Sport Field Maintenance

A ball diamond at night with a set of bleachers in the foreground

The municipality is committed to maintaining fields for residents to use and enjoy. This includes sports fields, natural ball fields and all-weather sports fields.  

Maintenance Standards

The municipality has service standards for maintaining sports fields and ball diamonds. Service standards outlines what residents can expect from the municipality regarding field maintenance, including how often fields are maintained and the maintenance activities for each field.

Each year, the municipality maintains over 300 sports fields and ball diamonds. Are you interested in knowing the maintenance standards of a sports field or ball diamond in your community? Follow the steps below:

  1. Find the name of the sports field or ball diamond
  2. Identify the field’s classification from AA-D
  3. Match it to the service standards for that classification

Each sports field and ball diamond receive a classification from AA-D based on:

  • Usage
  • Infrastructure available
  • Service standards
  • Field dimensions

Maintenance Activities

The municipality maintains fields by following specific and intensive maintenance activities that support and enhance field conditions. Each activity is completed on a schedule as outlined in the sports field and ball diamond municipal service standards.

Learn more about how municipal staff maintain fields and why these activities are important.  

Soil testing

Soil testing is one of the most important, yet most often overlooked, steps in a quality turf maintenance program. The quality of any turf depends in large part on the health of the soil it is growing in. A soil test for sports field turf determines soil nutrient levels, soil pH and soil organic matter content. A proper soil test involves three important steps: soil sampling, laboratory analysis, and interpretation of results. It is best practice to conduct soil tests every three years. 

Fertilizer and lime application

To grow healthy turf, the right nutrients must be available in the soil in the right amounts, and in a form that is available to be taken up by the roots. A soil test lets us know how much nutrients are in the soil of a sampled field and will usually recommend how much of each nutrient must be applied in order to bring the nutrients to their proper concentration.

Lime may be required to raise the pH of the soils on our sports fields from time to time. Lime acts very slowly to change the pH of a soil, therefore our application of lime occurs in the fall between September 1 to October 31. This will allow the lime to work to improve the soil for the next growing season.


Overseeding has always been an important turf maintenance tool. With the municipality’s pesticide ban, overseeding has become an even more important part of a sustainable turf program. Maintaining a dense, healthy turf stand by frequently overseeding serves to crowd out many of the weeds which would otherwise overtake a sparse field. During the playing season, regular field inspections are completed to spot early signs of wear of a field as much as possible. The optimal times for seeding in our region is from May 20 - June 20 and September 1 - October 15. These are the dates when soil temperatures and rainfall amounts are most likely to support seed growth.


One of the most limiting factors to high quality turf is soil compaction. Hard packed soils restrict root growth and prevent the movement of air, water, and nutrients into the soil where they are needed. The most common reason for aerating a sports field is to relieve compaction. This is done either by removing plugs of soil from the field using a core aerator or by cutting slits in the field using slice aeration.

Core aeration is done in the spring and fall, while slice aeration is used during the playing season.  Core aeration is more effective for relieving compaction than slice aeration but it is also more disruptive to the playing surface. If core aeration is done during the playing season, we allow the resulting plugs of soil left on the field to dry out. They can then be broken up with a drag mat and act as topdressing for the field.


Grooming is the removal of debris, leveling, grading, and conditioning of ball diamond infields. Sometimes a “lip” can occur when infields are groomed on a regular basis.  The most effective method for preventing lip build-up is to sweep out the edge or use a backpack blower to direct material back onto the infield surface. While this is ideal, it is not possible for our maintenance teams to complete due to the high volume of fields. To correct major lips, we remove the turf with a sod cutter, re-establish the grade and replace the turfgrass.


Sodding involves the installation of strips of pre-grown grass on exposed and prepared soil. The sod takes root within 2-3 weeks and makes for instantly green turf. Sod is utilized as a last resort in areas where excessive use prevents establishment of turf from traditional seed.


Topdressing is the spreading of material (soil, sand, or compost) to the soil surface. This is primarily done to reduce thatch buildup on a field. It can also be used to level out some uneven areas on a field over time.  We find this practice more effective if topdressing is done immediately following core aeration, as the aeration holes will be filled with the new material, helping to mix the soil particles over time, while reducing the formation of layers in the soil.


Impacts to Field Conditions

Despite rigorous field maintenance activities by municipal staff, the quality and conditions of each field are also impacted by:

  • Age of the field
  • How field was constructed (e.g., soil structure)
  • Overuse and/or non-usage
  • Unusual seasonal weather patterns (e.g., a particularly warm or wet season)

Submit an online form to report damage to municipal-owned fields.

Field Conditions & Closures

Updates to field conditions and closures are available on the Field Conditions webpage

Field closures happen for many reasons, including:

  • Inclement weather
  • Soil saturation
  • Unforeseen maintenance

Book A Field

Popular Questions

Why is the field closed if the weather is nice?

A field closure may occur if there has been inclement weather like rain earlier in the day that has impacted field conditions. Even though it might be nice weather now, the field may be too soft and any activity on the field may cause damage.

Why wasn’t the field lined?
  • Field was not booked
  • Field classification (some fields are not lined based on their classification)
  • Inclement weather
  • Wet conditions
How does the municipality determine which fields are maintained?
  • Field bookings
  • Field classification
  • Service standards
Why wasn’t the grass mowed around the field? 
  • Inclement weather
  • Mechanical breakdown
  • Wet conditions
  • Field was in use (e.g., in use by school)
It looks like a field hasn’t been maintained. What factors could be impacting the field condition other than maintenance?

Municipal staff maintain fields through an extensive maintenance process and schedule that extends all season. However, there are other factors that contribute to field conditions, including:

  • Age of the field
  • Amount of precipitation that has occurred and the amount expected to fall in the future
  • Drainage characteristics of the field
  • Field classification
  • Non-use of the field
  • Unusual seasonal weather patterns (e.g., a particularly warm or wet season)
  • Time of year and the cumulative amount of stress on the field
  • Vandalism
  • Visual ponding, sponging of water on turf surface