Keeping Up With The Seasons

Depending upon where you are in the United States, seasonal maintenance of your park’s sports and recreational facilities may be a no-brainer–or at least a non-issue.

Make sure your court surfaces are ready for the winter. Photo Courtesy of Plexipave Sport Surfacing, A Division of California Products Corp., Andover, MA

If you’re in the South or Southwest, for example, the action on your basketball and tennis courts, soccer and softball fields, playgrounds and jogging trails doesn’t slow down–it keeps right on going.

Up north, though, and toward the center of the country, many facilities go into hibernation by this time.

Even if you don’t live in a heavy snow area, the school year is in full swing everywhere, meaning outdoor facilities get a little downtime during the day from Monday through Friday.

For those people heading into colder temperatures, this is a good time to do some preventive-maintenance work. It can pay off in better conditions when the warm weather returns.

Court Care

Carefully inspect the surface of asphalt basketball and tennis courts, keeping a lookout for cracks and other damage. Remember that cracking is a symptom of a problem, not a problem by itself, so ask a court builder to evaluate and give a recommendation for what should be done.

Look for low areas in the court where water collects after a rain storm, or high areas due to heaving. Some areas of courts will show wear more quickly than others; on tennis courts, this area is around the baselines, and on basketball courts it’s in the key.

Depending upon your location, sports-construction professionals may advise work before a freeze hits, or in the spring.

Keep the court surface free of leaves, sticks, and twigs that can cause stains if left for prolonged periods, and make sure there’s no way for algae or moss to grow, which can cause slippery areas.

Look at court furnishings: fences, posts, tennis and basketball nets, basketball poles, backstops and hoops, tennis net posts, and more. Sand any areas of rust and prime with a rust-retardant paint, if possible. Look for sharp edges and sand these down as well.

If it’s unlikely the tennis courts will receive much use until spring, remove the nets and store them. Basketball nets should be replaced on a regular basis as well, so remove these too.

If, however, your courts will see action throughout the year, be sure all hardware stays in good working order by inspecting and lubricating any winding mechanisms on tennis-court nets.

Leave some slack on the net cable if your area does go through freeze-thaw cycles, as steel tends to expand and contract, and several months of temperature extremes can stress the cable and posts unnecessarily.


Heavy snow loads and deep mud will render fields unplayable; however, many parts of the country have only occasional snow and, therefore, the fields see at least limited action throughout the winter.

Remember, parents and kids get cabin fever; you’re playgrounds will get use over the winter! (© Can Stock Photo Inc. / csp7220073

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