Maintenance Guide For Pitches

Causes & remedies relating to pitch maintenance

Objectives Of Maintenance

The objective of maintenance can be summarised as “maintaining the playing standard whilst maximising the life of the surface”. To develop a maintenance plan it is important to understand and recognise the main elements which conspire to denigrate the objective and develop practices and polices which achieve the objective.

Within the text that follows maintenance issues are described and recommendations of how to deal with them are made.

Contamination

Contamination is caused by two main culprits.

The carrying on to the playing surface of soil, mud, clay, grass cuttings, and secondly, stones on the footwear of players and spectators

This is often compounded by inadequately prepared access areas adjacent to the playing surface. Access areas should be solid with footwear cleaning facilities. Such ‘wipe off’ facilities should be cleaned daily which allows them to retain their ability. A build-up of foot borne contamination on the playing surface will result in poor drainage and compaction which can only be removed by expensive specialist treatment.

Prevention in this area is very much the best policy. It is recommended that non-essential personnel should be excluded form the playing surface.

Organic matter such as leaves, pine cones, pine needles and twigs must be removed prior to becoming compacted into the surface and allowed to decay. If not removed the result will be poor drainage, enhanced compaction and increased likelihood of moss and weed growth.

Surface Abuse

It is strongly recommended that the surface is a ‘no-smoking area’. A dropped cigarette will melt the fibres leaving an unsightly mark.

Chewing gum should also be banned. Removal is possible by freezing or chemical loosening but fibre damage is often the result.

Most stains can be removed with a solution of hot (not boiling) water and a mild household detergent. Oil marks can be removed with a cloth and mentholated spirits. The use of other chemicals may result in permanent fibre damage and should not be applied without the manufacturer’s advice.

Litter, plastic bottles, tin cans, glass, soft drinks and other foreign debris should be banned from the surface or, if brought on, removed when finished play. The playing surface must be clean!

Recommended Footwear

  • Moulded boots
  • Blades

Runners can be used by younger players, but where possible moulded boots/ blades are the ideal footwear- as runners can contribute to compaction of the infill

Regular Planned Maintenance

The importance of planned maintenance cannot be overstated. To be effective and meet the installer / manufacturers guarantee, it must be controlled, recorded and carried out with reasonable diligence using approved machinery.

When satisfactory planned maintenance is applied, the surface ‘always looks good’ and there is the inevitable temptation to relax the plan, on the basis of ‘is it necessary or ‘why are we doing it’. Once relaxed, deterioration is inevitable and often irreversible. Only by sticking to the plan will the surface continue to maintain the playing standard whilst maximizing the life of the surface.

The basic, regular maintenance tools are a triangular brush which is towed behind a lightweight vehicle.

Vehicles such as a quad bike, mini tractor or ride-on mower (with grass cutting unit removed), are suitable. It is advised to ensure that the vehicle track tyres are clean and there is no leakage of oil/ other fluids coming from the vehicle before use on pitch.

The triangular brush is fitted with special bristles designed to lift and disturb the top 5mm of infill while placing the minimal amount of stress on the pile structure.

This regular maintenance should be done on a monthly basis- dependant on pitch usage. (If more than 30 hours usage per week- then it should be done more regularly)

Leaf Blowing/Gathering

Leaf gathering and collection should be carried out as required, particularly during the Autum months. This is essential to avoid contamination in the infill. Where weeds do grow from wild seed blowing onto to you all weather surface during the summer months, this is again essential that they are sprayed early with a water based weed killer (Roundup). Stone collection and general maintenance will help the playing charasticis of your field.

Annual Maintenance

On an annual basis, Pride Sports & Leisure must be employed to do an annual overhaul of the pitch, for the warranty to remain valid.

This involves our company bringing in specialist equipment to compliment the regular maintenance that must have been carried out by the club/ centre throughout the year.

Our special groomers and thyne equipment get into the infill and agitate it to prevent the infill from compacting. The surface is then graded, again using our Max 1 rotary brushes

Our MAX 2 machine removes the infill, to a depth of 10mm, puts it through a sieve, removing any contaminants, and replaces the existing infill back into the carpet.

Finally, the pitch is graded again to ensure a quality finish – this maintenance, as well as in-house maintenance can add a further 3-5 Years onto the lifespan of the surface