The Top Grade is a process that Warner’s Athletic Construction developed in 2008 to smooth and level a turf surface on an athletic field and remove minor low areas and undulations. For years, many clients and coaches asked WAC to employ a widely known, standard maintenance practice for athletic field and golf turf known as ‘top-dressing’ to help smooth and level low and other problem areas. In response to these requests, we developed a 3-part system in which we typically use about 70% more sand in the process and actually grade the sand over the surface of the field. This process gives an adequate top dressing of roughly a quarter to a half of an inch on the level areas, and any area that is lower and undulating – and that is not as wide as an 8-foot grader box – will actually be filled in with the sand, which will drop in and level the area.
This is the most effective process that WAC uses to affect the playing surface of an athletic field. It will correct the minor undulations and bumps, and this is particularly important for a baseball field; if there are grade undulations as the ball is rolling they will cause it to bounce and hop.
This process will help eliminate those inconsistencies so the ball rolls true. With football and other fields, the Top Grade process helps smooth the surface out and make the playing field safer for the athletes.
As well as correcting minor grade variations and low areas this is also a very healthy process for sports turf, and this is especially true for Bermuda grass. The Top Grade process will promote thatch degradation and decomposition of what is in the soil, and it also assists with changing the soil profile. Typically, we fill in an area with sand to between an inch and an inch and a half in depth, and as the Bermuda grass grows thru the sand, the rhizomes and stolons will grip and stabilize. If more than an inch and a half of sand is used, the recovery has to grow in above the surface of the sand, which will make it unstable. With our Top Grade process, we promote growth through the sand, which results in a stable surface on completion of the project. With the Top Grade there is also a very quick turnaround time – full recovery after this process typically takes between two and four weeks, depending on the application.