The Groundsman

August 2014

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t "It's not unreasonable to describe my outlook as being an obsession with perfection," he says. "We do achieve that, but perfection probably only lasts for a day at a time because we are dealing with living plants [the training complex features flowers, shrubs, trees and a vegetable garden in addition to sports surfaces] that are constantly reacting to their environment and to the local climate, so we similarly have to constantly police what's going on with each pitch and every area of the site and, when necessary, react accordingly as part of our constant quest to achieve the highest standards possible." For example, he adds, nematodes weren't an issue ten years ago. Why are they such a problem nowadays? Is the appearance of such pests (and other diseases) connected to climate change or, perhaps, to the use of lighting rigs? Food for thought. Major renovations – every year In terms of the pitches (at the training ground and the stadium), the high standards of appearance and playability are founded on a major annual renovation which sees the 18 natural grass surfaces being Koro'd every year, while the Desso surfaces – at the stadium and two at the training ground – are 'scratched' with the specialist renovator equipment before being sanded/topdressed and re- seeded. All within an eight-week window. "If we didn't Koro every year we would regret it; by October/November poa annua would be a nightmare and, apart from the mottled appearance of the playing surface, if we left it then patches of the surface would simply start to sheer off as players turned, possibly leading to injuries. That would be totally unacceptable." A contractor (John Hewitt Sportsturf) undertakes the Desso surface renovations because of the requirement for such specialist equipment. But all other work - to the site's natural and artificial surfaces - is carried out by the groundscare team, who are obviously very busy in what is a very short summer window. Because of usage demands – the site is used by the club's schoolboy, Academy/Under 21 and first team squads – the schedule for renovations is staggered to accommodate the start dates for pre-season training and the workload for the grounds team. Merging the gardening team with the grounds teams is a recent change...It avoids any possibility of a 'them and us' scenario and I hope also helps create a much more united team " " Grass Experts Since 1904 Contact your local distributor | 01359 272000 | | BETTER GRASS IS OUT THERE Let the grass experts help you fi nd it Need a quality surface? Whatever your need, Barenbrug has a grass product that will deliver the surface you demand and expect. Quality is our standard. 3 Sports grass seed 3 Landscape grass seed 3 Conservation grass and wildfl owers 3 Golf grass seed IOG BEST PRACTICE 13 the Groundsman August 2014 Visit for more information and digital editions

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