Working for Whitehorse - Talkin' Turf

Whitehorse News - September 2020

The Whitehorse Parkswide department manages and maintains both ‘inside’ our sports field boundary fences and also parks and grassed areas ‘outside’ the fence.

The sports field team works within the boundary fences, maintaining playing'surfaces, irrigation and drainage systems, coaches’ boxes and cricket nets. The open space team takes responsibility for all other aspects of our parks and gardens, such as the open space grass, trees and gardens.

Winter is a busy time. This is when sports fields are over-sown to make the playing surface hardier for clubs. Most playing surfaces are couch based turf. Couch is a summer grass that lays dormant and often looks brown during winter. To offset this, the couch turf is over-sown with grass that actively grows in winter so its roots bind to the underlying surface and the fields look greener. This winter has seen Whitehorse staff over-sow more than 23 hectares of turf across our municipality.

Open spaces in parks use kikuyu grass for its lushness and drought resistant quality. It is tended to year round, with the open space team controlling weeds, fertilising, aerating and top dressing.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year has seen an immense difference in how our grassed spaces are used. Sports fields haven’t been used much for sports, but have been heavily used by the broader community for exercising, dog walking and general outdoor family time. Open space areas have seen similar increases in use as people have been required to stay close to home.

This increased traffic across parks and grounds has been significant and Whitehorse staff have worked diligently in accordance with the relevant COVID-19 restrictions to keep these spaces clean and maintained.

The pandemic has not reduced the workload of this hard working team that includes approximately five staff maintaining sports fields and 15 maintaining open space turf.

Did you know that Whitehorse has over 50 ovals?

Some the projects being worked on during 2020/2021 (timing subject to COVID-19 restrictions):

  • Walker Park cricket nets, used by Mitcham Cricket Club, with this project intended to be completed by November 2020;
  • Mirrabooka South Oval, near Orchard Primary School, ground renewal project including drainage, irrigation and a new couch based playing surface
  • Installing a new irrigation system at Simpson Park, Mitcham, as well as top dressing and sprigging. This invovles levelling the playing surface with sand and filling the surface with grasses that have been dethatched from Surrey Park and moved to be used at Simpson Park.