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TURF TALK TUESDAY - Snow Removal

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Best Practices – Snow Removal – Part 3 of 3

Two weeks ago, we began a 3-part series in Snow Removal Best Practices in which we reviewed the list of recommended required equipment and things to consider. This week we will conclude the discussion.

undefinedWhen removing snow from an artificial turf field that is covered in snow, there are several pieces of required equipment, things to consider and specific guidelines to ensure the field is not damaged and the warranty is not voided. Listed below are guidelines to follow for the removal process.

 

 

Cover the Synthetic Turf Surface: Whenever not in use, and there is a planned winter use. Utilize a snow/rain tarp for this operation.

Snow Removal: The snow removal should begin as early as possible; snow should not be allowed to accumulate to a depth above 3 inches. The snow removal process can take hours and should be completed as early as possible before the use.

  • Dry Snow – Recommendations: Blower – Retrofit with ski feet – p.t.o. Driven blower attached to tractor. Never come in contact directly with the surface. This results in the removal of infill and could result in damage to the surface.
  • Wet Snow – Recommendations: Rubber tipped plow – Retrofit with ski feet. Never come in contact directly with the surface. This results in the removal of infill and could result in damage to the surface.

After Snow Removal: Once the snow has been removed to a minimum of ¼” from the top of the synthetic turf surface the following procedure should be followed:

  • Covered – Tarped: Once the snow has been removed to a minimum of a 1/4” from the top of the tarp, manually pull back the tarp. As the snow gathers into larger piles, remove the snow, and continue to pull back the tarps until the tarp has been removed from the surface.
  • Uncovered – Exposed Surface: Once the snow has been removed to a minimum of a ¼” from the top of the actual playing surface. The following procedures can be considered, listed in order of preference:

1. Let it Melt: Allow the snow to melt away in the sun, if time allows.

2. Infill Acceleration: Apply infill rubber crumb at a rate not to exceed 0.10 lbs. per sq ft. Allow the infill to sit on the remaining thin snow layer for a minimum of 30 minutes, then drag the field with the GreensGroomer Drag Brush as typically utilized to groom the field in the process of routine maintenance.

  • The black infill attracts heat from the sun (even on a cloudy day) and assists in the process of melting the snow.
  •  Allow the rubber infill to sit for a minimum of 30 minutes
  • Groom the field with a drag broom (i.e. GreensGroomer)

3. Brush Finishing: A rotary brush can be utilized to remove the final thin layer of snow.

Freezing Rain: A very limited amount of Ice Melt (Calcium Chloride based) can be utilized sparingly, as it can be a skin irritant to athletes. The removal or snow and/or ice should be attempted as outlined in the “Snow Removal Process” before the Ice Melt chemical is applied. Salt or Sodium Chloride should not be utilized.

Heating Systems: Incorporating a heating system in the initial design and construction of the field is the ultimate solution. Salt water and/or Glycol pipe systems are preferred. Contact Turf Consultants to investigate this option.

For more information regarding Snow Removal Best Practices, please email inquiry@turfconsultants.com.

TURF TALK TUESDAY - Snow Removal

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Best Practices – Snow Removal – Part 2 of 3

undefinedLast week we began a 3-part series in Snow Removal Best Practices in which we reviewed the list of recommended required equipment. This week we will continue the discussion in part 2 of 3.

When preparing and training your staff for snow removal there are many things to consider, including knowing the language within your warranty to ensure nothing you do will not violate and void it. Listed below are several items that will need to be addressed and discussed. The items outlined and recommended are Best Practices that should not void any vendor’s warranty.

VEHICLES: It is critical to ensure the vehicle utilized to clear the snow does not leak fluid of any sort. Any vehicle on the surface regardless of the season cannot leak – this must be tested prior to use.

TIRES: Chains should never be utilized on the surface. Deep tread tires similar to those used on tractors or loaders should not be utilized. Smooth tread tires are preferred. Proper inflation is required, or damage could occur.

AREA AROUND THE FIELD FOR SNOW: The initial design of an artificial turf field should allow for snow storage area on the perimeter of the field, preferably this area should be asphalt. A running track can be utilized for snow storage where applicable.

SURFACE WEAR: Plowing definitely wears the fiber of the surface, just like use. The fact is an artificial turf field is a large investment and needs to be managed by professionals and a proper snow removal process is just as important as the need for professional maintenance of the surface throughout the season.

TIME REQUIRED: Snow removal can take hours and needs to be performed with caution. Example with 6” of snow: With snow storage room around the field, it can take 3 hours to clear the field for play, if there is no access area around the field and the snow needs to be transported off the field it can take 8 hours.

VEHICLE OPERATION: Never make tight turns, only wide sweeping turns to ensure the blade/brush does not dig into the surface. Large sweeping turns will also reduce the torque experienced on the surface from the tires of the vehicle.

