SPRING HAS SPRUNG
At this time of year there are several key tasks which need to be performed to keep natural surfaces in their best condition.
This week I thought it would be appropriate to start thinking about your spring renovations.
Only last week I was out on site in Church Stretton taking some soil samples to establish what work may be needed to be done on their tennis, croquet and bowling greens.
Taking a few core samples enables you to physically identity any issues that may be lurking below the playing surface.
Establishing the depth of any thatch, compaction, root breaks and anaerobic conditions will help you identify the right course of action to take in the coming weeks. Generally a spring renovation on a natural fine turf surface is centred around some aeration work, light scarification, overseeding and feeding.
Winter games pitches will need a more intense course of action to repair the damage done by winter play. The level of work will be determined by the current state of the pitch. In the main, most grassroots or club level rugby and football pitches will need to be aerated (decompacted) using either a Verti-Drain solid tine spiker or linear disc aerator. Ideally they should also be scarified to clean out any surface dead fibre, topdressed, fertilised and overseeded.
There’s no doubt many grass roots winter pitches will have suffered from the very wet winter we have just had, especially those pitches that have specific drainage schemes installed.
It would also be advisable to have some soil samples taken and sent for analysis testing for soil nutrient status and perhaps PSD (Particle Size Distribution) to help classify the soil type you have.
The procedure of determining the proportion of mineral particles in each of these classes is called particle size analysis or mechanical analysis of the soil. In soil analysis, the proportion of gravel and larger particles is determined by first grinding the soil to disaggregate it and then passing it through a 2 mm sieve.
What remains in the sieve is weighed and its proportion calculated as a percentage of the whole soil sample. The proportion of the coarse, medium and fine sand are likewise determined by sieving, thus separating them from the clay and silt fractions of the soil. The latter cannot be separated from one another by sieving. Instead they are separated by a process known as sedimentation, which is based upon the fact that larger particles fall more quickly through water than smaller ones.
Thus, if a suspension is made up of clay and silt in water, the silt will settle out more quickly than the clay and by measuring the speed at which the suspension as a whole settles out, it is possible to determine the distribution of particle sizes. When you have the percentages of clay silt and sand you are then able to classify your soil type.
Once you have all this information, you are then able to determine the best course of action and plan and get quotes for your spring renovations.
In recent years we have seen an array of soil conditioning equipment on hand to speed up the way we can renovate grass surfaces. Richard Campey of Campey Turfcare has over the years been instrumental in bringing to market a number of revolutionary sports turf renovation machines that sports turf contractors are now using to speed up and improve renovation techniques. Namely the Koro Fraise mower that can remove up to 25mm of vegetation by literally planing the top off. The Koro recycling dresser meanwhile, is a heavy-duty aerator and root-zone recycler that is able to aerate the underlying soil vertically and horizontally, removing the soil from the root-zone and re-distributing it across the playing surface.
The Recycling Dresser reduces the amount of new top-dressing required, therefore saving labour and material costs and promoting sustainable maintenance. Three different working widths are available in the new range.
Your choice of seed mixtures will be dependent on the sport you are playing and the price you want to pay. In general terms you should be looking to invest in a good quality sportsturf rye grass seed mixture. We have an excellent choice of suppliers and seed companies who over the years have developed top quality grass seed. Listed below are four leading suppliers of perennial rye grass seed for sports pitches.
- Limagrain’s MM60 Grass Seed is suitable for the renovation and repair of winter sports pitches, racecourses and areas where fast germination and quick establishment are priorities.
- A20 (Premier Ryesport) for winter sports pitches, the choice of many top groundsmen across the UK.
- Johnsons J Rescue 100 is also suitable for winter/spring emergency overseeding on winter sports pitches, golf tees, polo fields and racecourses.
- Rigby Taylor’s R14 100% Perrenial Ryegrass Blend Grass Seed 20Kg is also a very popular seed used by many groundsmen
Prices range from £75-£150 per bag, which is not cheap especially when you need between 8-12 bags per pitch - giving you an average cost of around £1200 to seed a whole pitch. Not wanting to waste any seed, it would pay to ensure you use a seed drill to plant the seed into the pitch and not just broadcast it on the surface.
The Vredo Disc Seeder and other similar machines are used for overseeding or sowing sports pitches and large grass areas. The disc system places seed under the surface, improving the rate of germination. The slits are then closed by the rear roller, leaving little disturbance to the surface.
