The Groundsman

July 2013

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20 AHEAD OF THE GAME the Groundsman July 2013 Rangers in the spotlight Richard Fry talks to Ibrox Stadium head groundsman David Roxburgh about his combined turf care approach to encourage turf growth within a shady environment By: Richard Fry Ibrox pitch, one of the most shaded stadiums in northern Europe brox Stadium – home to Rangers FC - boasts UEFA 5-star standard, yet despite being regarded as a superb sporting arena the pitch is one of the most shaded in northern Europe. The lack of sunlight results in the pitch being in 100 per cent shade during the winter months, which creates a dull, damp and cold growing environment. "When entering the stadium from outside it is like entering into a darkened room," says head groundsman David Roxburgh. "Grass growth stops at the end of November and doesn't start until April the following year. This lack of growth can I cause bare surface in a very short space of time. Even on the longest day of the year, when the sun is at its highest point, 20 to 30 per cent of the pitch is still in shade." These low light conditions are compounded by the fact that the temperature in the winter months can drop to as low as -20˚C with the average temperature being just 2 to 3˚C. "During the winters, frost can be a huge problem before a scheduled game, so when frosty conditions are forecast, Evergreen covers are placed on the pitch on a Friday night and the undersoil heating turned on," David explains. Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions Let there be light The answer for Rangers FC has been to introduce lighting rigs to provide artificial lighting to the turf surface. "We had been using lighting rigs with success for some time when we were approached by Turf Lighting Rigs (TLS) to test a prototype that promised technological advantages over the original rigs we were using," David says. After a thorough consultation with experienced rig-using groundsmen, the company has produced more robust, lightweight and easily manoeuvrable rigs. Manufactured in corrosionresistant aluminium, three models are available - an 80, a 160 and a 400 -

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