SNOW REMOVAL: Snow can be mechanically removed utilizing plows, blades, brushes, blowers, etc., but they must be modified to incorporate nonmetal (plastic/rubber) ski feet, that are adjustable to various heights.

The desired adjustment is ¼” above the surface. Ski feet are required on both ends of the device to ensure it never comes in contact with the actual artificial turf surface.

SPEED OF OPERATION: Speed not to exceed 10 mph. Slow, sweeping turns should be utilized to diminish the torque on the surface and reduce the likelihood of damage. It is important to govern your speed, if the speed becomes too high, the plow/ blower/brush could bounce and unexpectedly rip into the surface causing major damage.

FREEZING RAIN: When freezing rain is anticipated, the fields should be left covered with a tarp. Any snow on the field should be left until the freezing rain has concluded. It is not desired to have freezing rain directly on the field surface. Snow underneath will aid in the removal process.

EMERGENCY PLOWING: If the proper equipment is not available and the need to remove snow is critical a schedule 80 plastic pipe can be cut and placed over the blade of plow. A professional rubber tipped blade should be purchased immediately, and ski feet should always be utilized.

HEATING SYSTEMS: There are professional heating systems that are preferred over the snow removal process. A series of pipes can be designed into the field that can circulate either glycol or salt water under the field surface, keeping the surface warm and allowing for easy removal of snow and/or ice. This is always the best approach.

ICE MELT: A very limited amount of Ice Melt (Calcium Chloride based) can be utilized sparingly, as it can be a skin irritant to athletes. The removal or snow and/or ice should be attempted as outlined in the “Snow Removal Process” before the Ice Melt chemical is applied.

SNOW DEPTH: It is desired to keep the amount of snow build up to a minimum. Whenever possible the snow should be cleared before it gets to 3” in depth. Although a larger depth of snow will not harm the surface, it does make the removal process more difficult and time consuming.

SKI FEET: All blades, blowers, brushes, etc. should be modified to have adjustable ski feet on either side to ensure that they never actually come in contact with the surface. The adjustable ski feet should be utilized to keep the actual snow removal attachment approximately ¼” above the surface.

SNOW TARP: A snow tarp is very useful in that it can aid in the snow removal process and decrease the amount of energy and time required to make the field ready for play. Especially if freezing rain is expected. Any scheduled use should have the tarp placed upon the playing surface of the field to ensure usability when required. The minimum thickness is recommended of 20 mil.

SNOW REMOVAL PATTERN: It is preferred to plow, brush, blow in the direction of the roll layout (typically across the field). It is acceptable to plow, brush, blow across the seams but should be kept to a minimum.

PLOWING: When plowing, do not try and scrape the surface clean, doing so will result in undesired removal of the infill and could result in the surface being unsafe for play.

For more information regarding Snow Removal Best Practices, please email inquiry@turfconsultants.com.

TURF TALK TUESDAY - Snow Removal

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Best Practices – Snow Removal – Part 1 of 3

undefinedOne of the primary benefits associated with the investment in an artificial turf field is to extend the season by making the field available later in the fall and earlier in the spring. Snow Removal Best Practices require thought and investment in advance of the need for snow removal. The facility professionals will need to be educated in advance of the winter season to address the snow removal process and ensure the proper procedures are being followed so that your warranty remains intact and the surface remains safe for play.


Over the next three (3) weeks, we will provide information regarding recommended Snow Removal Best Practices. This week we will review the recommended equipment required for the snow removal process.

 

 

Snow Plow Vehicle

  • Smooth thread tires – properly inflated – no chains
  • Vehicle cannot leak fluid of any kind – test this in advance
  • Gator type utility vehicle is preferred – with winter cover and heat
  • Pick up truck for larger field
  • Nothing larger than a pick-up truck should be utilized

Plow Blade

  • 8 ft width maximum
  • Rubber tip must be retro fit to the blade
  • Modified with adjustable snow feet – ¼” setting is typical

Snow Brush Vehicle

  • Smooth thread tires – properly inflated – no chains
  • Vehicle cannot leak fluid of any kind – test this in advance
  • Tractor or another vehicle with a p.t.o

Snow Brush

  • Polypropylene brush – never use metal brush
  • Rotary brush – p.t.o. driven
  • Modified with adjustable snow feet – ¼” setting is typical

Snow Blower

  • Vehicle and walk behind models are available
  • Modified with adjustable snow feet – ¼” setting is typical
  • Smooth thread tires – properly inflated – no chains

Drag Brush

  • GreensGroomer Drag Brush is recommended
  • Optional: tines, finishing brush and magnet tow behind

Rubber Infill

  • 10,000 lbs. of rubber infill – recommended standby material
  • Stored in traditional liftable super sacks (2,000 lbs. per sack)
  • Same infill material as used within the field (sieve size, etc.)

