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The past April, I attended the Colorado ASBO conference and got the chance to talk with some of the members that are part of the Colorado SPMA, and one of the questions that came up was snow removal from artificial turf fields. The great thing about turf is that it can function throughout the entire year – rain, snow, or shine. The challenge is making sure the student athletes are able to play when there is snow on the ground. Members were frustrated by their current snow removal method – using a metal plow that tears up the nice turf and collect the tiny rubber pellets only to find them after the snow melts in a nice pile at each end of the field. This creates more work as they needed to rake and re-distribute the piles of rubber.
When I was in Minnesota a few weeks ago, I got the chance to sit with a maintenance director and in his office I noticed a picture of his year and a half to 2 year-old turf field. I asked him how he kept snow off the field. He uses metal blades on a truck, yet instead of scraping the turf with the sharp blade he cuts a gap in a piece of PVC pipe and slides it over the blade. Through making this simple and cost effective modification, he doesn't get the same amount of rubber collecting at the end of the field and also doesn't tear up the turf. The smooth PVC pipe still slides along the turf and does a great job lifting the snow up and off the field without gathering the rubber.
Has anyone else found another method of plowing your artificial turf fields? If so what has worked for you? and what has not worked?