PLANNING CRICKET RENOVATIONS
There are some basic aims when renovating a square
With the cricket season soon coming to an end, many groundsmen should now be organising the renovation of their square and outfields.
July and August are generally regarded as the hottest months of the year, however, similar to last year, we seem to be having a prolonged spell of hot dry weather again that started back in May with June recording some of the hottest temperatures on record. This spell of dry weather will soon start drying out soil profiles if we do not get enough rainfall, leaving many grass roots sports pitches at the peril of the weather. However, if you do have some watering facilities and a means to water your pitches then I suggest you read Alastair Higgs article we recently published in TurfPro
That article explained the issues many groundsmen face and what actions can be taken to keep your natural grass playing surfaces watered during these hot periods.
With the cricket season soon coming to an end, many groundsmen should now be organising the renovation of their square and outfields.
A visual examination of the surface is simply not good enough. Taking a number of core samples allows you to see the amount of thatch, root density and integrity of the soil, in terms of having any root breaks or changes of the soil’s physical properties. Ideally you should be taking core samples to a depth of between 100mm-150mm.
Also the benefit of taking soil samples is you can send them off for a soil particle size analysis and nutrient status, thus giving you more information about your square.
It is important to order any materials in advance of the renovations. Seed and loam supplies can be delayed, so get your order in early.
There are some very basic aims when renovating a cricket square and these hold true no matter where the square, the standard of cricket played on it or the resources available.
The first job is to clean off as much vegetation as possible and remove any unwanted organic matter / thatch by the process of mowing, scratching, scarifying and sweeping the surface prior to topdressing. All too often I see many clubs not scarifying thoroughly enough and quite often leave too much thatch and dead fibre in the surface, which in turn gets buried after top dressing, which in turn escalates into a layering problem. You can read an in-depth article on end of season renovation here.
The end of July also sees the start of the new footballing season with many clubs back to full training and starting their pre-season friendlies. A Recent trip to Stoke enabled me the opportunity to catch up with Andrew Jackson Stoke’s Head Groundsman to see for myself the hard work that goes on in preparing pitches for the new season. This report will be featured in a forthcoming issue of TurfPro.
However, in general terms the work in June and July is cantered around the renovation and rejuvenation of their pitches, which is again made more intensive if we have an extended period of hot weather.
Once the seed has germinated it is a case of mowing continuously to thicken the sward - bearing in mind that most topflight clubs have large training grounds with many pitches as well as the stadium facilities to maintain.
Gone are the days when it was a case of mowing once or twice a week and perhaps a feed every 4-6 weeks. Most top professional groundsmen have daily maintenance programmes that encompass daily mowing, feeding and aeration work regimes. Today’s modern feeding regimes see a concoction of products being applied to ensure the turf remains healthy and able to fight off disease and pests.
The quality of football pitches are now at their very best, mainly due to the hard work and a number of advancements in renovation and maintenance techniques and the range of equipment and machinery now available for groundmen.
I am sure the new football season will be as popular as ever, with the clubs fighting it out for the cups and trophies for the 2019/20 season. Good luck to all the groundmen involved, no doubt another busy year beckons.
GREEN FLAG AWARDS
Events taking place around the country
The first of the three UK Green Flag Award Ceremonies took place recently at Port Sunlight.
Recently I was fortunate to be invited to the first of the three UK Green Flag Award Ceremonies at Port Sunlight that take place each year.
These events take place at different parts of the country to enable Green Flag award winners from all areas to attend.
They are nice, informal events that enable this year’s 1,900 plus UK winners to receive their coveted Green Flag Award plaque. This year saw a record number of awards - 1,971 (compared to 1,887in 2018).
The event was opened by Paul Todd Accreditation Manger for Green Flag who spoke about the success of this year’s award scheme and the benefits it brings to the wider community.
