Fusion Media's Posts (676)

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Dennis Mowers will be unveiling a new and exciting range of mowers when the show opens its doors at the NEC, Birmingham on October 30 and 31.

Although product details are being kept tightly under wraps, the Dennis stand at SALTEX (E070) is set to be the hub of groundscare innovation at its finest. Anticipation and excitement is already building around the unnamed product range as the company continues its significant investment in its range of professional mowers.

Aside from the new range of products there will also be a stellar line-up of world-class maintenance equipment for every type of playing surface.

3661803092?profile=RESIZE_710xDesigned specifically for fine turf, 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.

The Dennis FT510 has long been a popular choice for turf managers and it’s 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 unique roller clutch drive for a smooth take-up and a variable clip rate helping to create the desired finish.

Available with five-bladed and ten-bladed cutting cylinders the machine can be matched to any situation and the interchangeable cassettes can be changed without the requirement of any tools. The range of 11 different heads mean that one machine can be used for several key maintenance tasks including scarifying, verticutting or brushing.

The Dennis G860 cylinder mower has long been the number one choice for groundsmen and SALTEX visitors will be able to see this impressive mower on the stand. Lightweight at just 166kg; it is easy to manoeuvre and comfortable to operate. The handlebar console houses the controls for – throttle, parking brake, roller drive and cutting cylinder drive. The mower 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. The Dennis G860 also features an interchangeable cassette system to assist with a wide range of tasks.

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

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

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New Amenity Specialist for Sherriff

Sherriff Amenity has announced the appointment of Andrew Norman, who joins the company as an amenity specialist based in the areas of Kent and East Sussex.

Eighteen years' experience of golf greenkeeping make Andrew ideally suited for his new role with Sherriff Amenity. He joins the company from East Sussex National Golf Club where he started as a seasonal greenkeeper before working his way up to deputy course manager. It is this experience which makes Andrew fully appreciate the demanding workload of modern turf professionals and the need for high quality products.

3655304267?profile=RESIZE_710xCommenting on his decision to join Sherriff Amenity, Andrew said: “It seems to me that everyone in the industry has heard of them and that the products are of exceptional quality. They have a huge respect in the industry, a wide range of products and great distribution.”

Andrew, who also holds an NVQ Level 3 in Amenity Horticulture Greenkeeping and Sports Turf Management, said that he is relishing the opportunity to learn and assist turf managers.

“I was keen to start learning about all the other things that are going on in the world of turf. In my first few weeks I will try to get around to see a lot of people to find out more about their turf and their sites. I feel like I have learnt so much already across a wide range of sports turf including tennis, cricket and football – it has been enlightening.”

Sherriff Amenity’s extensive range of quality products are perfectly complimented by the first-class customer service provided by the company’s amenity specialists. Renowned for their technical knowledge, which is consistently enriched through industry leading training programmes, Sherriff’s amenity specialists can ensure that you are always getting the best results from your turf.

Away from work, Andrew spends his time on call for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and likes to play football and golf.

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

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Scott Duff, head greenkeeper at Bovey Castle in Devon, is using a range of Sherriff Amenity products to help the club get back into the Top 100 Golf Courses.

Designed in 1926 by J F Abercromby, one of the finest British golf course designers of the last century, Bovey Castle’s 18 hole championship golf course is challenging and surrounded by the natural beauty of the Dartmoor.

Scott, who has been at Bovey Castle for four years, started his turf career in football at Torquay United FC before switching to greenkeeping. He admits that it was somewhat of a challenging transition but claims that he has no regrets.

“When I was in football groundsmanship, I had always wanted to try greenkeeping but to be honest I was always worried that I would be out of my depth,” he said. “I went from looking after just one surface which had a fairly consistent maintenance regime to suddenly looking after a multitude of different areas – each with their own requirements. It was the biggest challenge in my career but also the best because I can confidently say that I love my job.”

Scott excelled in his new role and was rewarded two years ago when he was promoted to the position of head greenkeeper. Now, alongside Sean Bennett – course manager, the two of them have a very clear goal.

3653528298?profile=RESIZE_710x“We are a championship course which used to be in the top 100 but not anymore unfortunately. Quite simply our goal is to get back in there. I think with Sean’s knowledge of managing a course, his drive and his passion, along with the improvements he wants to make, I think it is very realistic.

