The Groundsman

August 2012

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the Groundsman August 2012 Northumberlandia turns green The Northumberlandia giant earth sculpture is turning green as the swathes of seed sown across the iconic structure spring to life. DLF Trifolium Johnsons and hydroseeding specialist, CDTS, teamed up to create and apply a bespoke mix that puts the finishing touches to a project that was mooted a decade ago. Privately funded by the Banks Group mining, housing and renewable energy concern, and landowners the Blagden Estate, Northumberlandia is a 34 m high, 400 m long sculpture of a woman set into the landscape on the outskirts of Cramlington. The brainchild of artist Charles Jencks, it celebrates the earth's natural power and the human ability to reshape landscape. In total, 1.5 million tonnes of soil and clay have been moved to create the ambitious work of art. CDTS turned to DLF Trifolium Johnsons to supply a seed mix that met an unusual and challenging brief. The curvaceous lines of the sculpture required a more technical method of seeding and a mix that had to meet a particularly challenging microclimate. "Hydroseeding was the only method that would deliver the results needed," said James Thomson, from CDTS North-West. "The contours and ridges of the sculpture required a seed mix with low maintenance, quick coverage, nitrogen building and something that would green up quickly." Hydroseeding is the process of spraying a mix of seed, mulch, fertilisers and binders on to a substrate that can vary from topsoil to rough rocky faces. The technique is used where conventional seeding isn't suitable because of the nature of the soil or site conditions being too steep or too wet. Microclover was a critical ingredient in the seed mix, he explained. "We've used traditional clover in past projects but the benefit of microclover over larger varieties is its smaller size, which means it doesn't dominate the site but does help maintain high nitrogen levels and reduce weed seed banks, so everything stays nice and green, even in dry conditions." DLF Trifolium Johnsons' Amenity Sales Manager Paul Hadley, who selected the grass and microclover varieties, said: "Microclover was the key as it helps fix nutrients from the atmosphere. In a sloped environment like this, the soil is likely to leech nutrients, so using cultivars that help maintain levels were crucial for it to stay green." Northumberlandia is due to open later this year/early 2013. Bring a touch of class to every surface INDUSTRY NEWS 7 For more information on our full range of grounds maintenance equipment or a no obligation demonstration call 01332 824777 World class turf maintenance equipment

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