One of the other key factors that determines the success of germination will be the fact that the pitch is kept watered. We would hope that nature can usually take care of this with some timely periods of rain soon after renovations have been completed. However, no doubt some parts of the country will experience dry spells, thus needing you to irrigate the pitch using sprinklers.
Many top end sports clubs and schools have in recent years invested in either, a pop-up sprinkler system or acquired a self-traveling sprinkler system to water their pitches.
However, I must stress that once you have invested and completed your spring renovations it is vitally important you follow up with a robust maintenance programme, carrying out regular cutting, aeration, verticutting, feeding and watering to produce a vigorous and healthy sward.
And finally, it would be well advised to get all your machinery all serviced and prepped for the start of the new mowing season.
LEVEL 3 GREENKEEPING APPRENTICESHIP ESTABLISHED
Government approval received
This week's WEB ONLY is the Golf Greenkeeping Trailblazer Group have announced the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) has approved the Advanced Golf Greenkeeper Apprenticeship Standard (Level 3) for delivery.
DON'T MISS OUT ON YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A TRIP TO LOUISVILLE!
You and a guest could attend GIE+EXPO in the USA this October
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and TurfPro is giving one lucky turf professional plus their guest, the chance to visit GIE+EXPO, the international landscape, outdoor living, and equipment show in Lousiville, USA, in October 2020.
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is giving one lucky reader plus their guest, the chance to visit GIE+EXPO, the international landscape, outdoor living, and equipment show in Louisville, USA, in October 2020.
The winner of this amazing free to enter competition, who must currently work as a turf professional, will win two tickets to the show as well as travel to the US, transfers and accommodation.
Between the 21st-23rd October, GIE+EXPO will showcase the hottest products and technological innovations in the global outdoor power equipment industry - and you could be immersed in the latest developments plus be able to network with peers from across the world.
Throughout the three days you will be able to visit over 1000 exhibitors across the showfloor. There is even 20 acres of outdoor space for demonstrations and test-driving, so you can put the equipment through its paces.
This really is an incredible opportunity to get away from the business for a few days and to come back with a wealth of new ideas from across the globe.
To enter the competition and for full terms and conditions click here.
JOHN DEERE REORGANISE PRO TURF BUSINESS
Three new appointments
Following a strategic reorganisation of the turf business in Europe, Brian D’Arcy has been appointed as turf division sales manager for the company’s newly created Region 2 Sales Division 1.
Following a strategic reorganisation of John Deere’s professional turf business in Europe, Brian D’Arcy has been appointed as turf division sales manager for the company’s newly created Region 2 Sales Division 1.
This covers the UK and Ireland plus additional key markets in Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland.
L-R: Brian D’Arcy, Joanne Gregory and Richard Charleton
Brian is a graduate of Tralee Institute of Technology in Ireland, where he gained a degree in Agricultural Engineering Management. He joined John Deere Limited at Langar, Nottingham in July 2007 as a tractor sales demonstration instructor, before being promoted to the role of crop systems specialist in 2009 and then later that same year to agricultural territory manager for Wales and the West Midlands, a position he held until July 2014.
Below you can watch TurfPro editor, Laurence Gale interview Brian for our sister publication, Service Dealer, at the recent BTME exhibition.
Brian then became UK and Ireland strategic account manager for turf and other non-agricultural products, before moving to Deere’s European HQ in Mannheim, Germany in October 2018 as Region 2 product manager for compact and utility tractors.
As a result of the structural changes, Richard Charleton has been promoted to a new additional strategic account manager position for golf and turf covering the UK and Ireland, alongside Michael Grey (who replaced Brian D’Arcy in this role in 2018). Alongside this responsibility, Richard is also taking on the position of John Deere Limited turf territory manager for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Richard is a graduate of Rycotewood College in the UK, where he gained a higher national certificate in Agricultural Engineering. He joined John Deere in January 1991 as a sales demonstration instructor for the UK and Ireland, before being promoted to the role of turf area service manager for both countries in 1994. Richard then became turf territory manager for Scotland and the north of England in 1996, a position he has held until this latest promotion.
Following his appointment, Joanne Gregory (above centre) has replaced Richard Charleton as John Deere Limited’s new turf territory manager for Scotland and the north of England. Joanne is a graduate of Harper Adams University, where she gained a BSc (Hons) in Agricultural Business Management, and she spent her student placement year with the marketing team at Langar.
Before joining John Deere full-time, Joanne worked for leading chartered surveyors and specialist property consultants Fisher German LLP. Joanne started at Langar in May 2019 as product sales specialist for homeowner equipment, liaising with and supporting the UK and Ireland dealer network.
