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Less is more for Leigh Golf Club

Robert Ainscough, Head Greenkeeper at Leigh Golf Club in Warrington Cheshire, is perhaps one of a few greenkeepers who boasted clean, disease free greens during a particularly difficult winter period last year.

This was achieved by adhering to a preventative programme using a range of Syngenta fungicides from ICL, which saw him applying less product than he was previously when working on a more reactive basis.

It is fair to say that Robert is passionate about his craft and the young Head Greenkeeper at Leigh Golf Club has had an interesting career in his quest for personal development. As an ambitious 18 year-old he moved to Scotland in order to start his greenkeeping journey at the highly prestigious Loch Lomond Golf Club. He admits that cutting that position fairly short was one of his few regrets in life but he was young, had a girlfriend and in his words he ultimately missed ‘mum’s cooking.’ However, he quickly landed a position at Leigh Golf Club in Warrington, and soon displayed his qualities.

Three years later he was promoted to Deputy Head Greenkeeper but Robert felt that he needed to continue his development further. With this in mind, he emailed Royal Melbourne Golf Club, which is considered to be the pinnacle of golf in Australia. He was offered a two week trial and without hesitation he packed his bags. His trial was quickly extended but unfortunately his visa only entitled him to work for one company for a period of six months. This limitation didn’t stop Robert, and he spent a further year working at Manly Golf Club and Royal Sydney Golf Club.

Upon his return to the UK, Leigh Golf Club contacted him to ask if he would return as Deputy Head Greenkeeper, which he accepted, and then two months later, at the age of just 25, he was promoted to the position of Head Greenkeeper.

Keen to put his own stamp on proceedings, Robert started devising his own maintenance programme which included using a range of new products.

“I had learnt a lot on my travels and I felt I could really help the course,” he says. “At first I wanted to keep things fairly simple and I continued what the previous Head Greenkeeper was doing except I adapted it slightly based on what I had learnt in Australia. I changed the products around and it was at this point that I started using ICL and Syngenta products, such as the growth regulator Primo Maxx and Greenmaster Pro-Lite Cold Start and Sierraform GT fertilizers.

“They made such an improvement that at the start of last year I sat down with Phil Collinson (ICL Technical Area Sales Manager) to devise a full ICL iTurf programme on the greens, tees and approaches and this included a combination of fungicides to help keep disease at bay.

 “This site can get hit really hard with disease,” he continues. “Over the years we have had too many scars throughout the winter and even in April. As a result, we ended up taking a reactive approach and applying products to get rid of the scars but I wasn’t completely satisfied. My whole approach to solve this was to go down the preventative route.”

Last year, Robert started his preventative approach with an application of Banner Maxx just before annual maintenance work on the greens in September. This was followed by an application of Instrata four weeks later and then finally he sprayed the greens with Medallion TL in December.

“The three applications worked incredibly well and the greens were clean and disease free – I even had comments that they were just as good as they are in the summer. Because ICL and Syngenta products are so good it gives me peace of mind as well. I know that I can have the odd weekend off in winter and relax. Now I know that if I go on holiday, I will have confidence knowing that I will be coming back to clean greens without disease.

“This year I plan on sticking to the same programme but with the addition of Instrata Elite. I’ll apply this after the initial application of Instrata before I spray Medallion TL in December.” 

Commenting on the success of the programme, Phil Collinson said: “Robert now has a programme in place which means that he doesn’t have to spray fungicides every three weeks. When people got hit badly with disease, Robert was stood there in February with clean greens – and he actually applied less fungicide than others who were being reactive. He’s a forward thinker who understands that the preventative approach results in clean greens throughout winter.”

Robert admits that it took a while to adjust to the preventative approach, but the results have made it all worthwhile.

“My members want clean greens. The demands to attract new members is also high, so if our greens are clean with no disease then it all helps the cause. Because there were courses in the area who were hit hard with Microdochium nivale, we actually saw an additional 80 members join our club as a result.

“It can feel strange spraying greens that appear to have no disease – but it’s just getting into that mentality. There seems to be a lot of pressure out there and it seems to be a competition as to who has sprayed the less fungicide.

“Obviously you want to put a minimal amount down but we are actually finding we are using a lot less fungicide through the preventive route than what we were previously using when we were being reactive. It’s all about adhering to a well-thought out programme and applying the products at the right time.”

Please contact ICL on 01473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie if you are in Ireland. 

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After embarking on a three-day round journey to attend a Dennis and SISIS bowling green maintenance seminar in Perth, Scotland, Mike Bailey - secretary and treasurer of the Lerwick Outdoor Bowling Club, feels that the club has benefitted in more ways than one.

Founded in 1925, Lerwick is the only outdoor bowling club in the Shetland Islands, and after extensive research, Mike is led to believe that it is the most northerly outdoor bowling green in the world. The green at Lerwick is owned by the council but the bowling club took over the maintenance due to cost-cutting, and while, according to Mike, “it may have looked good to passers-by it was an infrequently cut green and was becoming impossible to play bowls on.”

Determined to improve the green, Mike felt that, even though he had picked up some relevant experience of tending to a cricket pitch for 31 years, he still needed to further enhance his knowledge of maintaining a bowling green.

“I wanted to attend the Dennis and SISIS seminar which was held in conjunction with Bowls Scotland, as my knowledge of bowling green maintenance was limited and the club thought that discussions with the experts could only be a benefit to us all,” he said.

However, it wasn’t a straightforward journey as he explains. “To get to Perth for the mid-morning start, I had to get the car ferry from Lerwick at 5.00 pm the evening before the seminar and had a very rough overnight crossing to Aberdeen which I did not enjoy as I am prone to sea-sickness.  We arrived at 7.00 am and then I drove to Perth arriving in plenty of time for the event. Unfortunately, after the seminar, I could not get back to Aberdeen in time for that evening's sailing so had to stop the night in a Perth hotel before a leisurely drive to Aberdeen the next day.”

Designed to help club greenkeepers and volunteers maintain their bowling greens, the popular seminars have been credited for improving the greens at numerous bowls clubs throughout the country. Combining insightful presentations and practical tips, a number of industry experts take to the stage to discuss a wide range of key topics, and Mike believes that the strenuous journey proved to be worthwhile. Not only did he pick up some essential tips but he also discovered ways on how to source funding – which proved extremely valuable.

“It was well organised, proved very helpful and I managed to seek advice from several experts about greenkeeping. It was also good to look at new, lighter machinery because the council equipment we were using was fairly old and heavy and the majority of our bowling club volunteers, who do the physical work, are pensioners.

“When I gave my report about the trip to our Committee, the idea about a new multi-purpose machine with easily changed cassettes really appealed to them and a fund raising programme was set up with a view to purchasing a Dennis FT510.

“Ironically, representatives from the Big Lottery Fund visited Shetland shortly after the seminar so I approached them about the possibility of obtaining funding for the machine without much expectation of a positive response. However, there was no negativity at all and I informed the council and our Committee that I was going to make an application.

“I was soon informed that we would be getting the full amount of money for the new mower and it arrived a couple of weeks after we had ordered it.”

The Dennis FT510 is highly regarded by many who tend to bowling greens and it is easy to see why. With a 51cm working width, the FT510 provides its user with comfort, flexibility and excellent performance. A true sense of control is obtained through the full variable speed on the rear roller and the drive means that power will not be lost when carrying out tougher jobs such as scarification.

