While artificial turf sports pitches require significantly less maintenance than the natural grass alternative, they still need to be invested in with a small amount of upkeep. The process of astro turf pitch construction ensures longevity and reduces the chance of damage to the pitch. As opposed to grass fields, AstroTurf is laid on a stone base, sometimes enhanced with tarmac, and is therefore far more durable to damage by football spikes and damp weather. The grass is made of synthetic fibres and therefore does not need water, reducing the pitch’s environmental and financial impact by reducing water expenses. It also does not need mowing and generally has few problems with insects. Despite this, to make the price of 3G or 4G pitch installation worth it, the pitch must be maintained to a certain standard.
Whether a football or synthetic cricket pitch installation has taken place, the turf must be maintained in order to function to the best of its ability. It should be brushed regularly to remove any damaged fibres and dust trapped in the turf. This also makes the pitch shine and grants it an aesthetic appeal, especially in professional stadiums. There are various methods of brushing that must be carried out and considered when choosing whether to go ahead with 3G or 4G pitch installation. Drag brushing lifts the artificial pile, making it more responsive and realistic. How often this must take place depends on how regularly the pitch is used. When a sports facility is used daily, the pitch should be drag brushed weekly. The other way of cleaning the pitch is by power brushing which pushes the sand deeper into the fibres while also removing the dust and damp to keep the surface clean. As well as brushing, it is recommended that AstroTurf be deep cleaned annually to remove moss, dirt and debris from deep within the fibres. This maintenance procedure is best suited to preserve the condition of the pitch at the time of sand filled hockey, tennis and synthetic cricket pitch installation.
Astro turf pitch construction includes filling the synthetic grass fibres with rubber or sand particles, creating a realistic bounce for the players. Every few years, the pitch needs to be infilled with more sand in order to maintain a uniform surface. It is imperative the pitch does not cause any unfair advantages or disadvantages for the players in different areas of the field. 3G and 4G pitch installation claims to make a game fairer tan natural grass fields as it does not have the irregularities an organic field can have and so, in order for this to continue being the case, the synthetic pitch must be levelled again by adding more sand. Surface repairs for concentrated areas of damage are also required.
Another element of the maintenance of a synthetic pitch is moss and algae control. Vegetation growth within the fibres can be a potential slipping hazard for players and so part of agreeing to have a 3G or 4G pitch installation take place is agreeing to partake in regular maintenance to keep it functional and safe. The weed growth is prevented by the appliance of chemicals but requires time to permeate the fibres fully. Astro turf pitch construction results in long, densely packed fibres, meaning the pitch will need to be closed for a small period of time so the weed killers can reach the base.
For many sports, the markings on the field are particularly important. These become more unclear over time and are rubbed away. With any football, rugby or synthetic cricket pitch installation, the lines must be re-painted after heavy use. It is recommended that the lines be replaced twice a year and applied during hot, dry weather so the paint has ample time to dry fully before the pitch welcomes the players back.