Worldwide, the Green Flag Award scheme grows in record numbers including a 25% increase outside of the UK. Today the Green Flag Award scheme reached a record breaking 2,096 accredited parks and green spaces across 14 countries and spanning 4 continents - more than any other parks accreditation scheme in the world. 126 of these are accredited parks and green spaces from outside the UK, marking a huge 25% increase as the Award establishes a worldwide reputation.
The Wirral Council Receiving Green Flag Award
To find out more, or apply for an Award, whichever country you are based in, visit the website.
If you know of a park or a country not yet involved in the Green Flag Award that might be interested, get in touch with the Green Flag Award team: email@example.com
In 2019 so far, countries engaged in the scheme include:
- Australia 7
- Belgium 5
- Finland 5
- Germany 2
- Mexico 2
- The Netherlands 5
- New Zealand 26
- Portugal 3
- Republic of Ireland 60
- Spain 4
- Sweden 1
- Turkey 1
- United Arab Emirates 5
- United Kingdom 1970
CAMPEY TURFCARE ANNOUNCE NEW DIRECTORS
Julia Campey becomes md
Former md, Richard Campey, has taken the position of chairman following a restructuring at the company.
Julia Campey has been appointed as the new managing director of Campey Turf Care Systems, with former md, Richard Campey, taking the position of chairman.
As part of the company restructure, John Campey and Lee Morgado have been appointed directors and Neil Armstrong, who joined Campey in 2010 as accounts manager will take up the position as company secretary.
L-R: Lee Morgado, Richard Campey, John Campey and Julia Campey
Julia has been a key figure at Campey since 2004 and has been the sales and marketing coordinator for the last ten years. The company says in this role, she has developed the corporate presence of the company throughout the UK, Europe and other parts of the globe, including the USA, Australia and Asia. She has organised exhibitions as well as educational tours for overseas visitors and provided invaluable support to the sales team in product development, sales and back-up services.
Richard is stepping aside from his previous role and handing over the day to day activities to his daughter, but he remains an integral part of the company, and he will still be involved in many sales and educational events.
Speaking about Julia’s appointment, Richard said, “I’ve had a lot of successful years at this company, and I’m very proud of what we have achieved. Julia has been a part of that success for many years and has extensive knowledge of our product range and the industry, and I’m very confident in her ability to take Campey forward."
He continued, “Lee has worked his way up through the company over 13-years and has a great understanding of how we operate and has a brilliant relationship with our customers and dealer, not just here in the UK, but throughout the world. Lee and John have been great assets to us, and I think both will use their practical experience to great effect in the boardroom.”
Lee, who started with Campey in 2006 in the workshops, has seen his role in the company grow and change direction over the years. He started life in the workshop and progressed to be a sales demonstrator before taking on numerous renovations across Europe and further afield before becoming product specialist for southern Europe and has also seen his sales area expanded to cover Denmark.
Along with John, Lee has a vast amount of experience from the field and the company says they will work actively in the new structure to maintain the founding principles of the company, ensuring that Campey continues to innovate, educate and provide excellent customer service.
TORO REACHES GOLFING CENTURY
Milestone serving the industry
The Toro Company made its entry into the golf sector 100 years ago by developing the industry’s first motorised fairway mower for the Minikahda Club in Minneapolis.
Following on from Toro’s 100 years in business in 2014, the company is now celebrating its centennial milestone serving the golf industry.
The Toro Company made its entry into the golf sector by developing the industry’s first motorised fairway mower for the Minikahda Club in Minneapolis.
The Toro Standard Golf Machine, Minikahda endorsement brochure cover
By mounting five lawn mowers on the front of a farm tractor, the company say they created the motorised golf course equipment industry and in doing so started a century of listening closely to its customers, developing products based on feedback and available technology, long-standing customer relationships, and establishing a distribution network to deliver local service and support.
Reesink Turfcare, or Lely Turfcare as it was, has been part of that journey as the sole Toro distributor in the UK for golf and sports fields equipment and irrigation products for almost half that time.
