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Ground Protection: Plywood vs. Alturna Mats

Ground Protection: Plywood vs. Alturna Mats

How many times have you wanted to start a job, but the day before it rains? Or what about those times when the frost just started leaving the ground and every single yard you try to work in is a sinkhole? Or lastly, the dread of working in the yard with the perfect landscaping that you don't dare make one divot in the lawn? These are all situations that we, as tree company owners and employees, find ourselves in day in and day out! One of the best investments you can make when it comes to these problems is a bunch of Alturna Mats!

Alturna Mats are large 4'x8' or 3'x8' heavy duty plastic mats that can be laid down on grass, sidewalks, or other sub surfaces to help support your equipment as well as protect the lawn underneath. Alturna Mats are made out of 100% recycled High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and come in black or clear colors. Surprisingly, these super strong mats are capable of supporting up to 90 tons with an adequate sub surface underneath the equipment!

These mats work extremely well for getting equipment into areas that would never allow it on a normal day! Whether it be pulling the crane far into a backyard to remove a hazard tree or getting the bucket to an enormous prune job, using these mats in the right place can not only save you money with reduced property damage costs, but also make you more money because the jobs can be completed with less man hours involved! Even with the extra amount of time involved with unloading the mats and building yourself a plastic highway to the tree, you will see their worth when your client notices how much effort you took to keep their yard looking its best!

So, I'm sure you are thinking, why not just buy a bunch of plywood and use that for ground protection? Well, you could, but you should also think about the differences between Alturna Mats and plywood. You are pretty much comparing apples to oranges at this point!

Plywood vs. Alturna Mats


Has a limited lifespan and NEEDS to be replaced or 'maintained.' This shorter lifespan adds-up to dollars out of your pocket.

Plywood absorbs water, which speeds up the de-lamination of plys, as well as rotting.

Plywood lacks a consistent strength from sheet to sheet, especially after being wet and exposed to the elements.

Plywood is very slippery once wet, and even more slippery after being exposed to oils (bar oil, hydraulic oil) and then getting wet. This could cause unneeded slips and falls.

Plywood is unsuitable for use on slopes or inclines, especially if wet!

Alturna Mats

Alturna Mats offer a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Alturna Mats are impervious to water and will not delaminate.

Alturna Mats strength and performance guarantee they will be consistent from mat to mat.

The treads on the Alturna Mats creates a gripping surface for better traction in adverse weather conditions.

The same treads that create better grip on the top are copied to the back to make the mats adhere the ground as well.

Alturna Mats are more of an investment upfront, but they easily pay for themselves with the new possibilities you will have to get your equipment into jobs. Whether it be making a road for your mini skid steer to get brush out of a backyard with no lawn damage or just making a pathway for your employees to drag the brush onto to reduce lawn damage, these mats will make you and your clients happy!

But Don't Get Burned

One thing to keep in mind with the black Alturna Mats is their ability to burn grass if left in place for too long on hot summer days. This is why Alturna Mats are available in black and clear. The clear mats will help reduce lawn burn damage by allowing light to pass through instead of heating the mat up to a lawn damaging temperature. The black mats are readily available and the clear mats are available through Bartlett Arborist Supply by special order only.

Hopefully this helps explain the benefits of these awesome mats that really will help you get your equipment into more places! The fastest way to finish most jobs is getting that equipment as close as possible to the work and these mats are guaranteed to help with that. Visit our shop in Marlette to take a look at some and be sure to send us some pictures of your Alturna Mats in action!

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