The Groundsman

January 2016

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AN ENGLISHMAN ABROAD 26 the Groundsman January 2016 Visit for more information and digital editions new stadium pitch every year "From August to May, the Santiago Bernabeu is a football stadium; from June to July, it hosts a myriad of other non- football and corporate events. This means that two weeks before every new La Liga season I have a dead pitch, which needs to be replaced. This season, for the first time, I installed a Mixto carpet (see panel item). This is a 3cm deep carpet, which means that only a relatively shallow top layer is involved in its installation. So far it is holding up really well; I'm very impressed. I'm always looking to try new things; you can't progress unless you do so." A Paul Burgess – building on success at Real Madrid Paul Burgess provides an exclusive update into how his never-ending quest for improvement has seen him crowned as the Asociacion Española de Greenkeepers Professional Football Groundsman of the Year 2014/15 By: Colin Hoskins Training ground developments "We invest 20-30 million Euros every year in new projects at the Real Madrid Sports City facility near Madrid Airport (not all on pitches) and during the last 12 months have constructed two new pitches of fibresand with cork content – making 12.5 pitches; 8.5 being natural grass surfaces - and extended the site's gardens/flora displays by 40,000 sq m to add to the existing 80,000 sq m." [Paul's role means he is responsible for all these areas, too.] So far only 25 per cent of the club's land there has been developed." Changes to grass seed "I've changed two of the existing grass pitches at the training ground, using warm season Bermuda grasses (rather than cool season grass) in an attempt to become more sustainable by reducing water usage and to minimise/eliminate disease to overcome what is already a very limited chemical market. In many ways it's in defiance of science by successfully (at the moment) having two Bermuda pitches sitting alongside 6.5 cool season grass pitches. I'll be watching their progress with interest! "The severe disease pressure here does not compare to that in the UK – I have seen a whole pitch die overnight in Spain! So, I'm forever searching for and selecting rye grasses that are particularly good against Grey Leaf Spot, for instance. I obtain my seed from the USA, always buying individual cultivars (rather than mixes) and I sow a new cultivar in one direction and another in a different direction. This way it becomes immediately clear which cultivar works best." Groundscare practices in Spain "A big difference is the water quality – if you drank a glass of the water I use for irrigation you'd be very unwell. Paul Burgess (insert) with his La Asociacion Esanola De GreenKeepers award. (Main pic) the Santiago Bernabeu stadium pitch is normally replaced every year I'm also heavily involved with the club's pre-season tours (for this season we travelled to Australia and China) " "

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