Available with five-bladed and ten-bladed cutting cylinders the machine can be matched to any situation and the interchangeable cassettes can be speedily changed without the requirement of tools. The range of 11 different cassettes mean that one machine can be used for several key maintenance tasks including scarifying, verticutting or brushing. These features combined with the tool-free click system of adjusting the height of cut are all elements which Mike believes has made life easier for the volunteers at Lerwick Bowls Club.

“I had used a Dennis mower at my previous cricket club, so I knew that it would be a reliable, well-made machine.

“The power unit arrived with cutting, scarifier, and verticutter cassettes and has worked up to our high expectations. We hope to get the best results from our proposed autumn work. The speed with which the cassettes can be changed is a real bonus and the whole machine is so much lighter than the one we used previously.”

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact Dennis 01332 824 777 or visit www.dennisuk.com

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New York Red Bulls Praise SISIS Osca

Dan Shemesh, Director of Stadium and Training Grounds for the New York Red Bulls has praised the SISIS Osca 3 which maintains the synthetic turf on one of the club’s training fields.

When Dan Shemesh was looking for a machine that would help take his synthetic turf to the next level, he found the solution in the form of the SISIS Osca 3 tractor mounted oscillating brush.

“We previously had a problem of matted down fibers on the synthetic turf, so I needed a machine which would help revive the laid over fibers,” says Dan. “CS Trading LLC recommended the SISIS Osca and they arranged a demonstration for us. We saw an immediate result both visually as well as through field testing.”

The SISIS Osca 3 is a tractor mounted powered oscillating brush with a 1.9 meter working width and is equally effective when used on synthetic turf with sand or rubber infill. The two oscillating brushes stand the carpet fibers up and redistributes the infill evening, minimizing compaction on the surface and improving its performance – giving consistent playing characteristics while preventing pile damage caused by reduced infill levels.

A contributory factor to the reduction of compaction is that the Osca’s working width will use fewer passes than other more conventional drag brushes to complete a pitch. Its aggressive brushing action agitates the upper infill level of the surface from side to side as well as brushing forward, helping reduce surface compaction and encourage the fibers to stand up straight which reduces the risk of contamination, drainage problems and leaves a consistent playing surface across the whole pitch.

Dan, who uses the Osca on a bi-weekly basis, has reported excellent results since using the product.

“The SISIS Osca is a great machine to keep fibers standing up in synthetic turf and the dual oscillating brushes work in a different way to any other product on the market – in fact that was a key feature in me purchasing the machine.”

“This product will save us money in the long run as it will eliminate the need for bringing in contractors and it will extend the life of our synthetic turf. The Osca is also incredibly simple and easy to operate – we just attach it to our tractor using the correct PTO – and adjust the speed depending on the level of brushing needed.”

“I would absolutely recommend the SISIS Osca to anyone who is looking to improve their synthetic turf – it has now become a staple in our synthetic turf maintenance.”

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact SISIS on 01332 824 777 or visit www.sisis.com

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SALTEX 2017 – The Best Yet

SALTEX 2017 has been hailed as a huge success

A year’s worth of meticulous and strategic planning from show organisers culminated in what is being hailed by many as the best ever SALTEX.

The two-day exhibition has quickly grown to become the premier annual grounds care event in Europe and on 1 and 2 November, the halls of the NEC, Birmingham were a hub of innovation, inspiration and opportunity.

Ahead of the 9am opening, a huge queue of visitors stretched beyond the three mighty halls of 6,7 and 8 and it wasn’t long before the show floor was packed with grounds care enthusiasts from all over the globe.

More than 300 exhibitors showcased their products and services; Learning LIVE, SALTEX’s all-encompassing education programme, featured over 100 high-profile speakers who tackled a number of key issues, and other show features – including Pathology and Soil Science Live, Ask The Expert and the Job Clinic offered invaluable free advice and career progression opportunities. The Outdoor Demonstrations area enabled visitors to see some of the latest equipment in action and attendees also had the chance to see every entry in SALTEX’s new Innovation of the Year Award.

Exhibitors reported constant engagement with a high calibre of attendees across the two day event as visitors immersed themselves in the vibrant atmosphere and unparalleled interaction. The SALTEX buzz was captured by all and social media channels became a frenzy of show photos, selfies, videos and positive comments – so much so that at 11am on 1 November, #SALTEX17 registered as the third most trending topic in the UK.

Furthermore, not a moment was missed through the all new SALTEX TV. Learning LIVE discussions, panel debates and presentations, as well key interviews with visitors, experts and exhibitors were all broadcasted live on four large screens throughout the show floor.

Despite a turbulent year of economic uncertainty, SALTEX successfully united every corner of the grounds care industry. As the only independently-audited show of its kind in the UK, the IOG has never shied away from being transparent with visitor numbers and the official figure will be released as soon as the audit has been completed.

For more information visit www.iogsaltex.com

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SALTEX 2017 Launches Innovation Award

SALTEX 2017 is set to play host to the most technologically advanced equipment showcase in grounds management. With this in mind SALTEX event organisers have decided to hold, for the very first time, an Innovation Award – and visitors will get the chance to see every entry at the show.

Here is a list of the exciting entries:

  • Campey Turf Care Systems - Genny Wren
  • Campey Turf Care Systems - Imants Topdrain 1000
  • Campey Turf Care Systems - Koro FTM c/w Universe Rotor
  • Demon International - LPG Pressure Washers
  • EGO Power+ - BAX1500 battery
  • Etesia UK - Hydro 80 MKHP4 E-Connect
  • Fleet Line Markers Ltd - The MAQA
  • Grillo Agrigarden Ltd - The Grillo FD900
  • GroundsCare Products – Turf Teq
  • GroundsCare Products - ZipLevel
  • Groundwater Dynamics Ltd - The EGRP (Energy Passive Groundwater Recharge Pump)
  • Harrod UK - Stadium Pro Goal Height Adjuster
  • Herbatech SRL - Herbafer Rubisco
  • M Lloyd Engineering Ltd - Rotastar
  • Matrax - Integrated Turf Protection Event Flooring
  • MTD Specialty - Infinicut 34
  • New Ground Technology Europe - TurfPrinter
  • Oregon (Blount UK Ltd) - Gator SpeedLoad
  • Pellenc - ULiB 1500 Battery
  • Pitchmark - Hybrid
  • Rigby Taylor Ltd - Intelligent One
  • Sherriff Amenity - Sherriff Amenity Academy
  • SIS UK - SISGrass Universal
  • SISIS - Javelin Aer-Aid 1500

A panel of expert judges will select the winning product and the winning company will be presented with their award on the first day of the show.

SALTEX 2017 is free to attend. To register your attendance and beat the queues visit www.iogsaltex.com

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MM50 is ACE for Devonshire Park

Following a successful trial period, Danny Negus - head groundsman at Devonshire Park International Tennis Centre in Eastbourne, has decided to use Limagrain’s MM50 grass seed exclusively across all three of the sites he maintains.

Danny has been working with sports turf throughout his whole career and after initially entering the industry as a greenkeeper, eleven years ago he got the opportunity to work within the sport he claims to love.