Grant Young, general manager of Toro’s Commercial Business, said of the occasion, "Without a doubt, we owe much of our success to the Toro employees who have helped shape the golf industry with countless innovations. But we wouldn’t be here today without the Toro customers across the globe who put their faith and trust in our products every day. As we celebrate a century in the golf industry, we simply want to say thank you to our customers and channel partners for continuing to put your trust in Toro people and products.”
David Cole, managing director of Reesink Turfcare, said, “The first Toro product to hit UK shores was the Toro Greensmaster 3 at the beginning of the 1970s. That ride-on product was born from Toro’s established golf focus and projected the brand into the UK as a producer of high quality, innovative golf equipment in the UK.
“Since then a reputation has been built that centres on reliability, durability and support and a mutual trust has developed between our customers, us as distributor and Toro which can be truly viewed as a partnership.
"We’re extremely proud to have represented Toro and its product values for so many years and we also thank our UK golf customers for their long-standing loyalty, confidence and trust.”
QUESTION TIME AT SALTEX
To be hosted by the Amenity Forum
Panel debate to be held at the event on 30th October.
AFC BOURNEMOUTH SOLVE SAND-BASED LEACHING
The Amenity Forum have annunced that they have been invited to host a Question Time session at SALTEX on the 30th October.
The Forum say this will be run along the lines of the television programme and this year’s panel included Dr. Dan Jones from Advanced Invasives, Peter Corbett from Rigby Taylor and Will Kay from Languard. A further panel member will be announced shortly.
The session will commence at 2pm. Also in the morning of that day, their chairman, John Moverley, will chair a discussion on disease management.
On October 10th, the Amenity Forum is holding its annual conference and exhibition. This year the theme is ‘21st Century Amenity Management’ and it will be held at the Pirelli Stadium at Burton on Trent.
Tickets are £95.00 + VAT with a discount available for early birds. For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
With Headland Amenity’s H-Cote Mini
Head of Grounds Ian Lucas has switched fertiliser and says he is delighted with the longevity and improvement in plant health achieved.
To reduce nutrient leaching on their sand-based surfaces, AFC Bournemouth’s Head of Grounds Ian Lucas has switched to Headland Amenity’s H-Cote Mini fertiliser and says he delighted with the longevity and improvement in plant health achieved. This new controlled-release formulation is the latest addition to the club’s nutritional programme which, for the first time over the 2018/19 season, was fungicide free.
AFC Bournemouth’s King’s Park Training Ground
“When I joined AFC Bournemouth two years ago, I inherited a feeding regime which included a variety of products, so I reviewed everything to see what was working and try to streamline the programme” explains Ian, who heads up a grounds team of seven.
“One of the first things I looked at was the conventional fertiliser being applied on the training ground and academy pitches. Due to these being sand-based, it wasn’t delivering the field longevity we needed, leading to multiple, costly applications per season. I spoke to Headland Amenity’s Sports Turf Specialist Alex Hawkes to try and find something longer-lasting, and he recommended we try H-Cote.”
Headland say the new H-Cote range fills the gap between traditional outfield and fine turf products and offers 3 to 4 month longevity due to the inclusion of high levels (70-91%) of controlled-release nitrogen from Poly sulphur coated urea. This, they say, provides release characteristics that are gentle and sustained, with minimal risk of flushing or excessive growth.
“We first applied H-Cote in September and so far, we have been impressed with the strong, healthy colour and more consistent growth that definitely seems to last for longer.”
Alex has also worked on fine-tuning some of the other tried and tested elements of Ian’s programme, including Headland’s 20/20/30 enhanced plant health strategy.
“I’ve long known about the effectiveness of the 20/20/30 approach and welcomed the opportunity to introduce it across both our King’s Park training ground and the Vitality Stadium pitch. This winter, Alex suggested incorporating Mantle manganese/zinc formulation into the mix to further suppress the ability of disease to take hold and this seems to have made a significant difference. We managed to get through what was a difficult period for sports turf weather-wise, without the need to spray any fungicides which not only saves us money but, as a ground team, feels like we’ve made a massive step in the right direction.”
