Maintaining frozen artificial pitches
By Sam Breedon
At the time of writing, here in the Midlands, the promised "coldest winter for decades" has not yet materialised. We have had some cold days and snaps of very sharp frosts but nothing prolonged. Applications of salt have managed to keep the artificial surfaces we are working on thawed apart from just one day when the temperature remained well below zero during the day.
On the subject of salt I know many facilities use this to keep artificial pitches open during the winter; only the purest types of salt should be used and then as sparingly as possible, cheaper rock salt type products should not be used. One thing I have noticed on a surface, in a bad moss situation, where we trial moss control products, is that salt applications seem to be killing the moss! I shall be doing some trials with a hand held salt weeder in the spring as soon as the low temperature can be taken out of the equation.
As well as not being desperately cold we are also seeing a fairly dry spell of weather which leads me to expect that the old adage of "February fill dyke" may well be true this year as nature has a way of balancing things out. I just hope that when we get some significant precipitation it arrives as rain rather than snow!! And as usual if we get some fairly heavy rain drainage problems on artificial surfaces will once again be to the fore and we will be back out doing emergency cleaning, brushing and scraping, This is only a very temporary solution just to achieve a playable surface in the short term, drainage failures mean very expensive refurbishments to rectify the situation, something which routine maintenance and diligent hygiene could easily stop happening with large cost savings during the life span of pitches.
One area that seems to often be overlooked is the drainage system. Twice within the space of a few weeks I have visited facilities with sodden surfaces both in low lying areas, expecting to find, as usual, that the level of contamination in the infill had stopped the drainage. In both cases the drainage outfalls were blocked solid. If the drainage on your surface is failing and you have organic/atmospheric sludge washed and pooling on the surface then that's an infill drainage problem. If, on the other hand, your pitch is sodden but remaining fairly clean please check the drainage outfalls, you could save yourself a lot of time and money !
Old Kingsbury Road,
Contact Sam Breedon Telephone 01675 470770
Web Site www.sweepfast.com