3 Ways to Remove Leaves From Your Field (Without Damaging Your Turf)

10/29/2021

Autumn leaves falling is always a welcome sight — unless where they’re falling is your synthetic turf field. 

This time of year can be a tricky one for athletic directors and other stewards of artificial turf fields. As leaves rapidly accumulate on the ground, you’ll need to remove them in order to keep your field usable. But how can you keep your turf free of leaves without running the risk of damaging the turf itself? 

Below, we walk through everything you need to know about keeping your synthetic turf in tip-top (and leaf-free) shape at this time of year.

Why remove leaves from your turf? 

Although artificial turf is, in general, extremely low maintenance — considerably more so than natural grass fields and lawns — for the few-week period in autumn that sees the most leaves fall, some TLC is needed. 

That’s because, beyond turf needing to be leaf-free in order for its surface to be playable, leaves and twigs that have fallen onto the field can block the small holes in your turf’s backing. That can create issues with your turf’s drainage abilities, leading to standing water and even a crumpled turf surface. To keep your turf healthy and its fibers looking their best, it’s wise not to let leaves pile up come fall. 

Removing leaves from turf: 3 tools you’ll need

Thankfully, clearing your turf of leaves and other debris doesn’t need to be an overly complex task. All in all, it should only take an hour or two to finish the job, depending on the size of your field, and it can function as a good excuse to get a little fresh air, too.

Before removing any leaves, you’ll want to first walk through your field and pick up any larger debris, like branches and bigger sticks, by hand. Once this more sizable debris has been cleared, you can move onto all that (former) fall foliage. For that, there are a few tools you’ll need — here’s what to use, and how to use it:

  1. Rakes

Same as you would with a natural grass lawn, leaf-laden turf means it’s time to get to raking. Steer clear of heavier metal rakes, though, as they’re more likely to cause turf damage. Either a lightweight plastic or bamboo rake with curved tines will do the trick. You could buy a rake made specifically for artificial turf, too, with synthetic grass-sensitive nylon tines. 

Alternatively, a simple push broom can be used, although rakes are especially useful for getting the leafy gunk out of turf. Similar to brushing, a rake also helps your turf’s individual fibers stand their tallest — and that’s good not just for aesthetics, but for keeping your turf performing better for longer. 

Once you’ve raked the leaves into piles, you can bag them up and call the city to collect them. Or, for a greener alternative, let the leaves naturally decompose in an off-field garden or landscaping bed. While some may see burning leaves as common practice, be warned this isn’t advisable for the health of you or the environment. 

  1. Leaf blowers

Leaf blowers promise to make the job quick. However, they’re only considered a good option for leaves that are totally dry. After rain, or even as the result of morning dew, the leaves on your field will stick and clump together, making them difficult to remove with a blower. 

If you’re working with leaves that are fully dry, be careful to keep the blower at a distance of about 12 to 18 inches above your turf surface. That’ll help avoid any potential infill migration; similarly, keeping your blower on the lowest setting is a good idea. 

  1. Grooming brushes

Once the heftier bulk of your leaves and debris have been removed by a rake or blower, a grooming brush is perfect for finishing the job. Brushes carry the added benefit of perking up your turf’s individual fibers. Particularly for fields that receive a high amount of leaf fall, that can help keep both your turf and infill from becoming compacted — and it’ll keep your field looking its very best, too.

Artificial Sports Turf Services with Motz365: Getting an expert to do it

Making a DIY-go of things is great. But there may be times when you’d prefer to outsource the job to an expert.

Our Motz365 service keeps synthetic fields in optimal playing shape, no matter the season. More than just a maintenance program, Motz365 offers total protection and an under-24-hours response time. Designed to deliver a deep, thorough clean, the Motz365 program will give your field a total refresh, complete with detailed grooming — and that includes the removal of unwanted leaves and debris.

Ready to get your field in pristine playing condition? Get in touch with the Motz365 team today.

Cleo Montgomery

Need to Remove Leaves From Your Synthetic Turf?

If your field is covered in leaves and you don't know where to start, reach out to our Turf Care Experts to advise you on the best practices for removal OR to schedule your annual Condition visit and allow our trusted technicians do the job for you.

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