Infill Placement & Moisture
Precipitation (rain, snow, sleet, or hail) can wreak havoc on your synthetic turf putting green installation. Have you heard the saying “fail to plan, plan to fail”? If you are intending to place infill into putting green materials that have any moisture within them, it will have an adverse effect on the way the ball rolls and Stimpmeter speeds. Sending your teams out to install infill when there is a chance of precipitation will cost you time, money, and lots of frustration.
When moisture meets synthetic turf fibers, it sticks to the fibers and prevents infill from dropping into the base of the synthetic turf. Moisture can prevent infill from doing its job. Placing infill when synthetic turf fibers are wet is like trying to get beach sand off your feet when you leave the beach.
Successful synthetic turf contractors stay up-to-date on future weather patterns. I recommend checking your local weather prior to any synthetic turf installation, especially putting greens. Download the NOAA National Weather Doppler app to ensure that you save yourself and your team the hassle of placing infill into wet turf.
I have three weather apps on my phone, and they are one of my best tools in my toolbox.
Placing infill when synthetic turf fibers are wet creates issues that will cause failure within your entire installation. Below are just a few:
- Prevents Ballast – The infill will stick to the fibers, preventing them from dropping to the base of the turf and weighing down the turf system. Ballast gives stability and longevity to synthetic turf systems.
- Trapping of fibers – If the fibers are wet, the infill will bunch up and trap fibers causing large sand pockets.
- Voids – When synthetic turf is wet, infill will not drop evenly and/or to the bottom of the turf system and will create voids which may cause premature wear and/or matting.
- Wrinkling – When the correct infill amount, weight, and levels are not successfully placed, the synthetic turf may wrinkle in warmer climates.
- Matting – Matting will occur if the correct infill amount, weight, and levels are not respected.
What do I do if it has rained and the putting green surface is wet?
If you must get the job done due to time constraints and/or installation deadlines, you must dry out the turf in order for the infill to penetrate to the bottom. I recommend using a high-powered backpack leaf blower to dry out the entire surface prior to placing infill.
Yes, this can be time consuming, so learn your lesson and don’t do it again.
Once the turf is dry then proceed to infill.