WATCH INTERVIEWS ADDRESSING CHALLENGING CONDITIONS
Hear from Radley College, Mansfield Sand, Hayden Turfcare, Trilo UK and Turfix
Editor Loz Gale heard from key figures at the recent BTME show about what challenges had been faced over the past year - as well as what lies in store for 2020.
Courtesy of TurfPro's YouTube channel, editor Loz Gale, chatted with key figures at the recent BTME show about what challenges had been faced over the past year - as well as what lies in store for 2020.
First up Adam King, grounds manager at Radley College tells Laurence how he believes the past year is the toughest he's experienced in his 33 years in the industry.
Next Loz spoke with Gary Cunningham, football & golf sales manager at Mansfield Sands about the challenges which the weather has presented recently.
Hayden Turfcare's managing director, Richard Hayden offers his insight regarding what maintenance projects are likely to be required this coming year.
Laurence also caught up with Trilo UK's factory support manager, Jeremy Vincent about the new self-contained T1 suction unit and the challenges they faced during the autumn of 2019.
Finally for today, Darren Rodman, marketing Director, The Pitchmark Group tells Loz how Turfix is performing a year after launch, and how they've been establishing the brand.
There will be more video content to come, so do subscribe to the TurfPro YouTube channel to be kept up to date.
GROUNDCARE SEMINAR SET FOR NEXT WEEK
Dennis & Sisis event at Durham CCC
Orgainsers say sports turf is the theme and a wide range of volunteers and professionals representing schools, sports clubs, local authorities and contractors, can expect to explore a multitude of topics.
The Dennis and SISIS 2020 Groundcare Seminar will take place next week at Durham County Cricket Club’s Emirates Riverside on Tuesday 18th February.
The organisers say that sports turf is the theme and a wide range of volunteers and professionals representing schools, sports clubs, local authorities and contractors, can expect to explore a multitude of topics.
The morning will see Marcus North (Durham Director of Cricket & Former Australian Test Batsman) present Cricket Pitches on Different Continents; Dr Iain James (TGMS) will be offering some invaluable advice in the Construction and Maintenance of a Cricket Pitch seminar and the Institute of Groundsmanship’s Ian Powell is set to provide a number of helpful tips in Principles of Decision Making for Pre-Season Preparations.
Rounding off the morning, delegates will have an opportunity to listen to and question a line-up of some of the industry’s finest groundsmen. Hosted by Vic Demain (Durham CCC), this new feature entitled Groundsman's Corner, will see a panel of experts including Keith Kent (Head Pitch Advisor to Rugby Groundsmen Connected), Karl McDermott (MCC, Lord’s), Sean Williams (Gloucestershire CCC) and Gordon Gill (Bath Cricket Club).
A complimentary lunch will be provided in which attendees can network with one another and hear from event sponsors - Limagrain UK, Boughton Loam, Thomas Sherriff, Stuart Canvas, Fleet Line Markers, Cricket World, SIS Pitches, Poweroll, Facility and Sports Club Development and Headland Amenity.
Barry Glynn (volunteer groundsman), will kick-start proceedings after lunch with his seminar entitled Frustrations of a Groundsman: Part 2.
Keith Kent will be taking to the stage in the penultimate session and will be drawing on his wealth of experience as a groundsman in Winter Sports Pitches to Cricket Outfields – what do we need to do?
To conclude the day, delegates will get the opportunity to discuss their own projects with the day’s speakers.
To register your interest contact Roger Moore at Dennis & SISIS on 01332 824777 or email Roger Moore on email@example.com.
CHELTENHAM PRAISE LONG-TERM MM60 STRATEGY
Head groundsman pleased with turf health
Ben Hastie of Cheltenham Racecourse has reported fantastic results after embarking on a long-term strategy of scarifying and overseeding with Limagrain UK’s MM60 grass seed.
Ben Hastie, head groundsman at Cheltenham Racecourse has reported fantastic results after embarking on a long-term strategy of scarifying and overseeding with Limagrain UK’s MM60 grass seed.
Ben started in the industry as a greenkeeper but from a young age his passion was always horse racing. It was for this reason that while working at a golf club, he volunteered his services to Warwick and Stratford racecourses.
His persistence paid off and in 2006 he was rewarded with a full-time job at Cheltenham Racecourse. Thirteen years later and Ben is the head groundsman overseeing eleven full-time members of staff.
