Water Flow Through Geotextiles Used to Support the Root Zone of Turfgrass on Sports Fields



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A sports field construction method that uses a geotextile to support the root zone atop a synthetic drainage structure is an alternative to the common design that uses gravel drainage material to support the root zone. A study was conducted to address the concern that fine particles in the root zone may migrate under the influence of percolating water, clog geotextile pores, and restrict the amount of water drained from a sports field. In test columns, six root zone mixtures with different particle size distributions were combined with ten geotextiles with different opening sizes to produce 60 replicated treatments. Water flow through the root zone mixture-geotextile combinations in the test columns was evaluated over a six-month period. Change in permeability was assessed by monitoring the temporal distribution of drainage from a 25-mm pulse of water applied to 300-mm deep root zone mixture in the test column. Particles in drainage water were analyzed for size distribution. The study revealed that drainage rates were affected more by drainage trough the root zone mixture than through the geotextile. The amount and particle size distribution of particles in drainage water were influenced more by root zone mixture than by geotextile. It appeared that in the establishment phase of a sports field that fine particles in the root zone may present more of a problem to clogging of the root zone pores than clogging of the geotextile pores.