“I simply love tennis and I think it makes a difference. If you understand what the end use is, you can better perfect your craft. So when the opportunity came up to work at Devonshire Park – I just had to take it.”

Danny has now been the head groundsman at Devonshire Park for the last eighteen months and admits that he is always striving for perfection.

“As the sport of tennis is getting more demanding, players are putting so much into their diets, their mentality and their approach to everything. Therefore it is only fair that we provide a surface for them to play on to do the same. I was looking for a grass seed to beat the standard we were currently at and that is why I decided to embark on the trial work.”

Along with four other members of staff, Danny oversees the maintenance of not just the facilities at Devonshire Park but also the grass courts at the Meads Lawn Tennis Club and Moira House School – both of which are in Eastbourne. These various establishment offered Danny the perfect opportunity to put the seed to the test in three very different conditions – as he explains.

“I trialled Limagrain’s MM50 last year throughout the three sites which consists of approximately 27 courts. We did this because I wanted to see the reaction of the seed on different sites in different conditions. There are a lot of micro climates around here and it enabled us to see how the seed responded in a tournament situation, and also from a club and a professional use. The results I got back from the trials revealed to me that it was absolutely a no-brainer to continue to use MM50 across all three sites.”

Danny is just one of a number of groundsmen who has benefitted from using MM50 as it possesses exceptional shoot density along with tolerance to close mowing making it particularly suitable for grass tennis courts. Other key features include fast recovery from wear and damage and high disease resistance.

This superior mix contains the perennial ryegrass cultivars, Venice, Alison and Malibu, which are renowned for providing a great sward. MM50 is also treated with HEADSTART® GOLD - Limagrain’s unique seaweed based seed treatment which helps to ensure rapid and even germination. This tried and tested grass seed treatment helps the seed get off to the best possible start - therefore it is ideal to use in the less than favourable conditions that can sometimes be found on tennis courts during renovations.

“What impresses me with MM50, is that within three days we can actually start to see the germination process,” says Danny. “This is brilliant for us for when we have a short turnaround time of 15 days between tournaments.

“It has a recovery rate which I am really impressed with - every time that gets knocked the recovery is huge. The colour is fantastic and its reaction to light has been far superior compared to other grasses I have used. I think the blends are really good.

“Simply put, MM50 is the only seed that I use and will continue to use. That is throughout the season - in between the tournaments, any bits of minor renovation works such as baselines and for the main renovation works at the end of the season.”

For further information, please contact Limagrain UK on 01472 371471 or visit the company’s website www.lgseeds.co.uk/amenity

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The Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) has announced that the 2017 winners of the SALTEX College Cup will be given the opportunity to work as part of the grounds team when Scotland host England as part of the 2018 Six Nations Championships, at BT Murrayfield Stadium.

After making its successful debut at SALTEX last year, the College Cup will be returning to this year’s exhibition. Last year’s winners from CAFRE College in Antrim, Northern Ireland, experienced an unforgettable day when they were part of the Wembley grounds team at the showpiece of one of the UK’s most historic sporting competitions – the FA Cup Final.

Sponsored by Ransomes, the national student-led academic test of turf management knowledge, will see teams competing this year to get their hands on the SALTEX College Cup. As well as having its name engraved on the trophy, the winning college will also receive a ‘big’ cheque in addition to a cash prize AND gain work experience at the 124th edition of the illustrious Six Nations Championships.

Commenting on the fantastic opportunity, Alex Latto, assistant head groundsman for Scottish Rugby at BT Murrayfield Stadium, said:

“The winners of the SALTEX college cup will be given the unique opportunity to experience the buzz of working at a Six Nations weekend at BT Murrayfield and the sporting rivalry of the Calcutta Cup always provides a special occasion. They will see and be involved in the pre-match day preparations, where both teams are given training time on the pitch and also the match day itself where the pressure is on to set the stage for a sell-out crowd and millions at home watching on television.

“Both days are a lot of work and provide their own set of challenges so it will give the winners a real insight of an event of this nature and the experience that comes with it. I think it’s important that new entrants to the industry are given the chance to experience what it’s like to work in this type of environment, to learn and gain experience - so for us to be given the chance to do so is something all the grounds team are looking forward to.”

Karen Proctor, International Marketing Manager at Textron Specialised Vehicles, also revealed that Ransomes is delighted to be sponsoring the event for a second successive year.

“We are very pleased to be sponsoring the SALTEX college cup again this year. Last year’s competition was a fantastic addition to the show, and it provides a fantastic opportunity for students to showcase their knowledge. This year’s prize of helping out the ground staff at the Six Nations at BT Murrayfield Stadium is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we are looking forward to seeing which team walks away with the prize!”

SALTEX visitors will have the opportunity to see which team emerges victorious when the SALTEX College Cup winners’ presentations take place on the first day of SALTEX (1 Nov) in Seminar Theatre 1 at 3:30pm.

SALTEX 2017 is free to attend. To register your attendance and beat the queues visit www.iogsaltex.com

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Your Industry – Your Show – Your Voice

Learning LIVE at SALTEX 2017 is set to explore and highlight the burning issues that really matter to the groundscare industry through a unique panel discussion entitled Your Industry, Your Show, Your Voice.

The panel discussion, which is part of SALTEX’s all-encompassing education programme – Learning LIVE, will take place on the first day of the show (1 November) at 10am in Seminar Theatre 1 and will be broadcasted on five large screens situated throughout the show floor.

In the build-up to the event, the industry is being encouraged to submit relevant questions or queries via an online form on the SALTEX website. talkSPORT’s Mark Saggers will then put the questions, randomly drawn on the day, to a panel of leading experts which include Geoff Webb (IOG), Alex Latto (BT Murrayfield), Dougie Robertson (West Ham United FC), Neil Stubley (AELTC Wimbledon), Stuart Kerrison (Essex CCC) and Adrian Kay (York Racecourse).

The session will provide a great opportunity to gain more clarification on topical issues surrounding the industry from several leading professional groundsmen representing a variety of different sports.

To put a question to the panel, simply fill in the online form at www.iogsaltex.com/your-industry-your-show-your-voice/

The form gives you the option to state your name or alternatively you can remain anonymous and simply pose the question.

SALTEX 2017 is free to attend. To register your attendance and beat the queues visit www.iogsaltex.com

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G860 combats heavy usage at Huish Park

With over 50 games a season taking place at the Huish Park Stadium, Yeovil Town FC’s head of grounds Richard Allsworth believes that his new Dennis G860 is the ideal mower to maintain such a heavily used pitch.

Richard has been head of grounds for Yeovil Town FC for the past four years and, along with one other member of staff, tends to the pitch at the main stadium, the first team training ground and the club’s academy facilities. 

“With league and cup games, along with the youth FA Cup and academy games we have at least 50 matches here throughout the season. Plus, this season the ladies team will playing their home games here so that’s probably another nine games. It is busy but it has to be in these leagues – it’s a necessity in order to generate income. Yes, it can make things difficult but I came from the Memorial stadium which shared rugby and football (Bristol Rovers FC and Bristol Rugby).”

It was at the Memorial Stadium that Richard first started using the Dennis G860 mower, and based on his experience; there was only one mower he had in mind when it came to purchasing a new one.

