When purchasing artificial grass, consumers often hear “low maintenance” or “no maintenance” in regards to their new artificial -grass lawn at home-. While this may be accurate for residential artificial lawns, prolonging artificial athletic turf fields are a much different playing field. The truth is regular maintenance must be performed so the field will look and perform -at its-best. One of the major components revolves around decompacting the infill.
Over time, regardless of infill type, a field will experience infill settling and compaction. The smaller the infill mesh size, the more the potential exists for compaction. The end result is a hard and dangerous athletic field. Any previous safety benefits disappear. Turf cleats are not as effective, increasing the chance for lower extremity injury and the resiliency is compromised increasing the chance for head injury. One regular maintenance routine can solve the issue though. Regularly decompacting the infill does a few things like:
- Lower the risk of injury
- Yields optimal field performance
- Preserves turf warranty
A closer look at decompacting the infill reveals its importance and highlights the points mentioned above. Prolonging artificial athletic turf fields is an exercise in diligence. Decompacting the infill is a regular part of the routine. Here is why it is important.
Prolonging Artificial Athletic Turf Fields Through Decompaction
Over time, a lot of water, dirt and debris pass through your artificial turf field. If not addressed, they will build up and compact. Bacteria can develop, further increasing risk. The infill will begin to deteriorate and compact. This is why it is important to decompact the infill frequently. Several steps and pieces of machinery are involved if compaction has reached a critical level. However, frequent brushing and aerating are good preventative maintenance. Below are descriptions of each.
Passing over your field with a brooming machine removes any surface debris. Things like dander, dust and loose dirt can be easily removed keeping your artificial turf athletic field looking its best. There is another benefit too. Passing over the field levels the infill, keeping the surface free of low or soft spots. This helps prevent injury during game play.
Regular aeration provides a major benefit to prolonging artificial athletic turf fields. Tines run through the field loosening the infill to prevent compaction. When artificial turf fields can breathe, resilient turf qualities maintain their integrity and better game play result. Aeration and brushing should be a regular part of routine maintenance for your athletic turf field. That still may not be enough. It is preventative to a certain degree, but regular use will yield some sort of compaction you will need to address. Look at the solution below.
Thoroughly Decompacting Infill for Long Term Yield
When infill is too compacted, deeper cleaning is required. It is common for athletic fields to get compacted due to their nature. Every athletic event deposits more dirt and debris on the field. This restricts drainage allowing the infill to compact.
Game Litter and Compaction
Prolonging artificial turf athletic fields through brushing, aerating and decompacting is great preventative maintenance. There are other things you can do too. You may be overlooking them in fact. Game and practice litter contribute to compacted infill.
After each use, remove any litter you see on the field. Look for paper cups or candy wrappers, hotdog or hamburger containers, anything left lying around. Paper is organic and will decompose, lodging deep in the yarn of your turf. The resulting thatch will create a drainage issue.
Water bottles are a huge culprit. If left sitting around, they can refract light from the sun, generating extra heat on the field. The best case scenario is the heat will cause compaction. The worst case scenario is scorched or melted turf. The easiest thing to do is simply remove them after each game.
Pay attention to regular wear spots too. For instance, goalies tend to remain in the same space for an entire game. During practice, use a practice mat to minimize wear and compaction. Also, be vigilant regarding any sort of plexiglass cover used for benches or containers. These can produce the same effect as water bottles, only much worse.
Finally, look for usual suspects. For instance, if you have trees growing near your field, Autumn is a time to remain diligent. Every leaf or twig that falls to the ground is a piece of organic material decomposing on your athletic field. This ultimately leads to drainage issues and compacted infill.
Failed Maintenance Could Result in Warranty Issues
In several instances, regular maintenance is required to keep turf warranties valid. If you are unsure, check with your manufacturer. Failure to adequately address issues could be costly. You don’t want to turn your warranty into an enemy.
Regular maintenance allows you spot and address potential problems before they occur. Your warranty may cover the cost of repair. So long as you keep your end of the agreement solid with regular maintenance, this should not be an issue. Any repairs not covered should be minor at best if regular field maintenance is conducted.
Artificial Grass Pros Can Help
We understand there is a lot of information in this post. Prolonging artificial athletic turf fields requires time and attention. If you are unsure whether or not your maintenance schedule is adequate, contact us. We provide turf maintenance and consulting for athletic fields across the greater bay area.
We can show you how to spot problem areas, help you craft a maintenance schedule, or perform maintenance for if necessary to preserve your product warranty. Decompacting the infill is a must for optimal field performance. It preserves both the integrity and lifespan of the product. Be diligent and stay true to your schedule. And again, if you need assistance, call us. We service all types and brands of synthetic turf fields.