From highways to runways, parks to sports grounds, grass areas used by the public need to be protected from erosion if they are to remain even - essential in ensuring smoothly manoeuvrable thoroughfares and perfect playing surfaces. What's also vital is that they are absolutely safe.
Industry analysis by the Health & Safety Executive shows that almost a quarter of major slip and trip accidents each year are caused by people falling on an uneven surface - very often as a result of an obstruction in the ground. With public grass areas one of the most common of these obstructions are stakes. And what in the past might have been glossed over as a mere case of 'stubbing your toe' is, in today's compensation culture, a catalyst for hefty damage costs, Health & Safety Executive fines and crippling penalties on insurance premiums.
For many years' landscapers, groundsmen and erosion control professionals have used metal or plastic stakes to secure the turf and landscape fabrics, anchor netting and meshes required to maintain grass areas and prevent slippage during and after re-landscaping.
As metal and plastic stakes are non-biodegradable they need to be removed from the ground when they have served their purpose. In the case of public areas such as golf courses and parks, however, these stakes are frequently left in the ground for months, sometimes years, with the stake head protruding above the turf to facilitate removal. Just by missing a single stake turf management companies are in danger of causing serious injury, not only to members of the public but also to their own employees.
To deliver the level of safety now required turf managers are well advised to consider the new biodegradable methods of securing turf that are now available on the market. These fasteners, GreenStake® - are flexible, able to withstand harsh elements and, most importantly, naturally dissipate in the ground to remove any threat to machinery, the environment and individuals.
Protecting the environment
As well as providing a totally safe option, these new solutions also minimise damage to the environment - an increasingly pressing issue, not least because it affects the quality of the surface turf managers need to maintain. Freedom from conventional plastics is what differentiates biodegradable stakes and their plastic alternatives.
When you add the cost of labour to remove the fasteners when the turf has knitted together, and the risk of injury to people and damage to equipment - buying these types of non-biodegradable fasteners clearly becomes a false economy.
A pioneering alternative
The innovative breakdown mechanism of the eco-friendly stakes ensures that once driven into the ground they can simply be left to biodegrade over the space of two years (sometimes less, depending on ground conditions). Microbes found in the ground naturally consume the stakes from the moment of insertion, biodegrading into the carbon dioxide, water and biomass already found in the natural environment. However, GreenStakes will store until use, the biodegradation process only begins once in the ground.
The added advantage of biodegradable solutions is that they are specifically engineered to be better performers. The 'green' stakes are able to both hold their ground and bend where necessary. By combining larger, smooth heads with barbed ends they increase the area of holding force applied to fabric and turf, results in the 4" (10cm) GreenStake® with 45% more ground anchoring than 6" (15cm) staples and by doing so ensure netting and meshes remain firmly in place. There is also the cost benefit in using 4" GreenStake® in place of a 6" stake.
As health and safety regulations become increasingly stringent, and the drive to ban products that cause damage to the environment gains momentum, company directors and maintenance officials will be forced into improving working practices to avoid costly repercussions. The eco-friendly approach to turf staking enables them to do just this, whilst at the same time providing a more powerful and effective solution to erosion control.
With solutions like the GreenStake® readily available and affordable, turf management companies can now proactively take steps to protect the public, their staff, the environment - and their reputation.
'The GreenStake® turf ties have proved invaluable at Wilmslow Golf Club.In the areas that we have used them which include revetting bunkers and drainage work as well as any other area where new turf has been laid, the ties have worked extremely well in preventing turf lifting. At Wilmslow this has been a particular problem with birds (crows) lifting newly laid turf up - not any more!'Mr. Steve Oultram, Course Manager You can get GreenStakes®, in the Pitchcare Shop.