“There is absolutely no contest when looking at mowers. I like the familiarity of having used one for nearly 20 years. It’s always been a fantastic mower and over the years has been subtlety refined – it’s a little bit quieter, a little bit smoother and I like the fact that the box lifts off so you can empty it easily. Essentially it is one unit that you can do lots of jobs with and it doesn’t take much time when adjusting the height of cut or changing cassettes.”

As Richard says, the Dennis G860 comes complete with an interchangeable cassette system in which the user has the option of fitting eleven different types of heads including scarifiers, verticutters, brushes, spikers, and slitters as well as six or eight bladed cutting cylinders.

As part of his maintenance programme, Richard relies on the 8 bladed cutting cassette to get the pitch ready for matchdays. He’ll carry out a double cut on a Thursday, followed by a double cut on a Friday and ensure that grass is at a length of 27mm before kick-off.

He also reported excellent results from the verticutting cassette, which he uses at both the stadium and the training ground.

“I absolutely love the verticutting cassette for grooming the pitch. I tend to use the verticutter once a month before I put down a liquid feed just to clean it out - so that I can expose the leaf, and expose the soil to keep it clean – which is necessary when so many games are played on it.

“I always do it more often in July to really thicken up the turf especially about a week and a half before the first game. It just helps me see exactly how thick the sward is and to give it a chance to fill out.

“We also have real problems with poa annua on both the stadium pitch and the training pitches as there are meadows and silage nearby so it just blows in. Just as the poa is starting to come through I’ll go over it with the verticutter cassette just to try and control it – it works really well.”

With the G860 offering so much versatility in just one machine it is easy to see why they are used not only by professional groundsmen at FIFA World Cups or prestigious sporting stadia, but also by clubs in lower divisions and volunteer groundsmen who tend to local clubs and grass roots pitches. In fact, Richard believes that the G860 proves a cost effective solution for all types of various groundsmen.

“Could I afford to go and get a mower for verticutting and a separate mower for scarifying? Probably not - therefore the G860 offers you the perfect solution.

“It’s light, it is manoeuvrable and it gives a definite stripe. It’s great for presentation and we are presenting the club’s image - the G860 is the perfect mower for this.”

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact Dennis 01332 824 777 or visit www.dennisuk.com

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Sherriff Amenity GoGreen at SALTEX 2017

At SALTEX 2017 Sherriff Amenity will be showcasing two new products in the renowned GoGreen complexed iron range. Visitors to the stand (E060) will also be offered the opportunity to sign-up free of charge to the online Sherriff Academy and find out more about Agrovista’s latest Scottish acquisition – Terra Firma.

Over recent years, professionals in the groundscare and amenity industry have turned to Sherriff Amenity’s GoGreen complexed iron range. Already well known for delivering outstanding results, the GoGreen range boasts the long-lasting iron granules (GoGreen Granules) and in liquid form (GoGreen Plus).

GoGreen Energy and GoGreen Select are the latest products to be added to the unique range of products.

GoGreen Energy is a concentrated bio-stimulant, formulated to assist plant health and relieve stress symptoms in a wide variety of amenity turf situations. It contains seaweed, plant sugars, simple carbohydrates and trace elements that have been specially selected to give optimum results when grass is stressed. The low NPK analysis, complemented by suitable wetting and spreading agents, makes this an ideal component of any turf maintenance programme.

It uses a natural plant-based source of sugars and other carbohydrates that does not require a destructive sterilisation process, such as is mandatory with products containing hydrocarbons derived from animal materials. It can be used all year round and is ideal for large amenity areas or as a pre-game stadia application.

GoGreen Select is a unique complex iron sulphate that may be used as a stand-alone product for rapid greening of turf or more flexibly, as a tank-mix partner with fertiliser and herbicide. Unlike ferrous sulphate and chelated iron, that can react forming precipitate and rendering the spray solution unusable, GoGreen Select is stable and provides a range of spraying options not normally associated with the use of iron.

Visitors to the Sherriff stand will also have the chance to trial the online Sherriff Amenity Academy in which they can sign-up for free. The online Academy has been set up to help improve the UK turf amenity sector stewardship of pesticide and products - keeping the industry up to date with legislation and product information and promoting best practise for all products.

It provides a unique platform for education not only on Sherriff’s products but also on a wide range of areas in turf management. Recognised as the Knowledge Courses, these modules focus on developing skills and understanding of how to manage a sports turf surface.

Throughout the Knowledge Courses, users will gain a greater insight into the methods and operations of certain subjects such as Turf Disease, Product Application, Seed and Turf Pests.

It was recently announced that Sherriff Amenity have joined forces with Terra Firma (Scotland) Ltd - one of Scotland’s largest specialist suppliers to the amenity and local authority markets. The purchase allows the two businesses to combine existing technical expertise and broad product ranges to provide land managers, local authorities, contractors, groundsmen and greenkeepers in Scotland with a full agronomy service, research driven advice, new product innovation and access to an extensive local distribution network.

A number of representatives from Terra Firma will be on the Sherriff Amenity stand to explain how this partnership will benefit those based in Scotland. For any queries or technical advice, members of the Sherriff Amenity team will also be on hand throughout the two day event.

For further information, please contact Sherriff Amenity on 01638 721 888 or visit www.sherriffamenity.com

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Limagrain UK, one of the world’s largest seed companies will be showcasing its impressive range of grass seed mixtures, including the market leading MM60, MM50 and the new exciting MM7 on their stand at SALTEX 2017.

MM is one of the most respected brands in the UK sportsturf and amenity industries and is relied upon at top sports grounds throughout the UK and beyond. With a proven track record of producing the best possible swards, the MM range of grass seed offers an unrivalled performance and appearance.

MM60 is a 100% Ryegrass formula and the UK’s leading winter sports renovation mixture which is also perfect for divot repair. It is also well-known for its extremely fast germination and its high wear tolerance. It produces fantastic aesthetic qualities and its high disease resistance provides ultimate protection.

MM50 is ideal for cricket squares, tennis courts, tees, fairways, outfields and even golf greens. This hard wearing mix has rapid germination, very fine leaved appearance, high shoot density and is tolerant to very close mowing, along with high disease resistance. All these attributes together produce a fantastic sward that has great colour all year round.

MM7 is a new mix of fine leaved Ryegrass, Fescue and Bent which is suitable for use in bowls and golf greens and golf surrounds where extreme wear tolerance is needed.

All mixtures in the MM range, are treated with Limagrain’s HEADSTART® GOLD - a revolutionary grass seed treatment that ensures rapid, even germination.

Research and development play a key factor in Limagrain’s success and the company’s extremely high standards for their products are achieved through rigorous testing procedures in their own licensed seed testing facility. In addition, all varieties used in the MM range have been thoroughly tested at the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI), so you can be sure they will meet your requirements for play, appearance and maintenance.

If you are seeking advice for your natural turf projects - no matter how big or small, then pay a visit to stand number H037 and speak to one of the Limagrain amenity specialists.

For further information, please contact Limagrain UK on 01472 371471 or visit the company’s website www.limagrain.co.uk. You can also follow the company on Twitter: @MM_Seed

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At SALTEX 2017 Dennis & SISIS (Stand E070) will be living up to their reputation of having world-class maintenance equipment for every type of playing surface with a wide range of equipment on show.

