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.”