Rock-hard Sportsfields May Have to Close

29 April 2010

Wellington's recent run of dry weather is wreaking havoc on the city's sportsfields - with a blanket ban imposed last night on any training on the fields.

The combination of hard grounds and heavy rain caused concern playing in those conditions would damage the already poor grass cover.

The Council's Sportsfields Manager, Trevor Jackson, says the only way to preserve the grass is to restrict the number of games being played, and close some sportsfields.

"With less than half the average rainfall for this time of year - and despite the fact winter sports started about a month ago - we are now dealing with rock-hard soil conditions and are in danger of losing significant grass cover.

"Even if we get heavy rain the ground is so hard the water will sink into the first few millimetres of the field and run off, creating a mudbath."

Mr Jackson says the management of the fields over the early part of the season will be critical in avoiding major problems later on in the season.

To help ease the damage the Council is also asking people to limit, or alternate, training sessions and train on the side of fields as much as possible.

"There are no dedicated training grounds in the city, so we need to think about giving some of the fields a rest and restricting play so we can preserve the ground for the whole season," says Mr Jackson.

Thirteen of the city's sportsfields are irrigated but the rest are at the mercy of the weather.