Featuring prominently on the stand will be the SISIS Javelin Aer-Aid 1500 – a tractor mounted vertical action aerator offering air injection, which recently gained rave reviews from the STRI (Sports Turf Research Institute). Over a three month period, extensive STRI trials led by Dr Christian Spring were carried out which examined how and if the Javelin Aer-Aid had an effect on the hardness of the turf, the root depth, water infiltration and disease.

“Following successful trials on an established sand based golf green, this aerator, when used as part of an integrated turf management programme, would be a very useful tool for managing soil and plant health. It became obvious that the Aer-Aid improved maximum root and depth within the soil profile and also had the benefit of increasing the depth of the average rooting mass,” said Christian.

SALTEX visitors will also get the chance to see the newly launched Spring Tine Rake cassette – which has been specifically designed for the Dennis G860 cylinder mower. Operators already have a plethora of options through the G860’s interchangeable cassette system, which includes scarifiers, verticutters, brushes, spikers, slitters and six or eight bladed cutting cylinders; and they will be pleased to see the launch of the Spring Tine Rake. This new cassette contains 42 springs with 12mm spacings that can be used for the removal of dead turf matter, cleaning the surface and helping to scratch through the black crust that commonly appears on the surface thus improving drainage.

The SISIS range of pedestrian scarifiers come highly recommended by turf managers, and a number of these products will be featured on the stand such as the Rotorake 600HD and the Auto Rotorake MK5. With a range of interchangeable reels consisting of thatch removal, thatch control and a range of brush reels, the Auto Rotorake MK5 can be used for several different tasks including scarifying, verticutting and brushing. From the same range, the Rotorake 600HD is a heavy duty pedestrian scarifier and linear aerator. This versatile machine is equally at home when used for regular routine use at a shallow setting or a deeper setting when required. It also contributes to aeration and compaction relief by cutting clean, continuous slits by utilising a high tip speed to assist water and air absorption.

For a machine which is equally effective on both natural and synthetic turf then look no further than the SISIS Osca – a tractor mounted powered oscillating brush. Also on the stand will be the SISIS Quadraplay; a single pass maintenance system which incorporates a mounted frame for up to four implements and the SISIS Towed Implement Frame which is designed specifically for daily maintenance of artificial surfaces – it can also be fitted with a number of implements including the Flexicomb and Straight Brush.

Also featuring from the SISIS portfolio is the Autoslit and Multislit, and visitors will get the chance to find out more about these unique products.

The SISIS Autoslit powered deep slitter is a familiar sight in a turf manager’s inventory, and offers deep, clean penetration with minimal surface marking. Possessing the same outstanding qualities as the Autoslit is the SISIS Multislit - a tractor mounted deep slitting lawn aerator. Both machines produce excellent underground cultivation due to the angle of the tines, with the spiral design of the tine shaft assisting penetration. Their simple design also means that they require little maintenance.

Visitors to the joint stand will no doubt already be aware of the highly regarded Dennis FT pedestrian mower series. Available in 17" (43cm), 20" (51cm) and 24" (61cm) cutting widths, the FT series is an interchangeable cassette mower giving options to fit 12 different heads which offers the versatility that is essential for a busy club. The speed and ease of changing these cassettes has made the FT range a firm favourite.

SALTEX attendees can expect to see the Razor Ultra 560 which has a 560mm (22”) cutting width and incorporates many key features including an 11 bladed cutting cylinder, ultra-short wheelbase for undulating surfaces, tungsten tipped groomer, compact handle design for extra manoeuvrability, click height adjusters and stub free transport wheels for easy transport from site to site.

Dennis and SISIS’ experienced and knowledgeable members of staff will be on hand throughout the two days to offer valuable advice about the full range turf maintenance machinery. It will also be a good opportunity for visitors to find out more information about the upcoming educational events for greenkeepers and groundsmen.

Further information about the range of maintenance products available can be found by visiting www.dennisuk.com / www.sisis.com

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SISIS return to FSB

SISIS have announced that they will be exhibiting at FSB Cologne, Germany from 7-10 November 2017 in Hall 10.2 stand B035.

Visitors to the show, which is held every two years, will be able to view a selection of the range of synthetic turf maintenance equipment available from the British manufacturer including the Osca, Brush-Pro, SSS1000 and the TIF complete with Flexicomb and straight brush.

The common misconception is that synthetic surfaces are maintenance free. Just like natural turf surfaces, synthetic surfaces require maintenance as soon as they are constructed if they are to perform to the standard expected of them. Regular and periodic maintenance is required to ensure that the playing surfaces achieve their full life expectancy.

As well as the products being on show, the SISIS team will be on hand to advise on how to prolong the life of synthetic playing surfaces.

SISIS Osca

The SISIS Osca is a tractor mounted powered oscillating brush with a 1.9 meter working width and is equally effective when used on synthetic turf with sand or rubber infill. The two oscillating brushes stand the carpet fibres up and redistributes the infill evenly, minimising compaction on the surface and improving its performance – giving consistent playing characteristics while preventing pile damage caused by reduced infill levels.

A contributory factor to the reduction of compaction is that the Osca’s working width will use fewer passes than other more conventional drag brushes to complete a pitch. Its aggressive brushing action agitates the upper infill level of the surface from side to side as well as brushing forward, helping reduce surface compaction and encourage the fibres to stand up straight which reduces the risk of contamination, drainage problems and leaves a consistent playing surface across the whole pitch.

SISIS Brush-Pro

The SISIS Brush-Pro is a ride-on brushing system comprising a pair of mid mounted oscillating units and three rear mounted brush units that that have been specifically designed for maintaining synthetic surfaces. The machine has been designed for maximum manoeuvrability and operator comfort which features an electric start, hydrostatic drive for forward/reverse and its brush combinations - oscillating for thorough periodic work and rear mounted brushes for more routine work.

SISIS SSS1000

The SISIS SSS1000 is a tractor mounted sweeper which can be pulled by any machine. There are no tools required for the adjustment of the brush or the angle of the draw bar and to make storage easy the draw bar lifts to an upright position. With an aluminium hopper with stainless steel mesh, any infill that is collected when using the machine is returned back down to the surface leaving it free from contamination of debris.

SISIS TIF with Flexicomb and straight brush

The Towed Implement Frame (TIF) is a towed brush combination system which is ideal for regular maintenance of synthetic surfaces. The Flexicomb and straight finishing brush combination is recommended for both sand and rubber infill surfaces. The Flexicomb ensures even distribution of infill and lifts the carpet pile while the straight brush produces a smooth level and eye-catching presentation. For rubber crumb surfaces a more aggressive brushing is required and this can be achieved by adjusting the crossbar on the Flexicomb to stiffen the bristles.

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact SISIS on 01332 824 777 or visit www.sisis.com

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Ed Stant, Course Manager at Trentham Golf Club in Staffordshire believes that two ICL products have been integral in maintaining the health of the course without excessive grass growth.

Trentham Golf Club is one of the oldest and most respected clubs in England and its course is considered one of the finest. This prestigious club, which has over 400 members, has played host to Open Championship Qualifying, England Golf and Staffordshire County events for both men and ladies, most recently the English Champion Club in 2014 and the English Women's Open Amateur Match Play Championship in July 2015.

