Maintaining hybrid grass

A frequently
asked question is whether hybrid grass is more difficult or expensive to
maintain than natural grass? As with natural grass, some essential maintenance
steps must be undertaken routinely and seasonally to ensure the hybrid grass
surface remains at its best.

GrassMaster hybrid grass consists of natural grass that is reinforced with polypropylene fibers. Hybrid grass better resists wear and tear than natural grass. It recovers better from wide temperature shifts and weather variations. It’s also more suitable for the demands of multipurpose venues that switch between sports and other types of entertainment events.

A properly maintained hybrid grass surface can remain stable and
divot-free for its 15-year lifespan.

Routine maintenance

An appropriate routine maintenance program must be implemented
following installation and seeding of the hybrid grass pitch. Once the surface
is established, the grass must be regularly mowed with pedestrian cylinder and
rotary mowers. Fertilizers are recommended in a combination of quick-acting and
controlled release formats, supplemented by liquid feeds as appropriate. As
sand-based constructions are particularly prone to fungal diseases, an
appropriate fungicide must be used both preventatively and curatively.

Pesticides may be applied as and when required to treat specific
pest problems. The surface should be routinely irrigated to sustain grass
growth, cool the surface during the day and fine-tune the playing surface. To
sustain rootzone condition and further adjust the playing surface, operations
such as solid tine spiking and verti-draining may be required. Finally, routine
laboratory analysis of the rootzone and irrigation water should be implemented
to ensure grass growth is optimized. Specific maintenance programs will vary
based on climatic conditions and will need to be developed on a pitch-by-pitch
basis alongside a pitch consultant, agronomist or manufacturer’s

Seasonal preparation

Hybrid grass must be prepared seasonally to sustain the playing
surface’s performance characteristics. A specialized machinery and 7-day
program have been developed to facilitate this process. Following this, a
further 7 to 8 weeks are required to reestablish the sward prior to bringing
the pitch into play for the season. A suitable window must be allowed annually
for this important operation to be undertaken.

The seasonal program’s objective is to remove all accumulations
of organic debris from within the rootzone surface, reinstate any minor loss in
surface level and reestablish a sward of the required species composition.
These steps include applying herbicide to desiccate the sward, raking the
surface, as well as gathering and vacuuming grass and organic debris. The
surface levels can then be smoothed out with a fixed tine rake. About 60 to 90
tons of sand topdressing are then applied and integrated with the rake. To
enhance drainage a verti-draining procedure can be undertaken. Finally, to fill
in any bare spots, the surface can be overseeded.

Maintaining a hybrid grass surface is not any harder than maintaining natural grass. It is a very similar process except that the hybrid grass will support and prolong the lifetime of the natural grass roots, preventing wearing and tearing. – Fabio Travaini, Director and Product Development Manager, Tarkett Sports GrassMaster Solutions