Foul Weather Field Facts
What factors are used to determine whether a field is open or closed?
Fields are open when they are safe… both player safety and long-term field health. Factors such as standing water, muddy/unstable infields and water surfacing are considered unsafe playing conditions and are the main drivers in our decisions to close fields. Additionally, soil compaction plays a major role in our ability to maintain our athletic fields long-term. The more feet that go over an area, especially if that area is saturated, the quicker the dirt compacts. Turf does not grow well in compacted soil. It wears out quickly and become patchy. Hardened ground also can lead to more injuries and concussion concerns.
Why do I see some fields open around the County but our field is closed?
Arlington County Parks and Recreation maintain about 100 athletic fields throughout its 26 mile radius. Each field varies in its use, condition and age. Site conditions such as shade, drainage and grass or soil type dictate the time table for a field is ready for play.
What is the policy regarding the use of drying agent to prepare the fields after periods of inclement weather?
The best defense against standing water and damp areas is routine and proper maintenance. The treatment when it occurs is wind, sun and time. There are certain instances where a moderate amount of a drying agent can speed up the process, especially when there are only one or two damp spots remaining. Arlington County utilizes Turface around the bases and pitcher’s mound to help stabilize those areas after bad weather subsides. It is County policy to use no more than four bags of Turface a day. It should not be used to soak up puddles; instead it should be raked into damp infields. Overusing Turface changes soil makeup and results in uneven and hardened playing surfaces.
The snow is melted and spring sports season is here…why are the fields not ready?
A cold, long-lasting winter mean that the depth of frost in soil is deeper; it takes longer for all of that built-in moisture to escape. Each warm, sunny day works to get fields dried out; however, as long as there is still some freeze/thaw cycling going on, moisture will have a hard time escaping from the ground. Arlington County athletic field maintenance crews do everything they can when they can (removing covers, lining fields) to get fields ready for the season.
Register for field closure updates
Find out about daily field closures, due to inclement weather, through this free service. Alerts are sent out in the afternoons and evenings during the week and periodically throughout the weekend. You can also visit our page on rainedout.com to view any closures, current or from previous days. Register now.
What can I do to help Arlington County fields?
Consider adopting a field. Adopt-A-Field is a County-sponsored volunteer program that supports our fields. County athletic field maintenance staff guide volunteers on proper field maintenance procedures. Find out more or contact our volunteer coordinator, Milada Weaver, at 703-228-4730 or firstname.lastname@example.org for an application and a list of fields that could benefit from adoption.