Ed has been Course Manager at Trentham for nine years and oversees the maintenance of the course along with his seven members of staff. However, due to the geographical position of the club, maintaining the health of the turf is not always straight forward according to Ed.

“Up here we just seem to be a bit behind in terms of the weather; I used to live in Walsall which is only 35 miles away, and we are always a couple of weeks behind that area, especially when coming out of winter – it is bizarre. It just seems to take a bit longer for soil temperatures to come up – for example we had snow and hailstones in April and May this year.

“When I was first interviewed for the position of Course Manager here, I was asked when I would be able to get the greens to a good standard because previously they hadn’t been good until June. With that in mind my goal is to maintain turf health through the season without excessive growth. They are now good in April and that is down to all the different products we have been using.”

In particular, Ed has reported excellent results from ICL’s Vitalnova Blade and Primo Maxx - as he explains:

“I’m a big fan of Primo Maxx – it is a great product. I think that people forget that it is more than just a growth regulator. It helps with root development and also with the uptake of nutrients. We use it on the greens, the tees and the approaches.

“On the greens I normally apply 200ml every two weeks during the growing season but I might alter that depending on the weather and how they look. If approaches are cut at 9mm then we apply 1 L/ha  and on the tees we apply 1.2 L/ha. In both cases this is applied every four to six weeks.

“We actually had one year off from using Primo Maxx, which tied in with us moving from triple mowing to hand mowing. The plan was to hand mow on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday and just roll on a Tuesday and Thursday - but it just didn’t work. The greens didn’t perform as well.”

While Primo Maxx does help keep excessive growth at bay, Vitalnova Blade, a formulated biostimulant, works to boost microbial activity and encourage better rooting. Combining seaweed, carbohydrates, a small amount of macro nutrients and trace elements, Vitalnova Blade provides a readily available source of carbon together with a range of micronutrients and amino acids which stimulate soil biology and improves all round turf health.

Designed to be used during the growing season, it is a perfect tank-mix partner for Seaweed where the aim is to optimise recovery and maintain a natural colour. When used regularly on sand-based surfaces, Vitalnova Blade offers significant improvements in microbial activity, nutrient recycling and rooting.

“Each year our target is to put down 200 Tonnes of sand on the greens and it has really helped to bring the organic matter levels down,” says Ed. “I mix Vitalnova Blade with some Seaweed and normally apply this from April through to September on a monthly basis – it’s working really well and I’ve noticed that the putting on the greens has improved. I’m seeing a lot of fresh white roots which tells me that it is working.

“A lot of the time you can’t see what is going on underneath unless you are taking soil samples and putting samples under microscopes but essentially Vitalnova Blade helps with root mass, root development and generally the health of the plant.

“For me, it’s important that the products are tested independently – just as the ICL ones are. I think the products you use on your golf course should be looked at the same as your advice on agronomy - they should be backed up by fact and figures. I get great technical expertise from Emma Kilby (ICL’s Technical Area Sales Manager) and I know that ICL products are sold based on research and development and they have evidence to prove exactly what they are selling is working - which you don’t always get from other companies.”

Please contact ICL on 01473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie if you are in Ireland. 

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Nathan Scarff, Head Groundsman at Derby County FC, has revealed that a range of ICL products have helped him achieve his main target of hosting more games at Pride Park Stadium without compromising on the quality of the pitch.

Nathan is entering his third season with The Rams after a hugely successful start to his current role. He was crowned the Sky Bet Championship Groundsman of the Season for the 2015/16 campaign and was one of two Head Groundsmen who were highly commended last season.

However, with the pitch at the Pride Park Stadium in arguably the best condition it has ever been, Nathan and his team won’t be resting on their laurels.

"We are targeting getting more games in the stadium,” he says. “In my first year here we got an extra four games on and the following season we got an extra four games on top of that. This year we are hoping to get around six extra games without compromising on the quality of the playing surface.

“The new pitch construction, which was installed last season, combined with quality products, has enabled us to do just this, and I’m feeling confident for the upcoming season.”

Ever the perfectionist, when Nathan started his new role, he was determined to find a range of products that would be most beneficial to the pitch at Pride Park Stadium and there was only one way to find out.

“When I first started here we used four different fertilizer suppliers and monitored them based on the reaction of the plant, the longevity of the product, the value for money - in terms of the amount we needed to get the reaction and how much it was costing. We experimented for most of the year - which included trial boards in which we treated one area while leaving another un-treated, and we did half pitch treatments – we carried out a number of different trials. All of the results just led us down one road - ICL.”

After a season of rigorous testing, Nathan was ready to look ahead to a new season in which he would incorporate a range of ICL products into his turf maintenance programme.

“During the renovation period and immediately after seeding, I’ll use a tank-mix consisting of Qualibra and SeaMax – just to get the best possible germination and early establishment. Four weeks later we will verticut and overseed to get any little gaps that may have been missed, particularly in the areas where we struggle to get any sunlight, and then we’ll add another application of Qualibra and SeaMax,” he said.

The unique combination of SeaMax and Qualibra work together to give turf the best possible start. Qualibra – a wetting agent, creates ideal soil and turf rooting conditions to make better use of available moisture and irrigation. Particularly beneficial during the growing-in period, Qualibra achieves great results when applied to the seedbed to accelerate the germination and establishment of new seedlings. Complimenting Qualibra is Sportsmaster WSF SeaMax from ICL. Boasting over 75% of active seaweed content, SeaMax has been proven to significantly improve turf colour and quality.

Independent trials have revealed that SeaMax helps the plant produce longer roots, a greater root mass and improves the quality of growth.

“Following the growing-in period, when we get to the four or five week stage, we start to apply a tank-mix consisting of Primo Maxx, Vitalnova Blade, Sportsmaster WSF soluble fertiliser and SeaMax,” says Nathan.

“We will continue to apply this mix every three weeks until October or November depending on how the weather goes for us. We then pick it up again in February or March and continue until the end of the season.

“Towards the end of last season I applied ProTurf 20.0.7 , which I had never used before, and I remember calling Emma Kilby (ICL Technical Area Sales Manager) asking why she hadn’t pushed me harder to use it! She had previously recommended it before but for some reason I didn’t go ahead.

She always offers me superb advice and I guess it shows that she’s not a pushy salesperson but this product is the best fertilizer I have ever used. It was fantastic and the benefits of the Polyhalite with the calcium and the magnesium were amazing – especially on a pitch that is naturally going to leach those nutrients more quickly. The longevity we got out of it was excellent, the reaction was brilliant and the value for money was exceptional too.”

As Nathan looks to continue his successful start to life at Derby County FC, it appears that he has no regrets over his choice of products.

“I had pretty much a full season to try and figure out the correct products to use on this pitch and I’m there now.

“For me, I’m not going to jump head first into a full-on programme on a basis that data from somewhere else is really good. It’s got to be my research, my trials and my data showed me that ICL is the way forward for us.”

Please contact ICL on 01473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie if you are in Ireland.

 

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After being selected as the official mower at the two most recent FIFA World Cup’s in South Africa and Brazil, Dennis Mowers will be the mower of choice for the 2018 tournament in Russia.

The Dennis G860 cylinder mower will have the task of preparing pitches for the world’s greatest football players when the 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks-off in June 2018. Almost all of the stadiums used throughout the tournament will have their pitches maintained by the G860 and that includes the venues selected for the latter stages of the tournament.