ROBOTS REINVIGORATE HATFIELD HOUSE LAWNS
Installation completed by RT Machinery
Head Gardener at Hertfordshire’s Hatfield House, Andrew Turvey, has praised Husqvarna's Automower saying their use has proved a terrific success.
Hertfordshire’s Hatfield House has deployed a number of robotic lawnmowers over the past year in order to maintain the property’s lawns - a decision which they say has proved a terrific success.
Built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to King James I, Hatfield House is a beautiful Jacobean property and popular tourist attraction, meaning the grounds of the house must be pristine at all times.
It is here where head gardener, Andrew Turvey, saw an opportunity in 2018 to galvanise the house’s gardens through the installation of Husqvarna Automower, following a Husqvarna demo day in North London organised by long-term machinery suppliers and authorised dealers RT Machinery, and then an on-site demonstration by the RT Machinery and Husqvarna teams.
Andrew took the opportunity to test two Automower products on the north side of Hatfield House - a location which was challenging for the grounds team to maintain due to a number of islands and a water feature. After seeing the robotic mower successfully manage green spaces in Edinburgh, Andrew felt it was time to see what the product could bring to Hatfield House.
RT Machinery completed the complex installation in April 2018, which meant them installing guide wires and circling no short of 20 trees on the lawn. The complex installation meant the robotic mower was able to map out the lawn and optimise its mowing pattern in order to achieve the best finish possible, even in areas with poor drainage and the spaces which the Hatfield House team historically found it challenging to mow.
A little over 12 months since the installation, Andrew speaks glowingly about the impact Husqvarna’s product has had.
Andrew commented, ”The robotic mowers have performed beyond anything we could have expected and have truly changed the way we go about our gardening here at Hatfield House. By using these products we have reduced the amount of petrol and diesel we use. The areas which our robotic mowers are working see high footfall and customers are often amazed by them - wondering where the grass goes and commenting on how quiet they are. Grass quality has actually improved as the mowers provide a very even and consistent finish across the lawn - the regular mowing encourages the sward to stand up rather than lay down, making our lawns look fantastic.
”The two mowers we currently have cover 90% of the grass on the north side of the house and save us roughly 4 hours per week. This means we can redeploy our highly skilled workers on more technical and enjoyable jobs. Our horticulturalists, for example, can work more on making the garden look stunning for visitors.
”We are so impressed with Husqvarna Automower we have recently increased our fleet to nine machines and it’s expected that by the end of the year we will have 11 managing lawns around Hatfield House. This is the best commendation I can give.”
With the additional robots now installed, Hatfield House was the first UK commercial user of the newly launched Automower AWD, with 2 machines cutting areas that had to be managed by teams with grass trimmers previously.
Andew added: ”Each morning I check the status of the mowers from my phone, making sure I’ve not received any notifications. This again saves so much time and gives me peace of mind that the lawns are being taken care of without having to watch what is happening at all times.”
Andrew has also taken advantage of Husqvarna’s battery equipment, benefiting from the Fleet Services applications to remotely manage each machine.
JOHN DEERE ACQUIRES GOLF TECH COMPANY
OnLink software platform
As a result, John Deere will acquire the OnLink platform and service agreements with all existing OnLink customers.
John Deere has announced the acquisition of OnLink, a golf course performance optimisation software platform based in the US.
As a result, John Deere will acquire the OnLink platform and service agreements with all existing OnLink customers.
OnLink is a cloud-based golf course management platform that enables golf courses to collect data and manage equipment, labour, water, chemicals, nutrients and playing conditions.
“We know that data-driven decision making is key to improving agronomic outcomes and financial returns for our golf customers,” says Manny Gan, John Deere’s director of global golf sales and marketing. “This acquisition allows us to continue developing the OnLink platform with the data knowledge we’ve already built, to deliver insightful information to our customers.”
John Deere first began its relationship with OnLink in 2017 when it announced a collaboration with the company. With this acquisition, OnLink will become integrated into John Deere’s suite of technology solutions.
