The market for artificial turf began with the opening of the Houston Astrodome, a fully enclosed stadium that was not conducive for growing natural grass, and in stepped the Monsanto Company, which had been developing a synthetic material that "looked like grass and acted like grass." With this new turf also came companies that invented machinery to maintain it and keep it clean.
Keep the Surface Clean
Any organic matter such as leaves or dirt should be immediately removed from the artificial turf. Playing on the littered turf breaks down the organic matter and allows it to be pushed down into the synthetic material. These smaller particles eventually will combine with the artificial fibres and restrict drainage. A powerful leaf blower is the tool of choice to remove foreign materials.
If water is allowed to remain on the turf, algae can form. A fairly inexpensive machine called the BowDry removes water at a rate of 60 litres per minute. Mounted on four wide rollers, this hand-powered machine uses a large absorbent roller that soaks up the water, then discharges it into a storage tank as it is squeezed out when it contacts a bar above the tank.
Several companies manufacture power sweepers designed to clean artificial turf. Powered by small gasoline engines, these sweepers employ a large synthetic brush mounted on the front that spins rapidly, forcing dirt into a rear-mounted container.
When the artificial turf becomes so dirty that sweeping may only further damage the synthetic material, the suction from an industrial vacuum may be the answer. Homeowners who are also golf enthusiasts and have installed their own artificial turf putting greens have the option to buy the YardBright TurfVac, a vacuum specifically made for synthetic surfaces. YardBright boasts a powerful electric motor that cleans even the most stubborn debris.
For turf that has been neglected and is especially dirty, a pressure washer may be the best way to try to save it. Several brands and sizes are available at do-it-yourself stores, some for less than £130. Cleaning detergents can be added to help break down the grime. Keep in mind that some artificial turfs have a base layer of sand at the very bottom of the synthetic surface, and pressure washing will probably remove the sand along with the dirt. After pressure washing you may want to use the BowDry machine to remove the excess water.
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