The Groundsman

November 2012

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the Groundsman November 2012 FOOTBALL 35 bookings from across the globe through until 2013. In addition, there are plans to accommodate Rugby Union training and matches in the future which will add further anomalies to the wear and tear of all the surfaces. "There will be no luxury of a closed season for extensive renovations," Alan says. "We intend to keep a pitch free at all times in order to rotate use to allow for regular mini-renovations. But that still leaves a combined total in the region of 150-160 hours of play a week across the park. To take a pitch out for 10 weeks will be a rare occurrence for the foreseeable future." Campey provided several pieces of kit for Alan to trial before purchasing; the Imants Shockwave, Coremaster Xtreme, Koro Recycling Dresser and Koro Field Top Maker are excellent at achieving good results quickly with the minimum of downtime. The Koro Field Top Maker was used extensively during the initial renovation stages to strip the pitches back to a clean rootzone and will be used again for the mini renovations. For Alan, certain pieces of maintenance machinery stand out as being essential to maintaining the highest standard of playing surface. "The combination of Imants RotoSweep and verti-cutting is proving invaluable," he says. He uses this every month to remove thatch and weeds and to give a light aeration to a depth of 5 mm. It picks up debris and loose herbage, and has prevented a build-up of algae, keeping the surfaces clean and healthy. There are just 13 ground staff responsible for the entire site – seven of whom are permanent. "We will be looking to increase this number in the future," says Alan, "but for now we have to be disciplined in where we allocate our resources. So the Dakota Turf Tender is an enormous asset because it allows us to topdress fast and with accuracy and spread width. We can afford to topdress little and often." Premier League seminar success Rigby Taylor's Premier League Seminar at St George's Park was attended by groundsmen from the Premier League and Wembley Stadium. As well as being educational, the event created an environment where professionals could share experiences and tour of the new site where Rigby Taylor is the main supplier of turf management products. Dr Colin Fleming from Belfast University and Stephen Silvester of Eagle Green Care kicked off the day's events with an in-depth look at nematodes. Colin highlighted the importance of using biostimulants, such as Activate R, to reduce turf stress for their long-term control. Other speakers included Tony Holt from Linemark UK, Nick Smith from Pro Leisure, John Mallinson of J.Mallinson (Ormskirk), Geoff Yelland from AmegA Sciences as well as Andrew McMahon from Rigby Taylor. An outdoor demonstration with John Mallinson featured one of the company's Koro Top Drains in action, and Pro Leisure demonstrated some of its high-tech test equipment used in the Pro Pitch System. A much-anticipated part of the day was a tour of the St. George's site by Head Groundsman Alan Ferguson. Tony Sinclair, Grounds Manager at Manchester United, said: "I enjoyed the day, it was a good set up and I'm very impressed with the new training camp. We had some useful information given to us, especially on nematodes, because that's a big problem for all groundsmen. It was interesting to hear about the linemarking and we use the Stadium paint from Rigby Taylor anyway."

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