A call came into the office a few weeks ago from a customer asking if we could go and inspect the artificial grass pitch at the university site in London, which had been damaged and subsequently repaired by ……………………… When we arrived, the customer said to us “It’s bad” ….. It couldn’t have been a more accurate description of the state of the pitch, and in all my years experience it must be the worst ever. The pitch was now out of use for safety reasons and was costing the university a small fortune in coach trips and pitch hire.
Many of these failures could have been avoided if the previous repairers had not tried to stick seaming tape to seaming tape without first keying the back of one one the tape runs to allow the adhesive to bond. It’s absolutely imperative that the repairers / contractors keep pressing the seams as they are curing if not they will lift and separate, where have I heard that before?
However we agreed to put things right and to this end we sent down three teams of men and machinery to completely cut out the failed joints including the old tape etc etc. and inserted brand new matching material and re-join it to the old pitch and make a safe playable surface again. The time taken? 180 man hours plus 130 sq m of new material and 100 kg of adhesives and hardeners.
Works completed and the pitch re opened, happy days, but it could and should have been avoided, if it had only been done properly in the first place. The lesson? use a contractor with experience in installing and repairing these types of surfaces.
From short pile tennis courts through to water based and sand dressed or filled pitches, the result is the same; everything was going fine then, one morning, the surface starts showing signs of sludge across the surface.
Simplified, the typical drainage scenario on a sand based pitch is as follows; for several years everything appears fine, and drainage is good. Suddenly, the drainage rates slow down and then, after a further year or so, the drainage fails. Water can’t percolate through the surface as it should; the organic contamination in the pitch floats to the surface, water then drains slowly through the lowest spots on the surface, leaving the sludge behind as dark coloured puddles.
Usually, with either a visual assessment or sedimentation testing, it is possible to determine what stage these surfaces are at in their lifespan, in respect of drainage and sedimentation. However, algae nullifies everything. Really rapid blooms can lead to temporary drainage failures, and this has the same result as a conventional drainage failure. Water cannot drain through the surface, even relatively small percentages of contamination can be flushed to the surface and leave the dreaded sludge puddles.
You can remove the sludge from the surface, but as with conventional drainage failures, as soon as it rains again it’s back! You can spray it with any one of the dozen or so chemicals available, keep your fingers and everything else crossed and hope that you have good results!
Moss and algae infestation can be a serious problem on all types of outdoor sports and amenity surfaces.
Failure to treat the algae and moss quickly can eventually mean that only a full refurbishment of the surface will restore the pitch.
Early treatment is essential with a safe and effective moss or algae killer
Moss usually has two growth periods during a year, the first in the autumn, after which the plant produces spores during the winter ready to germinate in the following spring. The second in the spring, when the plant produces spores again ready to germinate in the autumn, thus continuing the life cycle.
Algae is also a serious and potentially hazardous problem on artificial surfaces, particularly water based hockey pitches, as it can severely impede drainage, especially under the present UK weather conditions. If you can see moss on the surface of your court or pitch, you probably already have a significant algal infestation, as the two thrive in the same conditions.
Three easy to spot indicators of the presence of algae on your surface are:
1) a slippery surface
2) dark patches that vary in size
3) a players clean white kit becoming extremely dirty during a game, especially if they fall over
Algae should be treated promptly because of the potentially hazardous conditions it can create for users of the surface.
Try to prevent the moist conditions that favour the establishment of moss and algae by maintaining good surface water infiltration and drainage. Unfortunately, the moist conditions cannot be avoided on a water-based pitch.
Inspect the surface for moss or algae on a regular basis, and treat any outbreaks of moss or algae as and when required.
To treat an infected area effectively, it must be sprayed with a proprietary brand of Moss & Algae Eradicator. This can be applied using tractor mounted sprayers, walkovers and knapsacks at most times of the year, providing conditions are moist.
Spot treatments should be carried out as and when required during the rest of the year.
Sweepfast can offer autumn winter servicing to your surfaces, this may include; sludge removal from the surface, spaying the whole area with an algaecide, working the algaecide such as RBT247 into the surface and re-spraying the surface 7-10 days later, moss is best treated with MMC Pro Which has a fast working time and will continue to clean the surface for many weeks afterwards.
” Can I really clean the leaves, litter, other wind borne debris, bird poo!! from my tennis court in 10 minutes?”
Simply put the answer is certainly yes you can, and a 2 metre wide Cleansweep from Sweepfast is all you’ll need. These amazingly simple but effective tools have been around for years and still customers are finding out just how good they are. Initially they were intended to collect litter from asphalt tennis courts, which they do equally well, but it soon became apparent that they were perfect for sand filled artificial grass courts too, and now they’re finding a use on the old clay courts but also on the new generation of artificial clay courts to clean up the artificial clay and re-distribute it evenly.
