The Groundsman

July 2015

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27 the Groundsman July 2015 the complete surface. This will continue on the west side up to around late March." There are four MLR 100 rigs and they can travel across the whole pitch in just three moves, if required. A smaller rig is used for areas such as the goalmouths. RWC2015 standard A very busy and intensive use of the pitch will take place this September as the Amex Stadium is selected to host two World Cup Rugby games featuring sides from South Africa, Samoa, Japan and the USA. These games will require different pitch linemarking and Steve and his team are ready for the challenge. "We will use the same machines and paints as agreed with the Rugby World Cup organisers," says Steve. "The stadium pitch is marked out for football matches using a transfer wheel machine and Duraline Stadia and Standard paints. These give us an excellent bright line and the lasting qualities we require. For the training grounds however, where we have multiple pitches, we have four iGO machines that apply Impact XP ready-to- use spray marker paint. All our staff like these machines; they are easy to use and allow us to apply lines very quickly." At the training complex, a BLEC Combinator removes waste organic matter such as dead/damaged grass tissue build up from the natural turf surfaces. Topdressing is undertaken using Mansfield MM45 and Redhill45 sand at between 20/40 tonnes per pitch. Aeration is by Wiedenmann and Toro machines with solid/hollow tines as required, and the surface is drag matted and overseeded, again including R14 over the whole site using a BLEC Multiseeder This is followed by an 8-12-8 pre-seeder fertiliser. The complex features a drainage system that collects rainwater from all the pitches, which is stored to irrigate the complex and eliminates any risk associated with building on a vulnerable flood plain. The water is recycled through reed beds that cleanse the water, which is held in two irrigation tanks with a capacity of 1,400m 3 . In the summer, as much as 600,000 litres of water per day can be used to irrigate the training pitches. Nutrition of the pitches is undertaken throughout the summer using a multi- phased release programme based partly on a 14-2-7 granular fertiliser. This is applied at fortnightly intervals. Activate is incorporated into this programme to assist in the retention of nutrients within the rootzone. In the Autumn, a 10-2-20 granular fertiliser programme is used and part of this is supplemented by applications of Amino-Form XL and the liquid iron Magnet Rapide for enhanced colour. Turf disease is not a major problem but as fibre- lastic surfaces can be prone to Leaf Spot, Steve applies Razor and Eland as part of a preventative spray programme. Applications are applied using a Hardi 8m boom equipped with Bubble Jets, which reduce drift and ensure a more accurate targeting of the products being used. Steve has the usual headaches common to most groundsmen; changing weather patterns and the balance of pitch maintenance versus pitch usage but he has an excellent working relationship with the club's manager and coaches. He also receives good advice and reports as required from Richard Gibbs, the STRI's head of stadia design. The Amex card's catchline of 'Realise the Potential' does, indeed, sum up the achievements of Steve and his groundscare team. l The Amex Stadium pitch needs supplementary lights in shaded areas Richard Fry is marketing director at Rigby Taylor ( About the Author

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