The Groundsman

May 2014

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TOP TIPS 47 the Groundsman May 2014 Visit for more information and digital editions As is the case all year round, our maintenance regime throughout June on our 22 acres of sports pitches (plus lawns, grass banks and more than 4,000 trees) will be dictated by the weather. However, the football and rugby pitches (five for football and two for rugby, which are normally occupied until the end of May) are now being freed up so we will start our renovation programme, moving from pitch to pitch as each becomes available. We begin by reinstating the levels, especially the low spots on high-wear areas like the football goalmouths and the linesmen's runs. These will receive a 70/30 topdressing mix then will be reseeded with either Limagrain MM60 or Johnsons Premier mix. The whole pitch will then be thoroughly renovated; a programme of aeration then scarifying to remove any thatch, followed by overseeding. After three weeks we then apply a topdressing of 50 tons of washed sand per pitch, which matches the existing soil particle size. Full play/use is normally resumed on a renovated pitch after six-eight weeks. The synthetic surfaces – we have a 3G Desso Pro Challenge rubber crumb and a newly-layed sand-dressed ATP pitch – are tackled on an ongoing basis, but June often sees both having a deep clean (by a contractor). This is complemented by a daily, all-year-round programme of power sweeping the ATP also brushing/raking of the 3G pitch and general inspections along with daily litter picking . This is also the time of year (weather permitting, of course) for thorough checks on the weeds: we would normally apply total weedkiller to both synthetic surfaces and, depending on weather (it must not be too hot), the natural grass pitches also receive a broad spectrum selective weed killing programme. With temperatures (hopefully) rising, we now also keep a close eye on the need to irrigate the natural playing surfaces. We use a mobile irrigation system and we have already ensured that the tank is full and ready to use whenever required. All our pitch maintenance actions are based on the weather patterns at the time and the bookings in place for the use of the pitches (natural and synthetic), complemented by an ongoing programme of regular pH readings and soil profiling as well as regular mowing, sometimes once or twice a week, to always 30 mm high. Les Gibbs, the 2011 IOG Groundsman's Groundsman of the Year and grounds manager at the University of South Wales Sport Park, outlines what he and his team will be doing next month at the 32-acre site University challenge In addition, of course, one eye has also to be kept on the administrative side of the job, which includes: • The management of a machinery replacement programme • The specifying and monitoring of any work carried out by contractors • The implementation of the health and safety policy – as well as risk assessments, COSHH, manual handling, inventory, equipment/ancillary items quotations and ordering; plus • Monitoring of hygiene levels in the pavilion changing rooms, and • Staff induction, training, appraisal (twice a year) and mentoring. Les points out that the site is heavily used, with football and rugby dominating, it is the Cardiff Academy ground and is regularly used by the Welsh Football Trust, Neath FC and various community groups. Until recent years, it was the training ground for Cardiff City FC and has been used by the Welsh national football squad and overseas teams like Lazio. In addition, it is home to the Pontypridd rugby club and the Blues Academy and has hosted most overseas national rugby squads, including those from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Samoa and Japan. And, of course, the pitches are extensively used by the university students. l TOP TIPS

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