As with all Aerosweep products they work so simply, you provide the forward motion and everything on the surface of the tennis court is lifted up by the fingers and dropped onto the grid. From here the sand will fall through and be worked back into the court, whilst the larger debris is trapped on the top and stays there until emptied.
In fact because it’s 2 Metres wide it will only take 8 or 9 passes to cover the entire court once, and as it only weighs around 6kg, and you pull it not push it, it really is very easy to use.
To empty you simply shake it off onto a sheet or in the gateway and 10 mins later when you’re completely finished, shovel it up into a wheelbarrow and that’s it done!!
But there is only one way to see just how good these tools are, and that is try it for yourself, visit www.sweepfast.com and type cleansweep in the search bar, or email us on email@example.com, or if in doubt call 0121 747 9255 and a technician will talk through whether it’s suitable for you tennis court.
But hurry up, the leaves are starting to fall………………………
With the huge amount of artificial grass surfaces now in use, and with more being installed every month an in house maintenance regime coupled with a professional contractor maintenance plan has never been so important. I know this works out as an unexpected expense but there really is no other option, and bad advice from poor quality contractors can be even worse. I’ll give you one recent example.
The recent spell of wet weather has brought home once again just how important maintaining artificial sports surfaces is. On a recent visit to a customer where the maintenance regime had simply been regular drag brushing. What is worrying is that more recently a “contractor” had advised that power brushing off the top surface and replacing a tiny amount of old sand with new would “revitalise” the pitch. But within one month the pitch had started to retain water once again, now rendering the facility totally unsuitable for use.
The only procedure to discover exactly what is going on beneath the surface is to take samples of the infill then return them to the warehouse and set about processing them. So after giving them this advice and at the request of the customer we took 9 samples from locations all over the surface, from high use areas to areas where there was very little foot fall. These have now been sampled and analysed and the results indicated that the contamination levels are way in excess of the standards for safe play, and the continuous free draining of the surface.
The conclusion of my report is going to indicate a spend in excess of £10,000.00 now to put things right, where if they had been given the correct information and acted on it the pitch would have still been playable now, with an annual spend of less than £2,000.00 and no loss of play and earnings.
It’s so frustrating in this industry that there are so much bad advice from convincing salesmen leading to spending money for the wrong reasons, with only one consequence, the customer has to eventually pay twice.
This is why at Sweepfast we pride ourselves in taking care to visit every site to assess its requirements whether it’s a small private tennis court or a university multi sports complex. We take every measure to ensure the advice we give is based on truth and not on assumptions, and we know then that we can rest easy.
For professional synthetic sports surface advise and service from the first site visit to completion of the works call 0121 747 9255 visit www.sweepfast.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Here at Sweepfast I get asked that many times, and while I can understand the reasoning that “no money spent on maintenance and deep cleaning is money saved, and the pitch still looks ok” even after 6 or 7 years, but one look at the dust, dirt and broken fibres removed , then another at the now revitalised pitch swiftly changes their opinion.
A 3g pitch will still look green after many years because of the nature of them, with only a small amount of sand in the base and half filled with rubber granules the fibres are left to fold over with foot fall. However underneath this green surface compaction and contamination still go on unseen. Add to this the fact that over time the rubber infill gets moved about creating dangerous high and low spots, you can begin to understand how uneconomic and unsafe it is to leave an artificial grass football pitch untouched for years.
I was recently with Sean Campbell Sports Ground Specialists in Northern Ireland at Mid Ulster Sports Arena, where they have a variety of pitches some of which are 3G and some have been down for up to 9 years with only drag brushing as their maintenance program. And to be fair the pitches looked reasonable except for the wear especially at the seams. And Sean wants to put into place a proper maintenance plan using the SKU machines from Hoerger that we would provide. Our brief was to prove the benefits of a deep clean service to all involved in the Mid Ulster Sports Arena.
We used the Hoerger SKU 1500 mounted on a Massey Ferguson 15/47 tractor and spent the day deep cleaning the main pitch with excellent results, as always. The contamination and broken fibre removed will assist with water drainage after heavy rain, the fine dust removed is airborne contamination, moss spores, dead algae and dead skin etc etc will have the benefit of cleansing the pitch, the rubber crumb will have now been de compacted giving a much better feel to the surface under foot for the players and it will also have been leveled out creating a more even surface, finally all the fibres will have been set upright again as at the original installation, the benefits of this are that there will now have been an increase in the depth of the pitch thus extending its life span.
To sum up the pitch now has an extended life, especially if this process is set in place as a regular service, it is also clean and free of broken fibre, dust, dead skin, dead moss and algae, and has regained the original feel as it had when installed.