Throughout this time, MM60 has always been the seed of choice for the course. In fact, MM60 has been relied on at Cheltenham for over 25 years. The winter sport mixture is a 100% ryegrass formula which Ben says is perfect in his quest to achieve consistency throughout the whole course.
A strict regime of scarifying and overseeding during renovations has been key according to Ben.
“The one thing I want from the racecourse is consistency and my ultimate goal is to see a blend of ryegrass all the way through the course without any fescues or bents. Obviously, annual meadow-grasses are particularly hard to control but we now have a racecourse that has approximately 95% of pure ryegrass. This has been largely thanks to scarifying and overseeding at the right times.
“Doing this consistently over the years has resulted in the ryegrass holding up more than it ever has, it is helping with disease, helping to keep moisture in there where it is needed, helping the recovery rate and it is also providing a better coverage which makes the course look so much better.”
Ben and his team start this process immediately after the last race meeting in May and they carry out the same programme across all three racecourses – the Old Course, the New Course and the Cross-Country Steeplechase Course. After the rails and hurdles have been removed, the turf will be cut from its racing height of 4.5 inches down to 2 inches. It is at this point that the scarifying begins, and this can take approximately a month.
When it comes to overseeding, Ben admits that it is a question of judgement and can depend on the climate and identifying the areas which need it most. The take-offs and landings experience the most amount of damage and these areas are constantly repaired throughout the race season.
“We have a team of 40 ‘treaders’ on a race day,” said Ben. “They will apply a mixture of soil and MM60 seed which will be put down with a trowel. This ensures that every single horse hoof print is filled in, levelled and that the germination process starts early.
“Because we are predominantly a winter sport, we need germination at low temperatures and I know that the MM60 will still be growing even if soil temperatures are 5 or 6 degrees when we are racing in December or January."
SALTEX PUBLISH RESULTS OF 2019 EXHIBITOR SURVEY
Strong re-bookings confirmed
Results show that more than half of exhibitors reserved their space for the 2020 event before the end of the 2019 show.
Following on from the results of the visitors' survey published recently, the organisers of the SALTEX exhibition have now released the findings of their post-2019 exhibitors' survey.
Results show that more than half of exhibitors reserved their space for the 2020 event before the end of the 2019 show and organisers have since reported a record number of repeat business, stand upgrades and an influx of debut exhibitors - with more than 200 companies committing to this year's event.
The organisers say last year's attendance was a record-breaking 9,104 - and this figure was rated as excellent by 85 per cent of exhibitors and, crucially, the quality of visitors scored 91 per cent in the survey.
More than 500 groundscare brands were showcased at the 2019 show and 83 per cent of survey respondents claimed the launches proved to be hugely successful.
The survey also revealed an insight into SALTEX’s range of exhibitors, which included 22 companies from outside of the UK, covering a broad range of groundscare categories:
- Machinery and hand tools – 54 per cent
- Sports surfaces and facilities – 29 per cent
- Landscaping – 26 per cent
- Seeds, turf and aggregates – 25 per cent
- Arboriculture and horticulture – 17 per cent
- Commercial vehicles – 13 per cent
- Security, health and safety – 10 per cent
- Play, street and furniture – 5 per cent
- Synthetic turf – 4 per cent
In addition, 89 per cent of exhibitors felt that the UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect their business.
This year, the exhibition will be celebrating its 75th anniversary and 93 per cent of survey respondents confirmed that they will be returning to exhibit.
SALTEX 2020 will take place at the NEC, Birmingham on 4 and 5 November.
HRG APPOINTED BY BARONESS
Addition to groundcare division
Scottish dealers with branches in Bishopton, Tarbolton, Campbeltown, Lanark, Perth and Cupar to offer wider choice to their professional turfcare customers.
Hamilton Ross Group has added Baroness to their groundcare division offering.
The Scottish dealers with branches in Bishopton, Tarbolton, Campbeltown, Lanark, Perth and Cupar will now be able to offer a wider choice of machinery to their professional turfcare customers.
“We are all very excited to welcome this new brand,” said Hamilton Ross Group managing director, Eric Gardiner. “With the addition of the Baroness franchise to our brand catalogue we hope to offer our customers a wider choice of quality products and to welcome new customers to the Hamilton Ross Group.”
Adam Butler, Baroness sales director added, “Bringing HRG into our already substantial dealer portfolio was an easy decision for us. Their back up and customer service is second to none in Scotland and we are very excited to be working with a company that demands such high standards. Yes, our machines are great, but we must have great service to back them up."
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