Advancements in turf equipment are ongoing as industry suppliers introduce new machines and adapt others to better fit the specific needs of sports field managers. Following is just a sampling of the many options available.
While Randy Heying, founder/owner of Heying Co., also known as Infield Drag, calls the company’s PR72 Pro Groomer the “ultimate infield groomer,” he says their new introduction, the MG72 Multi Groomer, was developed to tackle maintenance in areas beyond the infield, too. “We designed this machine with different attachments for sports field managers looking for strategies to do it all. We use one 6-foot-wide body with an 82-inch wheelbase that can be equipped with a wide range of attachments that perform specific functions.”
The standard setup for the golf and turf version puts two rows of 22 spring tines, mounted on pipes spaced 1.5 inches apart, at the front of the machine, in what Heying calls position A. The tines are alternated between the two rows, spacing a total of 44 tines across the 72 inches for even coverage. Each row of tines adjusts independently to multiple positions. A broom carriage is installed in position B, 10 inches behind the second row of tines. Ten inches behind that, in position C, is a 72-inch heavy, ribbed rubber mat.
Heying says, “This setup fills many roles. It levels topdressing and dethatches natural turf. It’s a huge time-saver, pulverizing aeration cores in one pass and leaving the surface ready for mowing. On synthetic fields, it levels the infill material and fluffs the fibers.”
The standard setup for the granular and rock version keeps the tines in position A, puts a metal grading/smoothing bar in position B and a broom in position C. This configuration grooms infields and warning tracks and even handles rocked parking lots and trails with rock up to 1-inch in size.
Implements in the B position are adjustable to different angles to adapt to different types of towing units. Pull-pins make it easy to change out attachments without tools. An onboard 12-volt battery powers the electric lift, which is operated by a wireless remote control.
Turfco Manufacturing Co.
Turfco is launching the Mete-R-Matic IV topdresser, featuring 1-cubic-yard hopper capacity. Executive Vice President Scott Kinkead says, “It has the same patented ground-drive system as our other tow-behind Mete-R-Matic topdressers for consistently even application with the ‘green’ advantage of no hydraulics, engines or pumps. The patented Chevron belt delivers crumb rubber, any type compost and topdressing materials including wet sand.”
Turfco is also launching the CR7 material handler and topdresser with a 1.9-cubic-yard hopper. This economical alternative to the 4-cubic-yard capacity CR10 includes the same spinners, allowing the operator to set the type of application from very light to medium to heavy with a broadcast width ranging from 20 to 40 feet. Kinkead says, “The four-wheeled unit has a low PSI. A cross conveyor can be mounted on front for construction or renovation projects. With the three-position switch, the operator can turn on the spinners first and then the main conveyor, ensuring even application at startup, then turn off the conveyor before shutting down the spinners for a self-cleaning finish.
From its commercial lawn care line, Turfco is introducing the T3000 Spreader and Sprayer Applicator to the sports field marketplace. Kinkead says, “This economical ride-on unit provides the versatility to handle many different jobs with one machine, which is especially beneficial for those who care for the grounds around a facility, as well as the sports fields.” With dual 8-gallon mounted tanks and a 15-gallon auxiliary tank for liquid applications, it can cover close to 100,000 square feet. Spray options include a 4-foot trim head, 6 or 9-foot nozzle delivery and an optional 12-foot boom. A spray wand with a 15-foot hose is standard for spot treatment and working along fence lines. The spreader hopper and carrier tray both have 120-pound capacity. Spreading widths are 12 or 18 feet, yet the machine can easily enter through a 36-inch gate and maneuver in tight spaces.
C.S. Trading President Ian Camp reports that SISIS has introduced a new synthetic surface sweeper and collector, the SSS/1000. Its ground-driven rotary brush can be adjusted to increase or decrease the degree of ground engagement for removal of surface debris, lifting the pile and redistributing the infill material. Camp says, “It has an aluminum hopper with a stainless steel mesh base that allows the sand and rubber infill to filter back to the field while retaining the debris. The hopper is lightweight and easy to remove.”
The unit is 39 inches wide for easy access through narrow entry points. It’s also available as a three-unit gang. It can be towed behind a field rake or utility vehicle. Camp says, “While it’s designed primarily for synthetic surfaces, it can also be used on natural turf.”
