The Groundsman

November 2012

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the Groundsman November 2012 MULTI-SPORTS 29 One part of Charterhouse's extensive sports facilities Accomodating more than 800 pupils and more than 25 different sports, the usage rates at Charterhouse are extremely high – for example, all Under School pupils devote a minimum of two afternoons a week to sport. In addition there are commitments to be met with Charterhouse Enterprise (CEL), the school's commercial division that is responsible for managing various lettings and charitable fundraising events – of which there are many. These include cross-country and athletic trials, football training and coaching courses, and regular users of the school's tennis, cricket and lacrosse pitches. Of course, such a schedule places enormous non-stop challenges on the grounds team, especially during the changeover periods for different sports. "The pitches – all of them have to look and perform at their best and, year on year, the team continues to deliver," says David. This commitement was recognised at last years IOG Industry Awards ceremony. "Managing the changeovers between seasons and sports can be a major challenge," says David, "but with careful planning and expert groundsmanship, we handle it." He adds: "One significant problem in recent years – and one that has now been largely overcome – was thatch. But a concerted programme of deep scarification and aeration has made a huge difference, and involved using various machines, including in-house developed units to our pitch standards. "The removal of thatch has not only improved our overseeding germination rates, it has also helped with fertiliser application. The fact that the fertiliser is now more able to penetrate the soil, rather than sit in the thatch, has noticeably improved the health and aesthetics of the sward." David has found that grass species, such as fescues and smooth-stalked meadow grasses (in use is a tailored mix provided by DLF/Johnsons) thrive in the site's acidic sand-based soil. Also, he says, a range of Soil Harmony Bios products and wetting agents have produced good results in recent years. s

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