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.
When 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.