5 Things to Know About Maintaining Your Artificial Pitch

1. They Are Not Maintenance Free
I thought artificial pitches were maintenance free? Yes, that old chestnut. It's convenient to think that artificial pitches are maintenance free, but the only truth in this is that you don't need to cut the grass!

Artificial pitches are large areas exposed to the environment and are excellent filters for all the pollution and other detritus which falls from the sky or is brought onto the surface. In addition to undesirable materials being added to the pitch, the fibres or blades are subjected to a pounding by foot traffic using the playing surface.

All this adds up to a job to maintain the pitch. This involves removing unwanted materials and de-compacting the infill and fibres which make up the playing surface. Infill levels are critical here, as this medium helps to protect vulnerable fibres from flattening.

2. The Time Required to Maintain A Pitch Can Vary
How often do I need to maintain my pitch? This depends on the type of pitch and the amount of use it gets. For example, a small area of a five-a-side pitch can receive up to 20 times the footfall or a full-size pitch. Not only does this mean it will need more maintenance, but it will wear out more quickly. It, therefore, requires grooming frequently -- as a minimum, weekly. A full-size pitch used 35 hours per week should be groomed every two weeks. It's not rocket science, however, there is a lot more to it than just brushing.

3. Why Proper Maintenance is Critical

  • It cleans the debris, weeds and any other detritus from the pitch
  • It decompacts any infill to enhance safety and performance
  • It distributes infill evenly to protect fibres and enhance play experience
  • It grooms the fibres to make them erect
  • It repairs small issues with the surface such as seams failures, etc.

Click here to watch a video about turf maintenance.

4. It's Important to Use The Right Brushes, Kits and Tools

  • Brushes - There are many types of brushes and you need to select the right brush for the job
  • Drag Mats – These are useful for simply picking up debris and leveling infill
  • Tines – These are only used by expert maintenance companies but they are essential for decompacting infill
  • Leaf Blowers – Also essential for removing leaves and seeds
  • Weed Killers – A must to reduce weed encroachment onto the surface

5. It's Worth It
Why bother? Here are just a few incentives to motivate you:

  • It prolongs the life of the facility, thereby protecting your investment
  • It enhances safety and performance of the surface, which is important for user experience and to avoid costly litigation
  • It protects your warranty claims

Eric O'Donnell
Managing Director, Sports Labs Ltd.