Sports Pitch Maintenance – The Importance of Using the Right Equipment

The key to effective sports pitch maintenance is using the right equipment. Here at Premier Sports Turf Contractors our expertise in grounds maintenance and renovation is backed up with state of the art equipment designed to carry out specific tasks quickly and accurately. For our clients, this not only means a higher quality, longer lasting sports surface, but considerable time savings, which can be crucial when getting facilities ready for key dates such as the start of a season or the beginning of a new term.

Here we look at nine key items of equipment and the role they play in sports pitch maintenance.

Graden

Scarifying is essential to renovating or maintaining an existing grass area at the end of any playing season. This would involve scarifying the whole area to remove debris (such as dead grass stems and moss). It also helps to break up the top layer of soil in places that have become compacted during the season’s play. The process involves exposing and disturbing the topsoil, so that fresh seed can be sown. Ideally, the grass area should be scarified evenly and to a consistent depth, so that the new grass grows evenly.

graden

graden2

KORO

Some time when thatch or the playing surface is that bad we use the KORO (pictured above). The machine can be adjusted to go into the ground at different depths, up to 25mm. A typical pitch will require two passes of the KORO, the first pass would remove most of the grass and then a second pass would clean up and remove any grass left, although more passes may be required depending on the initial state of the pitch.

Topdressing

After scarification we typically apply a top dressing to the sports surface, consisting of a mix of sand and soil. This would help to improve the condition of the soil, drainage and playing levels. It also helps with germination of seed.

topdressing

topdressing2

The Blec Multivator (pictured above), at Norwich City FC training grounds is a multi-use tool set to simultaneously decompact, aerate and recycle some of the soil to the surface. This is particularly valuable for sports pitches, which already have a good quantity of sand or other topdressing material within the soil. Using this tool means lower costs as top dressing does not need to be brought in; it also means a faster work rate as the machine does not have to keep stopping to be loaded up with fresh topdressing.

You can see our BLEC Multivator in action at one of our customer sites in this video:

 

Aeration

Aeration of a sports pitches is very important. This allows the soil to take in air which helps reduce black layer, root development and relieve compaction. Aeration also helps with water moment through the profile and away from the surface. Regular aeration helps to produce a stronger, more vigorous root growth. As well as improving the appearance of the turf, it also makes it better able to resist damage, as the grass becomes more firmly established. There are many ways to aerate the soil from verti draining, slitting, and groundbreaking to compressed air.

aeration

Laser Grading

When creating a new pitch it is vital to achieve a surface which is as flat and even as possible – literally, a level playing field! Moving quantities of soil around is extremely labour intensive if done manually, and it is also extremely difficult to achieve a really level surface working by eye.

laser-grading

To solve this problem we use a laser grader machine, which is drawn across the area and which redistributes soil using a laser guided control system to detect which areas are higher than others. Use of this machine, along with the Harley power rake, enables us to ensure a truly professional quality pitch for our clients.

Seed Drilling

Seeding an existing pitch is often necessary to repopulate worn areas or to reinvigorate an older pitch. The new seed needs to be applied in a specific way to ensure good germination and to minimise the loss of seed to birds or to the elements.

To achieve this we employ a mechanical seed drill, which simultaneously cuts and slits a line and then dispenses the seed. It then covers the line up with seed set into the ground. The seeder is set to the correct depth so that the seed is planted to a consistent depth, ideal for germination and even growth as well as protecting it from birds.

seed-drilling

Fertiliser Spreader

A spreader is used to apply a range of materials to a pitch, such as fertiliser, top dressing or seed. Using a mechanical spreader enables us to apply these products quickly and very evenly over the surface, in order to achieve consistent coverage. This in turn results in even growth of the turf, maximising the quality and appearance of the turf.

Spraying

Weed control is a significant element in ongoing grounds maintenance. Uncontrolled weeds can significantly impair the appearance and playing qualities of the turf. In addition, there are a number of common lawn pests such as chafer grub and leather jackets, which can do significant damage to a pitch if allowed to flourish. From time to time a pitch may require treatment with herbicides or pesticides.

To be effective, treatment needs to be applied thoroughly and evenly across the whole pitch. To achieve this we use a mechanical spraying tool which allows us to quickly apply controlled quantities of liquid over the surface.

spraying

Sports Pitch Maintenance – Find out more about our grounds maintenance expertise by taking a look at some of our case studies.

 
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