Infill Spreader

  • Broadcast spreader – adjustable application rate
  • Application rate not to exceed 0.10 lbs. per sq. ft.
  • Vehicle cannot leak fluid of any kind – test this in advance
  • Smooth thread tires – properly inflated

Ice Melt

  • Calcium chloride based – use sparingly

Snow/Rain Tarp

  • Minimum to cover the playing surface
  • Storage cores for when not in use

Snow Shovels

  • Plastic shovels – never use metal shovels
  • Required for detail and hand work around the edges

Water Hoses

  • Hot Water Source – hot water is required to melt ice
  • Ensure enough length to access all areas of the field

 

For more information regarding Snow Removal Best Practices, please email inquiry@turfconsultants.com.

TURF TALK TUESDAY – Remediation



 

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The need for remediation of an artificial turf surface is typically a result of high Gmax values. High Gmax values are commonly experienced due to:

• High sand content
• Poor infill material quality
• Clay, sand and soil blowing onto the field
• Paint build-up from field markings and logos
• Excessive compaction – resulting from staging and other static loads

In extreme instances of compaction, the infill will need to be removed in its entirety and new infill material will have to be installed.

While there are other needs and forms of remediation, excessive hardness is the dominant circumstance that requires remediation.

Having a documented best practice for all forms of possible remediation is required to manage a synthetic turf field

For more information regarding remediation, please email inquiry@turfconsultants.com.

TURF TALK TUESDAY – Performance Testing



 

undefinedWhen selecting a synthetic turf surface, it is imperative the system you are considering has undergone third party testing. Vendors who have had their product(s) tested will be able to provide the results when requested. Ensure the test results that are provided are actually for the product you are considering.

There are 3 categories of testing: Performance, System and Fiber. Performance testing must be sport specific. Even standard shoe testing should be performed with sport specific shoes. Ball bounce, shoe friction, abrasion and Gmax are just a few of the relevant performance tests that can be performed on a sports field.

Performance requirements vary by sport. A list and description of nine (9) standard performance tests are listed below:

undefinedASTM F355-11 - Gmax Rating – Standard Test Method for Shock-Absorbing Properties of Playing Surface Systems and Materials


ASTM F1015-03 - Relative Abrasive Index – Standard Test Method for Relative Abrasiveness of Synthetic Turf Playing Surfaces


ASTM F2117-01 - Average Ball Rebound Height - Standard Test Method for Vertical ReboundCharacteristics of Sports Surface/Ball Systems; Acoustical Measurement


ASTM F1551-03 - Coefficient of Restitution (CR) - Standard Test Methods for Comprehensive Characterization of Synthetic Turf Playing Surfaces and Materials


undefinedASTM F1551-03 - Average Ball Bounce - Standard Test Methods for Comprehensive Characterization of Synthetic Turf Playing Surfaces and Materials


ASTM F1551-03 - Soccer Shoe Traction -DRY Standard Test Methods for Comprehensive Characterization of Synthetic Turf Playing Surfaces and Materials


ASTM F1551-03 - Soccer Shoe Traction – WET Standard Test Methods for Comprehensive Characterization of Synthetic Turf Playing Surfaces and Materials


undefinedASTM F1551-03 - Football Shoe Traction - DRY Standard Test Methods for Comprehensive Characterization of Synthetic Turf Playing Surfaces and Materials


ASTM F1551-03 - Football Shoe Traction -WET Standard Test Methods for Comprehensive Characterization of Synthetic Turf Playing Surfaces and Materials

 

 

For more information regarding Performance Testing, please email inquiry@turfconsultants.com.

TURF TALK TUESDAY – Field Maintenance

 

There are many misconceptions regarding artificial turf and maintenance. Many vendors will say that turf is maintenance free, which is simply not true. Yes, maintaining turf is far less costly than natural grass and significantly more predictable but there is still regular maintenance that is required.

There are two forms of standard maintenance for artificial turf: Grooming and Sweeping.undefined


Grooming:
The process of grooming a field is designed to stand up the fibers and level the infill. This procedure should be completed every 80 hours of field use. Obviously to be able to time this interval it will be necessary to keep track of the number of hours the field is utilized. 80 hours is just a suggested interval. Depending on play and other elements that impact the surface, the interval can be less or more; this is simply a general guideline.

undefinedSweeping: Sweeping is the process of removing debris and litter. Scheduling how often you need to sweep the field will be directly determined by the control you have over access to the field and the policies regarding what is allowed on the field. If you allow people to take food and beverages onto the field surface you will have to sweep more often than if you don’t allow any of these items onto the field surface.Basically, you need to sweep the field whenever it is dirty and when litter is present.

For more information regarding field maintenance, please email inquiry@turf-consultants.com

undefinedTURFconsultants is the ideal source for information regarding the synthetic turf industry. TURFconsultants provides consulting and engages in public speaking events as well as offers an opportunity to receive fact-based information and proven tools to assist in navigating the complexities of the turf industry.

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