Snow Removal from Synthetic In-Filled Systems
by Steve LeGros
There are a couple of options that can be used to successfully remove snow depending on the situation.
Option 1. If a rain tarp is available tarping the surface allows you to remove the snow AS SOON AS IT BEGINS TO FALL with large OLATHE p.t.o driven blowers attached to a tractor. The snow has to be a dry snow for this to work. If it’s a wet snow you can then remove the snow by using Gators with rubber tip plows. Once again, do not allow the snow to ACCUMULATE TOO MUCH BEFORE BEGINNING REMOVAL.
Option 2. Plowing uncovered surface with pickup trucks/gators works fine, but you have to retro-fit the plow blade. Here’s how.
- Hardware needed: long lag bolts, washers, and nuts. One 2x4x8 or 4x6x8 lumber.
- I remove the snow shoes from the plow. I then take a 2x4x8 or a 4x6x8 or what ever you find that will keep the blade from coming in contact with the surface.
- Drill the wood to allow for a lag bolt head to recess flush with the bottom of the board. Place a washer at the head of the bolt. Run the lag bolt thru the snow shoe ring on the back of the plow. Add washers above and below the bolt as you would with the snow shoe spacers and attach the nut.
WHEN PLOWING do not try to scrape the surface clean. Doing so will result in the removal of crumb rubber. Drop the plow to the surface and then raise it slightly. Leaving a ¼ inch of snow is what you want to achieve.
After the snow has been removed, spread ice melt or black crumb rubber over the field. Allow this to sit 20–30 minutes and then run the field groomer over this last bit of snow and it will quickly dissolve.
Option 3. Snow blowers work. Remember to NOT SCRAPE IT CLEAN. Leave a ¼ inch of snow for this option, followed by an application of ice melt or rubber. BE VERY CAUTIOUS USING ICE MELT ON A FIELD THAT WILL BE USED BY ATHLETES. THE ICE MELT CAN CAUSE SKIN IRRITATION, USE ICE MELT SPARINGLY, CALCIUM CHLORIDE IS PREFERRED OVER SODIUM CHLORIDE BUT CRUMB RUBBER IS PREFERRED OVER ANY TYPE OF SALT.
Don’t be to concerned with plowing against the seams of the turf. As long as you’re not scraping it clean and take your time, it will be fine. If you try to cowboy the removal and the plow begins to bounce it could get ugly.
If a large amount of snow is called for, keep after it as soon as there is an inch of accumulation and keep repeating throughout the storm. If the field is to be used in early spring (April), try to keep after it throughout the winter. It’s much easier than removing 3 feet of snow in the middle of March.