December 12, 2022

How to maintain sports pitches this winter

Frozen pitch maintenance

Winter is always a difficult time for the people responsible for sports pitch maintenance. Whether you are looking after pitches for a professional club or a community team, the season creates new pressures for football pitch care. Even in this darker, colder season, fixtures do not stop, meaning that your football pitch turf must keep up with these shifts. Maintenance teams are tasked with maintaining, preparing, and repairing a space central for both amateur and professional athletes. As training and matches continue, a healthy pitch improves both the quality of sport played and contributes to a reduction in player injuries.

So how do you make sure your team receives the football pitch maintenance they deserve? Let’s start with the basics. The same duties you performed while maintaining your pitches in warmer weather cannot be neglected. This includes keeping the grass cut and the pitch presentable. This will promote growth and improve airflow around the turf. Other things to remember is to brush and lightly spike the grass regularly. Properly understanding the lifespan of your surface, based on age and rate of use, and developing an efficient service schedule is also important, especially when your pitch is exposed to the elements.

Regarding proper winter maintenance, good drainage is essential during these extremely wet months. Drainage systems allow water removal surface to prevent flooding. To improve drainage, ‘sand slits’ can be used to link drain runs. Football pitch care might struggle during winter and conditions may ultimately lead to match disruptions. Using ‘aeration’ breaks up compacted surfaces, allowing oxygen to enter and undesirable gases to escape. Ordinary pipe drainage can be adequate, but if surfaces compact during winter, water will not reach the drainage pipes quickly enough to improve the quality of the surface. An aeration programme can make all the difference.

Once drainage and aeration are complete, top dressing can be applied. Sand top dressing helps retain pitch permeability and a firmer surface. As part of a programme to maintain a football pitch turf, take and analyse soil samples to ensure the correct fertilisers and dressings are used. The amount of work still depends on the exact time of year and the amount you are able to pay for maintenance. Therefore, a budget should be devised alongside your maintenance schedule with quotes and records of any necessary bulk purchases and machinery hire. Poor planning can often lead to costly long-term mistakes.

Whether you’re an independent contractor or an onsite maintenance staff dealing with a natural soil or AstroTurf sports pitch, there is no reason to let and many ways to avoid letting the winter weather ruin the place where people go to exercise, have fun, and be part of a team.

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