McArdle Sport Tec’s 5 top tips for winter 3G pitch maintenance.
With the long, cold winter months looming, 3G pitches are fast becoming a popular alternative to provide a stable and safe sporting facility throughout the difficult seasons. An artificial pitch can be a costly investment and will need regular maintenance to keep it looking and functioning for many years to come. Compared to natural grass pitches the maintenance is reduced, but if your 3G pitch is not maintained correctly, you might find the surface looses it’s permeability resulting in flooding or damage.
We recommend that you take the following steps below and check your 3G sports pitch yourself on a regular basis to make sure there is nothing affecting the carpet. If any problems arise, it is important to get this fixed as soon as you notice it, to make sure that any issues to do not worsen and become more expensive to repair.
Here are our top five tips for 3G sports pitch maintenance this winter:
1. Think location, location, location
Before your pitch is installed, work with your 3G sports pitch designer to ensure it is built in the best position to protect it from the elements. Ideally your pitch would be situated away from any grassed areas that players, spectators and maintenance teams might need to cross before stepping onto your 3G sports pitch. This will help to reduce the amount of mud, debris and contaminants coming onto the synthetic surface and it will prolong the playing quality and lifespan of your pitch.
2. Be prepared for snow and ice
If it gets very cold this winter, snow and ice could stop you from using the pitch. Heavy snowfall can freeze the fibres and make them brittle, making the pitch risky for players to use. Unfortunately, once the snow has settled on the surface it is very difficult to move, particularly if it has been left for a day or longer. If the snowfall can be moved, then you will have to consider where to stockpile the snow until it melts and make sure that the essential rubber or sand infill is not removed in the process!
The easiest solution with heavy snow, is to accept that nothing can be done and close the pitch until it thaws and becomes safe to use. However, we do appreciate that this can result in cancelled fixtures and bookings and therefore loss of important revenue and possibly customers.
Preparation is key, and the more organised you can be, the better! If you know the forecast is predicting snow and ice, lay PDV salts on the artificial turf as an anti-freeze prevention measure. Pure Dried Vacuum (PDV) salt contains few impurities, so is less likely to cause damage or contamination to synthetic turf. Other products, such as rock salt or grit, should be avoided, once they have dissolved they could cause contamination and damage to the playing surface. Chemical-based solutions do work, although they can be costly and offer little in the way of residue life
3. Brush and treat
Cleaning your 3G sports pitch is very simple and it’s just a case of brushing it through to keep the rubber and sand infill distributed evenly. Treatments are also available to eradicate moss and algae. You might want to consider a deep clean if the pitch becomes dirty over time.
4. Educate your players
Let your teams and players know how important it is to look after a 3G sports pitch! McArdle Sport Tec can install team boot brushes if required; and every pitch we build as standard has an information board erected clearly listing the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’. Make sure the right footwear is always worn, no eating/drinking and no dogs on the pitch; read our 3G sports pitch maintenance for full details.
5. Get to know your pitch
Have a walk around your 3G sports pitch whenever you get a chance. Take a look to see if the fibres are bending over in places, or if excess infill is gathering around the edges. This could mean low infill/uneven levels on the pitch. This often happens in areas such as the goal mouth.