Alan Horgan, landscape services co-ordinator for the university, is based at the main campus at Clifton. He and the team tend to five natural pitches, five tennis courts, a sand-dressed synthetic pitch and a 3G synthetic pitch. The pitch is one year old and sees an average of 76 hours playing time per week.
The team's kit includes the Brush-Pro, SSS1000 sweeper and Zig-Zag brush for all synthetic surface maintenance. For natural pitches they use a SISIS Maxislit – a tractor-mounted deep-slitting lawn aerator for the university's football, rugby and cricket pitches - and the Supaturfman, an independently-powered heavy-duty aerator.
The Brush-Pro ride-on system consists of a pair of mid-mounted oscillating brush units for periodic aggressive maintenance and foldable rear mounted brushes spreading 3 metres for more regular maintenance, which means fewer passes are needed compared to more conventional drag brushing, causing less surface compaction.
Horgan said he believes the maintenance of synthetic turf pitches is just as important as the maintenance of natural pitches.
"It's a different type of maintenance - probably more intensive to be honest, because you have to keep at it little and often. Yes, you are not applying products such as fertilisers and pesticides, but if you don't keep an eye on the rubber crumb levels then it just sits on the surface and just sticks – you won't achieve that nice finish."
Failure to regularly remove dirt, leaf debris and other detritus from a synthetic surface can lead to contamination of the infill, which in turn prevents rainwater from draining freely through the carpet.
"The SISIS Brush-Pro gives a nice even distribution of the rubber crumb. You can use it with the oscillating brush underneath, and so if you just need to give it another vigorous brush then you can. Alongside the Brush-Pro we also use the SSS1000, mainly in autumn to collect leaves."