It’s been a misguided belief that synthetic fields are maintenance free, when in fact all field surfaces require maintenance. Synthetic fields have a lot of variables in construction which make upkeep on each system unique. Planning calculated field maintenance plays a large role in providing a consistent surface, increasing the life of the turf and will reduce the risk of injuries to athletes.
Over time, usage can degrade fields causing infill inconsistencies, change in grade and flatten fibers which may result in a harder playing surface. These safety hazards can be addressed by closely monitoring infill levels, particularly in high wear areas. One condition to look out for is infill that gets moved around, or even tracked off the field, leaving low levels of protection on the turf. An area of displaced infill leads to ruts and creates a hard surface that can present a risk for serious injury in the event of a fall. The corrective action for this is to regularly brush the infill material to redistribute it evenly and consistently across the playing surface. Remember, maintenance scheduling should be based on amount of usage and type of use, but it is especially important to monitor those high wear areas during extensive peak usage periods.
Increased player safety and minimized maintenance starts with the synthetic field design
Synthetic turf fields can be installed over a crushed rock base layer, or directly over concrete or asphalt. The system can be used with or without a shock pad, and with or without infill. This often depends on the sport being played. Many athletic directors and field maintenance professionals prefer a shock pad to obtain consistent shock attenuation across the entire field. Particular attention should be given to specifying an underlayment shock pad, like ArmaSport® Turf Underlayment. Shock pads are available in several thicknesses and densities providing different GMax ratings, which in some cases do not require any infill to provide satisfactory GMax ratings. Underlayment pad can also provide wear protection for turf from the asphalt, concrete or rock base which can extend the life of the synthetic turf. This means the field will be safer from goal to goal even when infill is tracked off, and in the long run, increase the longevity of the system.