The TFC fields were outfitted with 24 inches of engineered sand - the same sand profile of a United States Golf Association (USGA) caliber Green - just like the BMO Field in downtown Toronto.
But unlike that project, “We didn’t have time to grow the grass on the engineered sand profile for this job,” said Steve Schiedel, Greenhorizons CEO. “So, we took rolls (of sod) and washed the native soil off it, so we were left with just the roots and grass. We use this process on the golf greens as well.”
“An engineered sand profile doesn’t get compacted. Plants need air and water to grow; as soon as the soil gets compacted, it’s very difficult for grass to grow. Also, with a sand profile, the water will always drain if you get an inch or two of rain,” explained Steve.
If the native soil had been left on, there would have been a layer between the engineered sand profile and the grass’ root system; in a very short time, that layer would have been compacted by the players being on the field, and all of the benefits of the engineered sand profile would have been lost.
“After we washed the sod, we laid it on the engineered sand profile. We did this on three of the practice fields,” said Steve.
Following the initial work, “We provided the Greenhorizons ProX Establishment Program. That is a six to eight week process that involves mowing management, top dressing, fertilizing, etc.,” said Steve.
In other words, we not only installed the best quality of grass in the field using the most effective methods, but we also gave it top-notch after-care to ensure that the field continued to perform as a professional soccer pitch.
“The GHG ProX Establishment maintenance program means that we have staff who will keep the grass level, smooth, and firm,” said Steve. This means that the players using the pitch are getting the very best area to play on- one that would meet FIFA standards.
“Our objective with the TFC Fields project was to provide the highest quality of work in the shortest time possible while meeting the same performance objectives of the field when we were done,” said Steve.
“Washing the sod is a very unique method for Southern Ontario; we’re leaders in the country at providing this service.”