated before I am hoping we don't need to bring in top soil, as long as we can get rid of the existing layer of weeds and tall grass on it.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2017
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SW corner of the cou…
ahaneo wrote: We need to clean up atleast 3 Acres for the field, given that this was an existing field that was being cultivated before I am hoping we don't need to bring in top soil, as long as we can get rid of the existing layer of weeds and tall grass on it.
So you're talking about 120,000+ s.f.? What is the soil like? If you plow/till, levelling it won't be nice n' easy. Might need to bring in various materials again depending on what the soil is like. I can't imagine less than $30k. I hate to think what's needed to maintain turf and keep it weed free.
I smile when I see container ships sailing past my house laden with stuff made in China
[OP]
Jr. Member
Sep 30, 2017
109 posts
62 upvotes
We want to get rid of the existing tall grass and dead pasture, not too concerned about short regular weeds as we are
Not looking to make it a perfect lawn like turf.
Key is to keep the ground level as much as possible so that we can play on it
Deal Addict
May 9, 2003
1697 posts
887 upvotes
What is your timeline for usage?

I can't imagine you prepping AND playing on the field this season... The sod will need time to mature and root.
Deal Addict
Nov 12, 2006
2098 posts
1086 upvotes
London
ahaneo wrote: We want to get rid of the existing tall grass and dead pasture, not too concerned about short regular weeds as we are
Not looking to make it a perfect lawn like turf.
Key is to keep the ground level as much as possible so that we can play on it
You say it is level enough, and you don't need perfect turf.
What I see is just dried old grass and weed stalks.
You just need a mower.
I'm talking heavy duty tractor mower, and not what's used for a suburban yard.
After all that debris is chopped up, there will be new growth that any country kid would run and play on.

Inspect it for debris (rocks, larger sticks, etc.) first.

Another method used in the past was burning.
Improperly done caused a lot of undesired fires.
Current regulations may prohibit that now, so seek local advice, and if allowed do it properly.
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
3434 posts
2406 upvotes
Toronto
I'd be asking some local farmers. They're the ones with equipment and know-how. Nobody on RFD (I'll happily be corrected) knows anything about efficiently levelling 8 acres of land for a sports team to play on.

We can all chime in with common-sense ideas that work on a small lawn, but this is not a wheel barrow and shovel kind of job.

I don't think you mentioned what sport is involved.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2017
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torontotim wrote: I'd be asking some local farmers. They're the ones with equipment and know-how.
Farm equipment is not necessarily suitable for levelling a sports field. No use of compacting rollers for one.
I smile when I see container ships sailing past my house laden with stuff made in China
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jun 12, 2007
16581 posts
5204 upvotes
London
ahaneo wrote: ..
We are in the process of leasing a farmland here in Durham to use as a sportsfield for our team....
I would check it this week while it's wet out. See if rain water is draining properly and not pooling up where you don't want.
While you think it's level enough, you want to find out now if better drainage is needed
[OP]
Jr. Member
Sep 30, 2017
109 posts
62 upvotes
Thanks for the guidance guys, by the way this is for Cricket sports
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2017
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So you only need a relatively-small pitch between the two wickets, so a bit long and narrow?

I'd just work on that to start with.

Could look like this

Image
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Deal Guru
Jan 25, 2007
10365 posts
5570 upvotes
Paris
thriftshopper wrote: So you only need a relatively-small pitch between the two wickets, so a bit long and narrow?

I'd just work on that to start with.

Could look like this
If you build it, they will come.
Deal Addict
Nov 12, 2006
2098 posts
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London
torontotim wrote: Nobody on RFD (I'll happily be corrected) knows anything about efficiently levelling 8 acres of land for a sports team to play on.

We can all chime in with common-sense ideas that work on a small lawn, but this is not a wheel barrow and shovel kind of job.
Not every RFDer's experience is limited to the centre of the universe.
thriftshopper wrote: Farm equipment is not necessarily suitable for levelling a sports field. No use of compacting rollers for one.
The OP has indicated this is not required, however if it was then typical farm equipment of discs, harrows, seed drill would get the job done.
I'd suggest compaction should be avoided.
This is not backfill on a construction site.
Deal Addict
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Aug 10, 2015
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Elgin, ON
I don't have the knowledge to help, but I'd love to see an update on this project later this summer.

Obviously, to make it perfect, would be a massive job, but I'm curious to learn how little work you can get away with to make it good enough to play on.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Sep 30, 2017
109 posts
62 upvotes
rkjredflag wrote: I don't have the knowledge to help, but I'd love to see an update on this project later this summer.

Obviously, to make it perfect, would be a massive job, but I'm curious to learn how little work you can get away with to make it good enough to play on.
Wanted to provide an update to you guys.
this is where we are right now

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https://imgur.com/xNdp2Kr
Member
Aug 25, 2006
223 posts
196 upvotes
Toronto
Thumbs up for the initiative . This is field of dreams stuff.

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