The Groundsman

March 2015

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ith recent weather patterns making it difficult to alleviate pitch areas with standing water by using tractor-mounted machines, the head groundsman at Sheffield Wednesday FC, Andy Thompson, trialled Toro's ProCore 648 – a pedestrian unit that puts a lot less weight on the playing surface. Aerating both the wet and shaded areas of the pitch, Andy was impressed by the results so he subsequently placed an order for a new machine with Toro distributor, Lely UK. As a prestigious stadium that has played host to a World Cup, European Championship, two League Cup Final replays and 28 FA Cup semi-finals, ensuring that Hillsborough is match- ready is vital, says Andy. W "Back in November, when it was particularly wet, we used the ProCore to help alleviate a wet patch with standing water," he explains. "Without the machine, the pitch would have been too wet to play. Players, fans and TV spectators will not tolerate a playing surface that does not look or play as they have come to expect, so wet patches are an issue we have to solve." Worked with both 13mm and 19mm solid tines to depths of around 90mm, the ProCore is used at least once a week to keep the rootzone profile open, with the far side of the stadium that is most shaded often seeing a twice- weekly pass with the machine. This heavy use has significantly improved the pitch; its condition and playability having been enhanced since regular aeration has taken place. Although a tractor-mounted aeration system is suitable for some pitches, the high work rate of the pedestrian ProCore 648 has earned these machines a growing following for winter sports turf care. Andy points out that while the machine comes with what may seem a high price point, regular aeration can make all the difference between water getting away and the pitch being fit to play – making the investment worthwhile. l Players, fans and TV spectators will not tolerate a playing surface that does not look or play as they have come to expect " " Regular aeration has improved the condition and playability of the pitch The ProCore is used at least once a week to keep the rootzone profile open AWARD SPONSOR 29 the Groundsman March 2015 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions

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