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Problem Solver - August 2010

Maintaining Your Synthetic Turf Fields


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ynthetic turf fields have exploded in popularity and are a "field of choice" for many new installations. They require less maintenance than natural turf, and because they do not need to rest after a rain before play can resume, they offer the opportunity to schedule a lot more games and practices throughout the year.

But they also present a new challenge to those that are responsible for managing and maintaining athletic fields. Many groundskeepers who are used to maintaining natural turf fields may not know exactly what's needed to care for synthetic turf fields.

Q: We were under the impression that very little maintenance is required for synthetic turf fields. What do we need to do to keep them in good playing shape?

A: While synthetic turf requires less maintenance than natural turf, that doesn't mean they are maintenance-free. The first thing you should do is talk to your manufacturer about what's required to keep the field in top playing condition. This is especially important when it comes to your warranty and any repairs that might be required.

When it comes to the day-in and day-out maintenance of your field, there are a few things you need to consider. Regular inspections, during which you check the field for problems, paying close attention to areas that see more wear, like the goals on soccer fields, will help you discover small issues before they become big problems.

You also need to keep debris off the field. Anything from fallen leaves and other organic matter to garbage blown in from the surrounding area can present a problem. In addition, you should drag mat or brush your field regularly to help redistribute the infill and to ensure the blades are standing upright.

If your field is hosting different kinds of games, you may need to paint and remove lines to switch from one type of play to another.

Some field owners also spray on antimicrobial products and disinfectants to protect players from diseases like MRSA.

Q: We don't have a large staff or budget to handle athletic field maintenance. Is there something we can do to reduce costs and simplify things?

A: One way to lessen the load and reduce costs is to look for an all-in-one grooming machine. Such a machine can handle the wide variety of tasks required to maintain your synthetic turf field. It can remove field markings, as well as groom, paint, condition and spray liquids like disinfectants. A single operator can use such a machine to convert multi-use fields quickly.

A rear-mounted hitch will enable you to add implements to expand what you can do. Optional features like an end zone remover, an extra tank for more capacity and options to paint logos will spruce up your synthetic turf fields.

Don't forget to take your staff's comfort into consideration. Look for products that provide comfort and ease for the user, such as adjustable, padded seat backs and convenient operator controls. Also look for a hydrostatic transmission with single-pedal operation to allow the operator to go backward and forward without having to shift gears. This will reduce fatigue, as well as allow for more accurate painting.

Q: What else should we do?

A: Keep a maintenance log so that you know what's been done when. Your manufacturer may be able to supply you with one, or you can easily create one on your own with a notebook, or an Excel spreadsheet. A maintenance log will help you remember when necessary tasks have been performed, as well as schedule required maintenance around game play. In addition, if you have any trouble with your field, you will be able to point to your regular maintenance schedule, if needed.



FOR MORE INFORMATION

Kromer Co. LLC: 800-373-0337
www.kromerco.com


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