“We are proud and honoured to have an industry leader acquire our software platform,” says Walt Norley, OnLink founder and CEO. “Current and future OnLink users will have the benefit of John Deere, and its strong dealer network, to scale up the platform for further value and efficiency.”
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COVENTRY UNIVERSITY'S EDIBLE GARDEN SUCCESS
2006 - present
The grounds team at Coventry University have found an edible garden to be a very useful educational tool for their apprenticeship scheme with the apprentices doing much of the propagating and growing of the stock.
Back in 2006, Coventry University, in common with other higher educational institutions and local authorities, were continuing the age old tradition of “seasonal” bedding schemes with such winter plants as polyanthus and pansy’s being replaced each June with geraniums, salvias and begonias etc. In the summer of 2006, as a bit of fun, four courgette plants were added to a square planter otherwise traditionally planted for summer. This caused quite a stir amongst the staff and students of the University with the garden team receiving many questions as to “why?” and “can we eat the fruit?”
What was noted by the gardeners was that people suddenly wanted to engage in conversation with the team and this simple act of talking about four courgette plants lit a fuse that ultimately would become the edible garden that we see today.
This initial reaction to the courgettes led the following year to the garden team designing and planting a summer bedding scheme purely out of vegetables with the aim of producing an attractive and productive planting that would continue to engage with the staff and students.
The interest in this “strange” planting increased throughout the summer of 2007 and it was decided that they would “take the plunge” into a full “edible garden” the next year. An area of lawn and overgrown shrub bed was earmarked as the most suitable site for the garden as it sat within the very heart of the campus and would be visible to the majority of people within the University community and the general public who transverse the grounds on their way into town.
During the winter of 07/08 the shrubs were removed and the soil improved with plenty of compost and manure. “Bug hotels” were made and installed by the team and a simple design of edibles and nectar rich flowers was put together and planted in the spring of 2008. Much of the produce was grown in-house by the team at their nursery.
Although very popular it soon became apparent during the early years that it was just too small for the interest that it generated and that they would need to think bigger. So over the intervening years the garden has undergone two further expansions, first in 2012 and then again in 2017. It now boasts 13 dedicated raised beds for the growing of vegetables, soft and hard trained fruit lines, raised herb beds and borders choked full of plants for pollinators. A bespoke notice board and an ornamental beehive were added last year, and more seating will be included this summer.
The nearby raised brick borders which mark the entrance look stunning, as does the 270 year old olive tree which welcomes visitors into the garden.
The first enlargement of the garden in 2012, showing the “beehive” design to the herb garden
Produce for the edible garden being grown at the grounds nursery
In 2013 as part of the “central campus” the garden was awarded Green Flag status for the first time - an award it maintains to this day.
The grounds team have also found it to be a very useful educational tool for their apprenticeship scheme with the apprentices doing much of the propagating and growing of the stock at the nursery, providing an excellent work-based learning opportunity in good horticultural techniques.
The original concept for the garden was to create a green space that would help people to engage with the land between the buildings, to encourage them to stop, relax and take five minutes out of their busy day, maybe pick some produce to take home or even to sit and revise in peace. The team feels that the garden has achieved this and more.
A walk through the garden now and vistors will experience a garden that has developed in the last decade into a fine example of how to combine the practical growing of produce within a very attractive setting, and highly suitable for biodiversity in the built environment.
Walking through the garden today, people will see climbing squashes and beans, kale, carrots, parsnips, fennel and salad crops amongst many other varieties of edibles, bumblebees and other pollinators busy bustling around the many flowering plants and of course many members of the university staff and students using the garden not only for the produce but, far more importantly, for the opportunity to engage with nature, to relax and to meet colleagues or friends for lunch.
This vibrant space sat within a busy and bustling campus has managed to engage people like no other garden around the campus. It has been used by students for research and local schools have visited for ideas for their own edible gardens - but more important than all that, it just makes people happy to be outside and proud to be part of the University community.