The Groundsman

June 2015

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Page 14 of 51

Visit for more information and digital editions IOG BEST PRACTICE 15 the Groundsman June 2015 BBC TV, while an international group of post-graduate students have also visited the club as part of an Imperial College (London) study entitled Climate-KIC. And a project is now underway with local A Level students (from the Newent Community School) who are using Stewart's regimes on their own football pitch to help investigate the use of biology in solving environmental problems. In addition, other local schoolchildren aged from 5/6 to 16- year-olds also regularly visit New Lawn as part of their sessions for the club's Fit 2 Last initiative. This teaches the benefits of sport, health and sustainability through tailored lessons, tours and school visits to the club. All the Fit 2 Last activities have been designed in conjunction with the National Curriculum for every Key Stage group, with an emphasis on PE, geography and science subjects. "With some of the players present and because football is at the heart of the presentations, the children are immediately enthused," continues Stewart. "But we also talk to them about recycling, our electric cars, the [Etesia] robot mower, healthy eating and how their personal intake of, say, copper, magnesium and calcium can also be similarly 'translated' into how I feed the pitch. Indeed, because they also start asking me about my background, they can also see a potential career pathway for themselves. "These projects with the schoolchildren are very exciting," says Stewart. "Apart from presenting biology lessons, the A Level work on the school pitch also involves PQS (performance quality standards) criteria such as measuring grass cover, root depth, thatch levels and soil moisture levels, as well as plant photosensitivity. The work has shown the youngsters that groundsmanship is not just about cutting grass; that it's about science in the widest sense. "The schemes really are a blueprint for introducing youngsters to the industry and, who knows, some of them could be our grounds professionals of the future." The A Level project, which is supported by equipment/service donations by companies that Stewart has excellent relationships with – Dennis/Sisis, Laverstoke Park Laboratories, Martin Lishmann, Rigby Taylor, Severn Amenity Services and Symbio and Carbon Gold – has just reached the end of its first year and, says Stewart "we're now setting the benchmarks for future 'measurements'; the aim now is to carry the project forward and obtain year-on-year comparisons". No waterlogging The New Lawn pitch, he continues, is now 'behaving' as expected, one year earlier than forecast. "This past season it has had more usage than ever but it has retained better grass coverage. The pitch was established in 2006 and it was found to have less than 65mm of topdressing in places on top of a solid clay base that contained lots of rubble and few reinforcing bars. We dealt with that, installing new drainage at 6m centres and sand slitting at 1m centres, then adding 80 tonnes of sand initially, and 180 tonnes and 90 tonnes in the successive years. "Since then, with regular (annual) sandbanding and slitting (inserting sand slits every 50cms using the Sisis Autoslit – "a great piece of kit") the drainage has improved tremendously and, in fact, this last season is the first time we've not cancelled any games due to waterlogging. It's been a drier season, yes, but we've had more water 'off' the pitch [Stewart monitors and measures everything concerning pitch maintenance and management – see panel item on page 17]. t Units mm mm mm Length of grass Total ground cover Bare areas Poa annua Weeds Pests incl. Worms Diseases Root depth Thatch Rootzone depth Evenness 3m straight edge Gradient Length / 3m Gradient Across / 3m Compaction Comments Weather conditions Temperature Moisture pH Water % % for Black layer zones 28 96 16 29 0 0 85 7 150 4 47.7 Slight 24 77 34 19 0 0 112 5 140 4.5 55.2 Slight 20 69 47 12 0 0 126 3 95 4.6 53.1 Slight 26 84 22 19 0 0 115 5 110 4.9 58 24 69 40 27 0 0 145 5 90 4.8 51.3 Slight 26 53 51 19 0 0 145 6 120 4.7 49.2 Slight 24 46 64 15 0 0 80 3 75 4.5 52.3 24 80 26 24 0 0 135 5 120 5.4 52.3 22 78 43 20 0 0 96 5 95 4.9 56.8 larger 28 92 16 21 0 0 115 4 120 2.8 31.5 24.6 74.4 35.9 20.5 0 0 0 115.4 4.8 111.5 0 4.51 50.74 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Average Slight sign of leaf spot wind burn damage on tips of leaf after frost damage and - wind chills Cold, cloudy day New Lawn's Performance Quality Standards, February 2015

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