July 2015

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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L et's begin by acknowledging that synthetic fields are NOT maintenance free and have more characteristics of a natural turf field then is believed. No matter what anyone says, synthetic turf does require routine maintenance. Second, infill material will gradually disappear from the field as it is carried off by players, wind, rain, snow removal, routine mainte- nance, equipment tires, etc., and since it is a crucial element of a synthetic field, miss- ing infill will need to be replaced. REPLENISHING INFIELD MATERIAL Most synthetic turf sports fields lack adequate infill material (whether the infill is all crumb rubber or a rubber/sand mix). On average, an athlete or end user will carry off two to three pounds of infill material during a playing season. Without infill support, the turf fibers bend over too far under traffic and then break off pre- maturely. Also, ultraviolet rays from the sun are extremely damaging to synthetic fibers. By maintaining a proper amount of crumb rubber, you can help prevent the fibers from folding over, which minimizes the amount of each fiber that is exposed to the sun and reduces fiber breakdown from ultraviolet rays. To calculate your field's infill- replacement needs, you first need to first determine how much infill your field cur- rently has. Measure the amount of crumb rubber in a variety of locations within the field boundaries (there are several tools you can use to this and most are easy to find; a 3-legged measuring device is rec- ommended and your turf manufacturer can assist in where to purchase, or you can use a Starrett gauge, depth gauge or some- thing as simple as a pen or pencil with a tape measure to determine how much infill is in the turf). If your turf is 2-1/4 inches tall and 26 SportsTurf | July 2015 LATEST RECS FOR MAINTAINING SYNTHETIC TURF FACILITY & OPERATIONS ■ BY JIM CORNELIUS, CSFM IMAGE ©ISTOCKPHOTO/MICHAEL KRINKE

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