Synthetic Pitch Maintenance
The investment of a synthetic sports surface is substantial and is designed to last between 10 and 15 years, it therefore demands an appropriate maintenance programme to maximise the benefits that it offers such as year round availability, increased revenue and prolonged surface lifespan. A comprehensive maintenance programme Synthetic Pitch Maintenance will include routine brushing, sweeping and the redistribution of infill materials as well as more advanced procedures to minimise contamination and detritus. All of these activities must be undertaken to ensure that the surface complies with the manufacturer’s specification to prevent damage and deterioration.
Over time a football pitch may become matted down, lose infill and build up hardness which negatively impacts on playability, player comfort and performance. However, a properly managed maintenance programme will address these issues before they become severe and a warranty claim becomes necessary, thereby reducing the risk of expensive repair bills.
The main objective of any football pitch maintenance programme should be to ensure that the field is free from debris and contaminants including weeds, algae, dog fouling and the like. In the case of weeds and algae, the best solution is often to use a chemical weed killer, such as glyphosate (roundup) or paraquat. However, the removal of weeds and algae from an artificial sports surface must also be carried out in a responsible manner to avoid any contamination that could potentially affect the infill material.
A GKB Leaf sweeper or similar mechanical equipment is an ideal piece of equipment for this task as it is able to collect leaves, twigs, branches and other organic material whilst preventing any of the debris from being compacted into the fibres of the football mat. Once the contaminant is removed, the infill can then be re-spread onto the synthetic turf field, significantly improving the appearance and making the pitch look fresher.
More importantly, the regular brushing of the football pitch is a very effective way to minimise contamination on 2G systems. The contamination levels on a sample of the infill can be assessed by a simple and relatively quick test, developed by McLeod for the purpose .
Regular brushing is also important for ensuring that a drainage inhibiting skin does not develop over the carpet surface and reduce the water infiltration capacity of the pitch during rain. Whether this skin is caused by inappropriate maintenance, or simply the age of the pitch, it is likely to result in water failing to drain away from the playing area once the rain stops.
As a consequence, it is recommended that a maintenance programme incorporates an annual visual inspection of the field by an expert and that the findings are reviewed in relation to the maintenance specification of the individual synthetic surface used. This will ensure that the maintenance regime adopted is consistent with the requirements of the surface and that it is completed to a high standard. Ultimately this will serve to protect the warranty offered by the manufacturers of the synthetic surfaces, a condition that is usually dependent on a robust maintenance programme.