How do you extract the sand infill from an Astroturf pitch? The most successful way to extract contaminated sand and the associated contamination from a sand filled synthetic grass pitch, or tennis courts is using a high pressure injection system to displace it to the surface for collection. Sweepfast has developed the Hydrofast System which utilises high pressure water delivered at a precisely controlled height from the surface to lift out the material and also to wash the fibres of the synthetic grass clean as it goes. The system is built around an Avant telehandler which travels across the surface at around 0.5 km/hr lifting out the material as it goes and leaving it in a line to be collected by the following machinery.
The results can be very dramatic as demonstrated with the Sweepfast Infill Contamination Test Kit, with a total contamination ratio of around 70.49% on an extremely badly maintained pitch we have reduced that down to 1.38% in just 5 days, see the two images below for examples.
To see more of this impressive system visit www.sweepfast.com or call 0121 747 9255 for a free site visit, assessment and quote.
Cleaning a tennis court to keep it safe for play has never been easy, and 550 sq m of AstroTurf to brush by hand is even harder. It does give the heart a good work out though and if you’re a fitness fiend it may be for you. But brushing a synthetic grass tennis court doesn’t do much for it except make it look prettier for a while anyway until the debris gets so bad that it starts to turn black and has moss growing everywhere. You can use a powered sweeper such as the Texas Handysweep, but if used incorrectly it will remove some of the infill material each time it’s used and this can be detrimental to the life of the carpet if left unchecked.
Since 2004 when Sweepfast was formed, the Cleansweep from Aerosweep has been the best selling synthetic grass maintenance machine available. It is simple, effective, light and easy to use, maintenance free and it doesn’t remove the sand from the surface, in fact quite the reverse, because as it’s used it works it back in separating the sand from the debris keeping it on the top of the Cleansweep where it lies until it’s emptied. All this can be done by hand with no powered input needed keeping cost and noise down!!
The Cleansweep will collect leaf litter, bird droppings, seeds, blossom, small stones etc etc from sand filled synthetic grass surfaces, and if it’s used on a larger surface say a hockey pitch it can be towed by a small tractor or quad bike to speed things up at speeds of up to 6mph.
By hand a typical tennis court can be cleaned by hand in about 10 mins, and a sand filled pitch cleaned behind a quad bike takes about half an hour. The Cleansweep doesn’t wear out and it’s made from weatherproof material making it the perfect choice to leave on site for everyone to use and keep the playing surface clean and safe.
Call 0121 747 9255 to arrange a free demonstration, or to make a purchase.
It’s not everyday a new product comes into this market that customers have been crying out for, but that’s just what’s happened with the introduction, by Sweepfast, of the ATC1400.
Interim cleans or Powersweeps on full sized 3G pitches are effectively done with the ATC2000 machine, and a full sized pitch takes about 2 hours with one man and a small tractor or quad bike to complete. But the problem comes when you try and get this service into 5 aside 3G pitches, with their smaller area and tighter access the width of a standard ATC2000 makes it difficult to manouver between pitches and getting into the corners is nigh on impossible. However with the introduction of the ATC1400 the reduced width and lighter chassis makes 5 aside pitch regular maintenance a breeze.
This new machine like its bigger variant will de-compact, clean and level up the infill on a 3G pitch all in one pass, the only input needed is a small tractor or quad bike to pull it at a reasonable pace (10-20 km/hr).
The rubber infill granules are lifted onto the reciprocating sieve by the forward motion provided by a tractor or quad, large particles of debris and fibre are retained and the cleaned rubber falls back onto the pitch.
48 x 3mm infinitely adjustable spring tines set behind the sieve relieve the compaction at every pass, these can be set to penetrate the upper most layer where the compaction occurs (10-18mm) and an adjustable specially designed brush is set behind that to leave the infill level and even, making for a safer cleaner playing surface.
The machine complete only weighs in at 46 kg so moving it around isn’t such a back breaking job, yet it’s still heavy enough to be solidly built. It’s constructed from powder coated aluminium, stainless steel and bright aluminium. It measures up at:
With winter here and all that pretty white stuff transforming our world into a winter wonderland (SHUDDER) and England grinds to a halt. Well the solution is here right now on your doorstep. From just a few pounds to a few hundred pounds you can be the proud owner of a Snow Thrower / Blower.
What is a snow blower? They’ve been around for years on the continent and in the USA and Canada where they’re used to this problem and tackle it head on. And now here in the UK with a relatively small investment no more than buying a lawnmower, you can now purchase a machine to blow the snow from the drive, or footpath or even a tennis court. These machines are called snow blowers or snow throwers and come in a wide range of sizes from small domestic snow throwers to large professional snow blowers and finishing off with the largest most powerful snow blowers.
The smallest can set you back a measley £95.00 whilst the large professional self propelled type ends up at still under £1,000.00 value for money or what? Power comes from a simple mains electric extension cable through to easy start petrol and diesel engines which can also be electric start.
Winter can have the habit of making normal life more difficult so why not take the opportunity to turn this round, harness technology and make snow clearing easy!