Friday, October 30, 2009

The Sounds of Autumn

Yesterday from dawn to dusk the sounds of autumn were deafening. Along with the mulchy smells of mushrooms and damp leaves, the beautiful sight of golden branches and bright red foliage, a third sense is activated: the whine-y buzz of leaf blowers at work. On a clear day, when the rains have finally let up, people burst out of their houses intent on a single purpose: ridding every square inch of debris.

As a park concept, the idea of a mow-free, blow-free zone has a lot of appeal to me:

Perhaps a park could remind us that some of us just like to hang out and watch the grass grow...

A lot of people think that the synthetic turf requires no maintenance, or that the costs involved in upkeep are not as high as maintaining a natural grass fields. However, "A task force put together by the National Sports Turf Managers Association addressed maintenance issues in their lengthy November 2008 report. Based on their findings, a typical cost to maintain an average synthetic field was approximately $6,000 per year in material costs (not including equipment) and requires 375 man hours per year to maintain.

The primary cultural practice for a synthetic surface is grooming. To maintain a uniform surface with an infill system the field will need to be swept and dragged on a regular basis. Depending on use, this may be required once a week to once a month. It is important to follow manufacturer’s recommendation on grooming because it can cause excessive wear and inappropriate grooming may void your warranty. Equipment needed include something to groom the surface, usually a nylon-bristle bush, and a drag to stand fiber up and to distribute the crumb rubber.

Infill material (required with new synthetic turfs) will also need to be added on an annual basis. A field will need 1 to 7 tons of rubber added yearly. Note it takes about 20 tons of crumb rubber to get ¼ inch. Topdressing equipment will be necessary in the reapplication of crumb rubber. Vacuums and leaf blowers can be helpful to remove some debris (e.g., sunflower seeds and peanut shells), but in many cases, debris may need to be removed by hand since these implements may also remove/move infill."

Read "To Turf or Not to Turf" here

Read more about STMA here


T. Clear said...

I was just thinking this morning, while out walking, of the human need to clip and trim every damn speck of landscape surrounding our houses, and then some. There is so much beauty in tall grasses
and a circle of bright red leaves under a wind-scoured maple.

RobinB said...

well-said, missy!