Sports fields, new maintenance techniques
A meeting organized during the last editon of EIMA International, held in Bologna last October, addressed the issue concerning the maintenance of turfs. Appropriate techniques are essential to sports activities and to reduce the risk of injuries
“If we were to put a garden irrigation system on a sports field, we would risk sending some players to hospital." The differences between the two irrigation systems were explained in a seminar organised at EIMA by Lino Piva, head of technical training at Toro Irrigazione. He showed how sprinklers that can be used in any garden could break the knee of a footballer who slips while trying to reach the ball.
"That's why in a sports field, not just a football field, the spouts that are placed in the ground, in addition to being buried, must also be covered with soft plastic. But the risks for a sportsman also come from incorrect water distribution. If an excess of water reaches one point on the pitch, the ground risks becoming muddy and causing athletes to fall while in full action. In the same way, a dry ground can cause sprains to those who, for example, try to twist their foot: the shoe could get stuck in the ground that is too dry, putting ligaments at risk.
However, it is not enough to adjust the irrigation system so that the water reaches the entire playing field evenly. Installers must also take into account the fact that climatic conditions are not uniform. Therefore, irrigation must compensate for these differences. If, for example, a football pitch is only partially shaded, less water needs to reach that part of the pitch than the part where the sun shines the longest.
In order to achieve these results, specialised systems are now digital and programmable. The Groundsman, or Green keeper, is a specialist role whose work is based on a plan drawn up specifically for each sports facility by an agronomist, who is also a specialist.