The stadiums hosting the quarter finals, the semi-finals and the final itself have been confirmed as the Luzhniki Stadium, Saint Petersburg Stadium, Kazan Arena, Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Samara Arena and the Fist Stadium Sochi – and all of these pitches will be prepared by a Dennis G860, while some will also utilise the Dennis Premier in conjunction with the G860 for matchday preparation.

Last year, these final games attracted worldwide audiences of up to 3.2 billion people, and it is for this reason, among others, that the G860 has been selected, according to Steven Rienks – managing director of Queens Grass, who are the official Dennis dealer in Russia.

“Quite simply, the main stadiums chose the G860 because of the quality and the presentation it offers. They all want that perfect stripe which the G860 provides because they know it will be watched by a worldwide audience,” says Steven.

“For the past ten years Russian clubs have been using turf maintenance equipment from Dennis and 70% of the Russian Premier League teams have either a G860 or Dennis Premier mower. Many groundsmen over here know of their quality and their robustness – they know that they can use them for a diverse range of maintenance tasks without ever having any issues.

“In Russia, the weather is not ideal – for instance, in one area we only have around 60 days of sunlight over the course of a year, and the interchangeable cassette system really helps with maintenance procedures in a difficult climate.”

As Steven says, the Dennis G860 features an interchangeable cassette system to assist with a wide range of tasks. With a simple one minute changeover, users have the option of fitting eleven different types of heads including scarifiers, verticutters, brushes, spikers, and slitters as well as six or eight bladed cutting cylinders.

Lightweight at just 166kg; it is easy to manoeuvre and comfortable to operate. The handlebar console houses the controls - throttle, park brake, switches and cutter clutch and only the forward drive handle needs to be held in by the operator which reduces operator fatigue. The mower also features a large diameter front roller with an adjustable scraper which has been designed for a precise height of cut control, giving an excellent finish on every occasion.

“In my opinion I’m always delighted to supply Dennis equipment to our clients because it guarantees the quality our clients expect from us,” said Steven.

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact Dennis Mowers on 01332 824 777 or visit www.dennisuk.com

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Sherriff Amenity Launch StimZyne

Sherriff Amenity has announced the launch of StimZyne – a new range of hydrocarbon encapsulators and plant growth promoters.

StimZyne joins Sherriff Amenity’s leading range of bio-stimulants which are renowned for generating a positive effect on plant health in support of normal maintenance and fertiliser programmes.

Designed to be applied on all amenity turf and approved for use on all soil types, StimZyne brings with it a number of unique benefits to the plant.

  • The unique hydrocarbon encapsulator helps to neutralise harmful gases in the soil and release beneficial nutrients making them more available to the plant.
  • The natural properties of StimZyne, supports the microbial population of the soil, imparting efficient nutrient uptake and strengthening grass against pests and disease.

On poorer soils or in areas which are prone to pest attack, StimZyne Plus is recommended as it contains a significantly higher percentage of hydrocarbon enscapulator. This will increase the plant’s ability to survive attacks from root feeding pests.

StimZyne has been designed to be used throughout the year and can be combined with other Sherriff Amenity products for maximum results.

For example, the addition of Nemaflo at 1L/ha will assist in the delivery of the product to targeted areas of the soil for maximum effect.

To further improve the resilience and colour of the turf, GoGreen Select – a complexed iron sulphate, can be added to the mix at a rate of 20L/ha.

For further information, please contact Sherriff Amenity on 01638 721 888 or visit www.sherriffamenity.com

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SISIS Javelin Aer-Aid impresses in STRI trials

Following extensive trials conducted by the STRI (Sports Turf Research Institute), it has been concluded that the SISIS Javelin Aer-Aid tractor mounted aerator would be an essential tool within any integrated turf management programme.

Over a four month period, extensive STRI trials led by Dr Christian Spring were carried out at the world’s leading sports turf consultancy’s headquarters in Bingley, West Yorkshire. The research saw three trial plots set-up in which one area examined the effects of the SISIS Javelin Aer-Aid with air injection, one with the Aer-Aid without air injection, while the other plot was left un-treated. In particular, Christian and his team of researchers were looking at how and if the Javelin Aer-Aid had an effect on the hardness of the turf, root depth, water infiltration and disease.

“The SISIS Javelin Aer-Aid was really effective in reducing compaction,” reported Christian. “In measuring the penetration depth, we ran the Aer-Aid over the surface and found that the probe was able to penetrate further into the soil profile, indicating that compaction throughout the entire trial site was significantly less than areas that were left un-treated.”

“It became obvious that the Aer-Aid improved maximum root and depth within the soil profile and also had the benefit of increasing the depth of the average rooting mass. The reason or the rationale for this improvement was likely to be a result of the increased air space in the soil profile created by the air injection and the fracturing that resulted from that.”

With 10mm diameter ‘tipped’ tines working at 75mm (3ins) spacing, air is introduced from the Aer-Aid at a rate of 88 litres (3cu.ft.) per minute at 120 PSI. These air injection tines are specially designed to use the maximum air available from the compressor and produces clean, fresh air, while also ensuring that surface disturbance is kept to a minimum. The cam trigger mechanism ensures that the air is always expelled at the bottom of the tine penetration, enabling treatment to be targeted precisely and consistently at desired depth

It is common knowledge that well-aerated turf with good drainage and air circulation will experience fewer moisture problems, and during the trials, Christian reported that the plot which had been treated with the Javelin Aer-Aid had been extremely successful in keeping an all too common disease at bay.

“The use of the SISIS Javelin Air-Aid proved beneficial in helping to reduce the conditions in which Microdochium Patch occurred on the trial plots. Plots that were treated with the Aer-Aid, with the air injection switched on, appear to have significantly less disease than the un-treated plots during a period of disease pressure throughout autumn.”

The Aer-Aid can be used all year round on both fine and outfield turf, with its unique feature of moving air uniformly throughout the root zone – not just where the tines have penetrated.

“Overall, the SISIS Javelin Aer-Aid, from the research work we carried out, proved to be a very effective tool in helping to manage the soil profile, creating better rooting, allowing water and air movement through the profile, keeping disease at bay and helping to reduce compaction.”

“My personal thoughts on the SISIS Javelin Air Aid, is that it is a very useful tool in any greenkeeper’s or groundsman’s arsenal, to help control and address key agronomic issues.”

A video of these results can be viewed by visiting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tiCea3MA5Y

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact SISIS on 01332 824 777 or visit www.sisis.com

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Sherriff’s Marathon Sport is King of the Jungle

Stuart Vause, head groundsman at Castleford Tigers RLFC, believes that Sherriff Amenity’s range of Marathon Sport fertilisers have signalled dramatic improvements on the pitch at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle Stadium.

It is safe to say that Stuart Vause has earned his stripes as the head groundsman for Super League side Castleford Tigers. For thirteen years, he worked for the club at every available opportunity while also juggling a full time position for a local authority. His dedication to the Tigers was rewarded three years ago when he was appointed as the head groundsman, and it is a foregone conclusion that the pitch has significantly improved during his tenure.

