The new football season has just begun and for some, playing on an all-weather surface like Astroturf is the only way to guarantee a game, week in, week out.
With the unpredictability of British weather, many natural grass pitches in local parks or playing areas aren’t created with drainage in mind. Especially for the Sunday pub teams or the kids’ clubs. There are a few teams around these days, that, if the budget has allowed have invested in the hi-tech 3G and 4G pitches. These are much more durable and suitable for use in a host of weather conditions without any problems occurring with the playing surface.
What is Astroturf?
This might well be a question worth answering as it isn’t a word we see used as much in the UK now as we did before. To put it simply, Astroturf is an artificial surface predominantly used in sports.
It originated in the USA in 1965 and was the name of a company set up by two American entrepreneurs. They created the product as a grass substitute but gave it the rather unmarketable name of “ChemGrass”. Soon after they felt that the name Astroturf might generate a little more interest.
Their product rose to popularity fast, especially after they laid the surface for the appropriately named Houston Astros baseball field.
Where in the past the fields were largely a painted dusty mess which slowed the game somewhat, Astroturf revolutionized the game. It became faster, more entertaining and instantly the crowds grew. Games wouldn’t be rained off and the sport was a lot more free flowing. Other sports saw this as a worthwhile investment and soon took it on board.
Strong, durable, and filled with sand, this form of artificial lawn was created to be used for areas of high footfall as well as sports pitches.
What type of sports use Astroturf?
Today, Astroturf is predominantly a sports surface. You are likely to find it in:
And many others. Many though have started to invest in the next level of pitches which are much more durable. Those you see labelled as 3G or 4G for example.
How do I look After My Astroturf?
If you use Astroturf for your team, there are a few things you will need to stay on top of to ensure it stays at its best possible quality.
Ensure it is laid correctly
Astroturf is like a big sheet of fake grass and just like when you put a sheet on a bed or a cloth on a table, creases can appear. Ensure your playing surface is clear before having the Astroturf laid. Then make sure it is rolled flat and pulled tight. Creases and bumps will cause an uneven playing surface.
Keep an eye on the weather
Whilst Astroturf is meant to be all-weather, a heavy downpour can lead to pools of water accumulating. Drainage isn’t one of the best features of Astroturf so a sweep of the pitch surface before kick-off would be useful. You may also need to do the same at the end of the game too. Especially if it has rained during play.
Spread out the sand
The sand that helps make the Astroturf surface what it is can often clump together through the vigorous use of the pitch. The surface, whilst green in colour, does not have the same depth as real grass or even artificial grass so there is nowhere for the sand to sink in. Some of you may remember doing a sliding tackle on an Astroturf pitch. The cuts and grazes that end up embedded with sand….they hurt! So where possible sweep the accumulation of clumps so the sand spreads.
Cover when not in use
Where possible, laying a pitch covering over an Astroturf pitch can be useful. If you have bad weather overnight, you remove the risk of those water pools we spoke of earlier.
Check the joins
Depending on the size of the surface, your pitch may be made from multiple sheets of Astroturf. These should hold firm, after all, Astroturf was created with high footfall in mind, however, if a section comes loose, you can find a massive trip hazard causing serious injury. Assess the joins before and after each match or session.
Is there an alternative to Astroturf?
You probably noticed earlier we referenced 3G and 4G pitches and these are a fantastic option. The level of maintenance is greatly reduced, and the quality is exceptional.
At The Sussex Artificial Grass Company, we use a product called Easigrass. It is suitable for all weather, all sport and requires next to no maintenance. In addition, the perforations within the product allow for drainage into the soil so you don’t run the risk of any random flood patches.
There are also different styles which means you can cultivate the surface to your needs without having to go for a generic artificial grass type.
If you are looking to lay a sports surface or have an old Astroturf that has perhaps seen better days then get in touch. Our expert team can advise you on the best surface for your artificial sports pitch. We can conduct a site visit if you prefer, and then when you are ready, have a quote produced. Upon agreement, we can then have our skilled professionals convert your pitch into something long-lasting, and perfect for your next match!
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