The Groundsman

January 2013

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42 PRODUCT SHOWCASE the Groundsman January 2013 In action A selection of groundscare products in use 'in the field' Fertiliser at the right pitch Multigreen slow release fertiliser from Headland Amenity is helping to keep cricket pitches in top condition at Kings' School Canterbury. The eight-hectare Birley's Field at St Stephens is the school's main playing field and is used for rugby, football, hockey, lacrosse, cricket, athletics and rounders. There are hard courts for tennis and netball, an artificial grass hockey pitch (also used for tennis courts), a grass athletics track, three grass cricket squares, artificial grass wickets and 24 practice cricket wickets. With rugby pitches used as cricket outfields in the summer, a quick turnaround is required to get the turf back in pristine condition. "We're on 8m of clay with minimal topsoil so it can be a challenge to produce top quality playing surfaces," explains head of gardens and grounds, Mark Collins, who has been at the school for 20 years, "Yet we rarely get any cancellations and visitors often comment on how good our outfield is." He attributes the even, consistent cover to his use of Multigreen 20-0-32 temperature-controlled release fertiliser, which provides cost-effective nutrition in a single application lasting a whole season. After a priming period which offers immediately available nutrients to help with recovery and ensure pitches look pristine for the start of the autumn season, the polymer coated Multigreen prill only releases nitrogen and potash when temperatures exceed six degrees centigrade, in line with the optimum conditions for grass growth. "We put Multigreen on at 35g/m2 in the autumn and sometimes in the spring and it gives the turf a consistent, slow regular feed which avoids growth flushes that you get with other products," he explains. "The steady growth is beneficial to us – we mow every day, and it makes for less clippings, which in turn minimises thatch development." He adds that in the winter, Multigreen offers good recovery over a long period, lasting into the spring and helping the pitches withstand the battering of a heavy winter sports fixture list. www.headlandamenity.co.uk Mark Collins (left) with head coach Simon Willis Fast aeration for rugby pitches BLEC's new Axarator high-output, lowcost aeration system has proved a success for contractor Bill Ellis at Horsham Rugby Club. He treated six pitches in less than a day with the new low-maintenance aerator fitted to a tractor with threepoint linkage. He used the 2.5m model with 60 seven-inch (18 cm) special heat-treated blades the shape of axe heads, welded in sequence to a cylindrical drum. These create deep pockets and a sideways movement in the ground, producing an excellent decompacting action. The drum can be filled with water for extra weight. Because of the spread weight, the Axarator is ideal for ground that is wet, leaving no spoil but cuts in the ground which are wedge shaped. The Axarator also comes in 1.8m and 3m models. www.blec.co.uk Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions Slits generated by the Axarator

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