However, it hasn’t been plain sailing for Stuart - the pitch at the Jungle is over ninety years old and has no drainage or irrigation system and no undersoil heating. If that were not enough to keep Stuart busy, then there is the heavy usage to consider. The first team play approximately seventeen home games throughout the campaign and train on the pitch four times a week.  In addition, the pitch plays host to Castleford Tigers’ Under 19 and Under 16 teams. During peak periods the pitch can be used six times a week which can take its toll.

As well as his hard work and expertise, Stuart admits that having a good range of turf care products in place has been vital and none more so than Sherriff Amenity’s range of Marathon Sport fertilisers.

“I’ve tried lots of different approaches and products but three years ago I researched Marathon Sport,” says Stuart. “I trialled it and have been using it ever since because it really seems to suit the field. I’ve had excellent results from it and it holds incredibly well in this structure and soil – I can probably get a good three or four months out of each application, depending on rain.”

For a number of years, turf managers have reaped the benefits of Sherriff Amenity’s range of Marathon fertilisers. The Marathon Sport range of extended release fertilisers provide long-lasting, balanced growth on a number of surfaces such as golf greens fairways, tees, surrounds, ornamental lawns and of course sports fields.

The Marathon range is characterised by a balance of nutrients, the analyses of each product being geared to a specific growth stage or season. With six existing products in the Marathon Sport range - Autumn, Pre-Seed, Spring, Summer, Turf Core Renovator and Lawn Mini Pack– there truly is a solution for every requirement, no matter what the time of year.

Stuart’s maintenance programme sees him start the season with the Spring and Summer mixtures, which he applies at 35g per square metre on a double pass with his spreader. He’ll apply these mixtures approximately three times during the spring and summer months and when the colder months kick in he turns to Marathon Sport Autumn to ensure good grass coverage over winter.

“The Marathon Sport fertilisers have dramatically thickened the sward – it’s been unbelievable. When I first came here the field was fragile, it used to rip up and lumps would come out. Now however, we have a really strong root zone - obviously with Rugby League games it is rough and tough but the pitch just seems to hold up to it.

“I love the colour that it provides too. During the winter months this field used to lose a lot of colour but it is now a lush green all year round. Sometimes, if we are on TV I’ll just give it a light application to really bring the colour out. It also never leaves foot marks and has never scorched for as long as I’ve been using it – this is with minimal water too.

“Perhaps one of the biggest benefits is that it doesn’t give you excessive growth. With it only being me here, it helps if I’m not chasing my tail having to cut it constantly. With some fertilisers, you apply it and if you leave it for a period of time you’ll be faced with an abundance of grass. The Marathon Sport just kicks on nicely at a steady pace and if I can’t get on to mow it for two or three days it is still manageable.”

Adding to the overall package from Sherriff Amenity, Stuart also revealed that the products are complimented by the technical advice he receives from his representative Robert Bone.

“I trust Robert completely - when he gives me advice I always take it on-board. If he thinks that a certain product isn’t working then he’ll let me know and we’ll try something else until we find one that does get results. He does my soil testing and when we come to sit down he’ll present me with charts and graphs detailing what I should be putting on the pitch at certain times of the year. Overall I couldn’t be happier with the service I receive from Sherriff Amenity.”

For further information, please contact Sherriff Amenity on 01638 721 888 or visit www.sherriffamenity.com

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Learning LIVE signals opportunity

The SALTEX 2017 free education programme is set to inspire visitors at the NEC on 1 and 2 November.

With the full Learning LIVE programme set to be revealed in the coming weeks, the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) has released a few teaser seminars. The programme looks set to provide limitless opportunities and inspire and educate visitors from a wide range of sectors within the turfcare industry.

Now in its third year, SALTEX’s free-to-attend education programme has gone from strength to strength. Last year, Learning LIVE saw 53 unique seminars, 99 high-profile speakers and many key topical issues explored. For 2017, the programme will follow the same successful format developed over the past two years situated within four purpose-built seminar theatres on the show floor with state-of-the-art sound systems and screens.

Within the theatres a number of influential speakers will be on hand to provide updates and key advice. Mark Pover, facilities investment strategy manager at The Football Association (FA), will be participating in a panel debate entitled ‘Funding the future of natural turf.’ With so much money being invested into artificial turf, SALTEX visitors will have an opportunity to ask the funders if there is a danger of natural turf being left behind.

Commenting on the panel debate, Mark said: "We haven't forgotten the fact that the majority of football matches in this country are played on natural grass. We have just shy of 800 artificial pitches on our 3G register suitable for affiliated matches and we are continuing to invest in these but there are approximately 23,000 natural grass pitches. Clearly these are very important, as is the quality, so we will continue to improve and use natural turf pitches to keep people playing and also attract new players.

"We are currently spending two million pounds a year on natural turf pitch improvements and I believe that SALTEX is the ideal place to update the industry so that visitors understand exactly what we are doing and the targets we have set. It is also a good opportunity to address some of the negative rumours that are circulated annually and reinforce our commitment to natural turf."

For those visitors that are looking to progress their career, the ‘Career development’ seminar presented by Steve Chappell, head greenkeeper at the PGA Centenary Golf Course at The Gleneagles Hotel, should not be missed. Steve will be primarily focusing on how volunteering can significantly help improve job prospects.

“The thought process behind the session is to provide a little bit more of an understanding of how volunteering can help improve and embellish your CV,” says Steve. “It can help you stand out from the crowd and be more employable to a prospective employer.

“The seminar would be beneficial for younger people in the industry, and also maybe for those who feel they have become stuck in a rut. The message behind it all, is to use the opportunities that are out there to develop yourself because it can help you take that next step which will give you that career fulfilment you are looking for.”

Additionally, the seminar ‘Making your move’ will be beneficial in helping a visitor along their career path. Wayne Billing, head groundsman at Northampton Saints RFC; Stuart Kerrison, head groundsman at Essex CCC and Danny Beckley, head of estates and grounds at Harrow School, will all be on hand to reveal the secrets behind making it to the top within their respective fields.

For further inspiration, John Ledwidge will be documenting his rise from starting in an apprentice position through to being the current grounds manager at Leicester City FC in ‘From apprentice to grounds manager’. In a separate seminar John will also be joined by the rest of his grounds team in a session entitled ‘Building a team for success.’

By attending any of these seminars within the programme, SALTEX visitors have the opportunity to enhance their CV as IOG and Basis CPD points are available for all Learning LIVE sessions. Attendance at the seminars can be recorded by picking up a CPD form from the IOG Hub (Stand C180) and can contribute towards the minimum requirement of 35 hours in 12 months in order to qualify for the IOG’s Certificate of CPD Achievement.

After being motivated by the Learning LIVE seminars, visitors can visit SALTEX 2017’s new feature - the Job Clinic. Located on the IOG Hub, industry expert Frank Newberry will be hosting 15-minute one-to-one sessions covering CV writing to interview techniques. To book an appointment with Frank, visitors are advised to go to the IOG information desk on the IOG Hub as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Located in the centre of the UK, whether you are travelling from overseas or within the UK, the NEC is incredibly easy to get to by car, rail or air. No matter what route you take, one thing is certain - opportunity awaits on November 1 and 2 at SALTEX 2017.

The full programme of SALTEX events will be regularly updated via www.iogsaltex.com.

Visitor registration to SALTEX 2017 is free. To confirm your attendance visit www.iogsaltex.com

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