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Synthetic turf fields are grounds for more than athletic activities; they’re often venues for outdoor events. School districts use them for graduations, awards ceremonies, and social gatherings; community centers use them for entertainment, job fairs, conferences, and a whole range of other activities. These days, many people are more comfortable attending outdoor venues because they’re better at reducing rates of transmission during a pandemic than indoor spaces.
So, how can field owners and facility managers utilize their fields for large gatherings safely? We regularly hear from people who manage synthetic turf facilities with questions about the best practices and precautions to take. Here are seven crucial guidelines to follow to keep your field safe during non-sports-related events and gatherings.
Cover your bases before the big day. Certain activities or actions could void your warranty with your synthetic turf field provider. If you have concerns, communicate with your field installation company before your event.
If you need to set up a stage or more extensive structure for your event, we recommend utilizing two layers of ¾” plywood or a cover system to protect the turf. Refer to rule number 5 for added protective layer recommendations if refreshments will be a part of your event.
If you need chairs on the field (for graduation, etc.), they must have rubber caps on the end of the legs to avoid damage to fibers. Are you setting up tents or other large structures with poles? Secure ropes and poles with weights instead of stakes. Do not use stakes on your artificial turf sports field under any circumstances as they cause damage to the backing of the synthetic turf system. Survey your facilities and develop a turf-friendly plan before ordering these structures.
This mainly pertains to trucks and wheeled equipment during event set-up. We recommend that you do not drive large vehicles or heavy equipment on the field, including all vehicles with non-pneumatic tires or tires inflated above 35 PSI. While that is our recommended tire pressure, you will want to reference your synthetic turf guidelines and warranty to ensure you are compliant with your field warranty.
The best approach is to communicate this policy to visitors ahead of time and post signs at all entrances to the field prohibiting smoking and carrying food or drink onto the synthetic turf system. While our recommendation is to not allow food and drink on the field, we understand this can be hard to avoid with outside guests. If you believe refreshments will be consumed on the field, we recommend adding a protective layer such as a geo fabric or Visqueen under the decking system.
The turf is fire resistant, but it could be damaged by hot embers, sparks, or open flames. Melted and damaged turf sections will need to be replaced so take this into consideration when planning pyrotechnics for events or games.
Have your maintenance team inspect your field for damages to the surface, seams, logos, or inlays and to pick up trash and other debris immediately following the event. Once debris and trash have been picked up, conduct your regular maintenance and grooming practices. If you find in your inspection that your field needs repairs, contact our Motz365 Maintenance team for a rapid repair.
Routine maintenance of your field before and after your event ensures its longevity and ability to withstand the added stress of large, non-athletic events. Motz’s comprehensive Maintenance Manual for field owners offers best practices and other resources for keeping your field in great shape for as long as possible. You might also find our lists of field do’s and don’ts helpful, in addition to these recommendations. You will find all of these handy guides and more in our extensive collection of free resources and informational blog posts all about artificial turf care and maintenance.
Are you planning to host an event on your synthetic turf field? We’ll help you protect it. Reach out to the Motz365 team, our in-house synthetic field maintenance and go-to crew for all things turf care.
Learn more about Motz365’s comprehensive turf maintenance service here.