The recommended maintenance routine for a sand-filled surface achieves four objectives:
- 1. Ensuring the surface keeps the correct play characterisitcs
- 2. Ensuring the safety of play on the surface
- 3. Removing contamination
- 4. Protecting the long-term integrity of the surface
It is recommended that a sand-filled pitch be brushed/groomed fortnightly, either by a specialist maintenance contractor or, if possible, by the on-site grounds team. For surfaces with shaded areas, over-hanging trees, and/or a high volume of leaf-fall, then weekly drag brushing might be more effective. A drag brush or drag mat is needed to perform this operation: hand-pulled drag brushes or mats are available for smaller pitches, courts, and multi-use games areas. For full-sized pitches, a mini-tractor or ride-on maintenance vehicle is recommended; either with the drag brush or groom fixed on, or towed behind. The principle behind drag brushing is that the sand infill is being evenly distributed across the surface - ensuring true play characteristics and collecting contamination early.
Synthetic surfaces, including sand-filled 'astroturf,' will in most cases require supplementary specialist maintenance procedures to run alongside the weekly or fortnightly drag brushing routine. The synthetic turf can become flat and compacted after time: in this instance a Power-brush procedure is needed to lift up the pile and penetrate deeper into the infill system. A compacted surface can present drainage problems and so Power-brushing will take place monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly on most sand-filled pitches.
Other specialist maintenance procedures include a Deep Clean - a procedure to remove, filter, and then return cleaned sand infill to the surface - or an Infill Top-up - a procedure to add more sand to the surface. On older surfaces that have not been properly maintained, a Rejuvenation might be required to remove heavily contaminated sand altogether and replace with an entirely new infill system.
The general maintenance routine for a sand-filled surface should be sufficient to remove most contamination from the surface. The tools required or recommended for the job would include a stiff brush, leaf collector, leaf blower, and drag mat. The stiff brush can be used to clear away litter and leaves from the access points, perimeter run-offs, and the pitch itself. Leaf blowers and Leaf collectors can be very useful for clearing bulk leaf-fall from the surface. The drag mat which is used for grooming the surface will also help to collect leaves and contaminants. The key to successful decontamination is to collect all possible contaminants as early as possible.
At times, the maintenance provider will also have to make provisions for the removal of moss and algae from the surface. These are contaminants which generally cannot be removed using a drag mat or leaf collector but can greatly affect the safety of the surface: moss and algae can make the surface and run-offs very slippery for players and must be removed. A herbicide treatment should be applied across the surface to kill off moss and algae which can then be cleared away. A course of herbicide treatments applied in dry weather can be effective for up to six months depending on local climate and surrounding vegetation.
A herbicide treatment should be applied across the surface to kill off moss and algae which can then be cleared away. A herbicide treatment applied in dry weather can be effective for up to six months depending on local climate and surrounding vegetation.
Looking for Maintenance on your Astro?
Our team are more than happy to provide information and advice for maintaining a sand-filled surface. Please feel free to get in touch to discuss a specialist maintenance service or a machinery purchase.
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