Snow and ice are not harmful to synthetic grass pitches and generally should be left to melt and drain off the system without assistance. At times, however, it may be necessary to remove snow or ice to make the pitch playable for a scheduled event.
Provided that the foothold is adequate, the pitch may be played on when frozen, but heavy use is to be discouraged because the fibre is relatively brittle at low temperatures. The degree of shock absorption will also be substantially reduced and players should be made aware of this fact. The health and safety of the users should be the primary consideration.
There are a few different methods that can be employed to remove snow and ice depending on the situation.
Option 1 – snow blowers
If the snow is dry and powdery, it can be swept from the field using a rotary brush and/or PTO-driven snow blower.
Be careful that the machinery used is not set in such a way as to dig into the infill as this will cause material to be dislodged.
Ideally, the rotary broom should be set to leave approximately 0.5mm – 0.75mm of snow between the top of the surface and the bottom of the brush. The remaining snow can then be left to melt naturally.
If using a snow blower:
- The first pass of the blower should be made down the centre of the field, from goal to goal
- The second pass should be made at the edge of either side of the first pass and the blower must be adjusted so that the snow is deposited in the truck
- The blower then continues on down one side and up the other accompanied by the truck
- Finally, clean off the remaining snow with a mechanical broom
Option 2 – Rubber Bladed Snow Plough
As a last resort, wetter and more sticky snow can be removed from the field by using a snow plough with a rubber-tipped blade. This blade may be mounted on a light tractor.
Extreme care must be used to prevent digging the blade into the surface as this will cause material to be dislodged.
The best blade configuration is one that sets the blade above the surface (approx. 0.5mm – 0.75mm). This results in the blade ‘kissing’ the surface and rolling the snow ahead of the blade. The snow itself will maintain contact with the surface.
Wood, metal or other rigid surface blades should not be allowed.
If using a (rubber-tipped) snow plough:
- Remove the snow layer by layer
- Adjust the blade to the proper height, taking care that it does not make contact with the surface
- Push the snow into piles at the side of the field
- Scoop the snow into trucks using front end loaders
- Use a rotary mechanical broom or snow blower to clean off the remaining snow
- Break up any ice using a small weighted lawn roller
- Care should be taken so as to not remove or dislodge any infill
Note: It is recommended to use pneumatic tyres on equipment used when removing snow and ice. Lugs and chains are damaging to the surface and should never be used on the field.
Do not park equipment on the field overnight or for extended periods of time as this can damage the system. (Note that the equipment should not create dynamic loads that exceed 25N/ cm2 or static loads that exceed 0.15kg/cm2).
If the tuft begins to stretch or move with this process, discontinue the procedure.
In some cases it may be necessary to use a weighted lawn roller over the field in order to break up the ice. The broken ice can then be swept off the field. Generally, if the sun is out and the ice or frost is not excessive, it tends to melt rapidly, especially if players use the field.
In the event of excessive ice, there may be no other alternative but the use of chemicals to melt the ice.
Be very cautious using salt and ice melt on a field that will be used by athletes. These products can cause skin irritation and can also leave a sticky and slippery deposit that may discolour the fibres. Any residue should be flushed from the field as soon as weather permits.
If necessary you can use vacuum-dried salt which will dissolve quickly and melt the ice without harming the fibre. This de-icer is best used as a preventative measure and applied in advance of cold weather conditions.
If heavy rain falls on a frozen pitch, or the snow and ice thaw quickly, the field may become flooded. This is because the sand in the infill is still frozen and prevents the water draining. This is not a problem, as the field will drain properly once the infill has thawed.
Do not use common salt, rock salt, calcium chloride, ammonium nitrate, urea or other corrosive or toxic chemicals to melt ice on SISTurf surfaces. Their presence can be harmful to players and personnel and can damage equipment, and damage the turf itself.
If you need any further advice regarding your pitch, please do not hesitate to contact SISPlus maintenance and aftercare for help.
Arrange a free consultation today
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