Glenn Musser, TurfTime Equipment vice president of product development and marketing, says extensive research on spreading both wet and dry materials has led to improvements to TurfTime topdressers that provide more efficient delivery for all types of topdressing materials, including compost and wet sand.
TurfTime has acquired the Thatch Master line of verticutters/dethatchers and has introduced improvements to the blades, going from two points to seven-point carbon-tipped blades with thickness options of 1, 2 or 3 mm. These blades can only be used with hex shafts. Musser says, “We’ve developed an update kit for older units with a square shaft and/or # 40 pitch chain to change them over to the much stronger hex shaft and # 50H chain that we use in all of our new machines.”
TurfTime also has introduced an aerator with tines encircling the blade on 6-inch spacing to deliver rolling penetration to a depth of up to 7 inches with the aid of a water-filled ballast tank. Musser says, “We offer six types of solid tines, as well as a coring option. We’ve added new sizes, so these heavy-duty aerators are now available in 36, 48, 60, 72, 96, 120 and 180-inch widths.”
Another introduction is Triple Play, a 60-inch field groomer that features a welded frame with three crossbars, a flip-down nail drag and finish brush.
Dakota Peat & Equipment
Dakota has introduced the 410 Electric Turf Tender, a tow-behind topdresser powered by a four-battery, 48-volt system that can spread over 60 loads of material on a single charge. Nate Brewinski, account manager, says, “It gives sports field managers an option that keys into the growing ‘green’ concept. It’s a clean running machine that eliminates any type of hydraulic leak, yet there’s no drop in productivity compared to our other machines.”
STEC Equipment is the North American distributor for specialized turf equipment developed by several major manufacturers in Europe, including the turf product line of Rotadairon, the originator of the Soil Renovator. These are well-established products overseas, but many are recent introductions to the U.S. They also manufacture equipment under their own STEC brand.
According to Jason Sentell, business development manager, STEC recently introduced the MX630 material handler/topdresser in the U.S. It features a load capacity of over 6 cubic yards, topdressing broadcast width of up to 40 feet, a side conveyor with swing arm lift of 100 to 110 degrees and wireless remote control from the tow vehicle.
STEC now manufactures the Ground Quake, which provides decompaction and sand injection. Sentell says, “The blades rotate to laterally fracture the soil. The machine creates slits on 10-foot centers, injecting material into the slits. It can inject materials ranging from dry or wet sand to pea gravel.”
The GKB Combinator/Field Top Maker is a dual-purpose machine designed for frase mowing or verticutting. “In Europe, this machine is used for weed management, including Poa annua control. Dr. Frank Rossi of Cornell University is currently using one of the units to conduct research on that procedure,” says Sentell. “A side conveyor moves the material directly to a truck or trailer. We’ve designed the STEC dump trailer with a removable side and a backboard screen for more efficient handling of the material.”
STEC now distributes the Trilo line of products, including their blowers. Sentell says, “It’snot the speed, but the pressure, the volume of air moved, that determines the effectiveness of a blower. The Trilo blowers provide greater pressure to move material further and accomplish more in a shorter time.” Another Trilo introduction to the U.S. is the BRL 120 Sod Layer. It features a seat that shifts from side to side, allowing the operator to ride directly over the seam. According to Sentell, it places the roll of sod so tightly against the adjacent roll there’s no need for hand labor.
Aqua-Aid is the U.S. distributor for the Imants line of products. Imants is a 125-year-old company based in Holland with a concentration of turf equipment for linear slicing, sand injection and rotary decompaction. Bert Brace of Aqua-Aid says, “The Dutch, United Kingdom and Europe are not giving up on natural grass fields. They’re investing in the proven cultural practices it takes to maintain very high-quality playing surfaces. Those practices include the use of products well-known overseas, but relatively new to the U.S.”
The Koro by Imants TopMaker removes unwanted surface matter such as Poa annua, weeds or the entire surface to a depth of 50 mm. A sidearm conveyor moves the debris directly to a trailer or truck.
The Imants Shockwave provides rotary decompaction. Brace says, “The Shockwave reported to be the fastest PTO-driven unit of its type, traveling at up to .75 mile per hour. As well as being used in major renovations, it does an excellent job preparing the areas around the goalmouths and the center of the soccer for in-season reseeding.”
With many options of specialized turf equipment now available in the U.S. and more introductions soon to come, it’s important for sports field managers to work with their suppliers to identify the specific needs of their field management program.
The author is a contributing editor for SportsField Management.