“We are not a million miles away but we still have a lot of work to do and with people like David Chammings from Sherriff Amenity on-board then this will only boost our chances. David has really changed the way we approach our feed programmes and also some of the work we do out on the course because he draws up management plans which concentrate on what we should be doing throughout certain periods of the year.”

After consultation, David recommended a tank mixture consisting of iNTrench fertiliser 15.0.9 and GoGreen Energy bio-stimulant for the greens – two products which perfectly complement one another.

iNTrench is a controlled uptake nitrogen fertiliser designed specifically for the needs of professional sports turf. It gives up to ten weeks of improved blade colour and a higher quality turf with 66% the nitrogen rate of leading competitors. Its tank-mix partner, GoGreen Energy, is a concentrated bio-stimulant, formulated to assist plant health and relieve stress symptoms.

“Every course is different and you have to work out what is best for your site,” said Scott. “With iNTrench and GoGreen, we find that if we go at half rate (20 l/ha) every two weeks, then the greens seem to hold the nutrients a lot better. By applying it like this we notice healthier greens and also better longevity out of the products. This tank-mix has worked really well for us and there has been a big improvement in the greens.

“In fact, we also use this mix with the addition of seaweed on our tees if they need some instant colour-up.”

Scott also reported excellent results from Sherriff Amenity’s Aqua-Zorb 45 – a unique wetting agent, which helped him through a somewhat difficult summer last year.

“Last year, Aqua-Zorb was a real saviour for us. I would say that at least 90% of courses in the UK would say that the disease period for golf was horrendous last year and a good wetting agent could have saved money on fungicides and relieved the drought stress.

“We had such intense heat last year and Aqua-Zorb still worked incredibly well considering we were frequently seeing temperatures of 30°C plus.

“I feel we have been going through a massive transition period and this year we will see even more improvements to the course. The Sherriff Amenity products have played a big role in the success over the past couple of years and I can’t fault the service from David whatsoever.”

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

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Duncan Toon, Grounds Manager at Warwick Independent Schools Foundation, believes that both his new SISIS Flexibrush and SISIS TM1000 have helped produce significant improvements to the schools’ sports surfaces.

Duncan is nine months into his new position after joining the Foundation from Birmingham City FC and is responsible for the grounds at Warwick School, Warwick Junior School, King's High School and Warwick Preparatory School – which all fall under the Warwick Independent Schools Foundation umbrella.

The schools are justly proud of their sporting success, including national awards, and ability to provide all its pupils the opportunity to play their chosen sport.  Essential to their achievements are high quality and well-maintained sports pitches.  The appointment of Duncan was part of the Foundation’s commitment to improve the grounds at its schools, alongside making additional investment in its grounds equipment. 

3652960486?profile=RESIZE_710x“We have a great team in place now and we have started to build a fantastic line-up of maintenance equipment. Personally, I was looking for reliable and trusted machinery and that is why I chose the SISIS Flexibrush and the SISIS TM1000,” Duncan said.

The SISIS Flexibrush is a tractor-mounted brush which is equally effective at dispersing top dressing, removing excess material on natural turf and synthetic surfaces, dew dispersal and improving presentation. It has a 5.35 metre working width, its brush sections float to follow ground contours and the outer sections fold for transport and storage.

“For us it has eliminated the previously time-consuming task of dew removal,” said Duncan. “Everything gets a bit hectic here on a school day but the Flexibrush gives us a big head start because we can start nice and early at 7am and knock all the dew off the grass before the children start classes. It has helped us to reduce disease and I also use it for presentation.”

The SISIS Rotorake TM1000 is a tractor-mounted heavy-duty scarifier and linear aerator and is unrivalled when it comes to removing and controlling thatch. It includes a collector box and floating unit to follow ground contours and its contra-rotating reel throws debris forward ensuring a clean, consistent groove resulting in an excellent finish. The TM1000 also features interchangeable blades and a quick, simple depth setting without tools.

“We mainly bought the TM1000 for in-house cricket renovations but it is also used for regular maintenance work on the squares,” Duncan explained. “It is great for verticutting and we also have the 2mm scarifying removal reel and the brush reel which we use for cleaning up. It is such a simple, yet effective piece of equipment – in fact I would say it is a must-have tool for any groundsman to have in their armoury.”

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

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Karl Williams, Course Manager at Redditch Golf Club, has reported significant improvements to the course since the installation of a new Hunter Irrigation system, which was installed by Prime Irrigation and supplied by KAR UK.

Founded in 1913, Redditch Golf Club is one of the finest parkland courses in the midlands and is well known for its woodlands, topography and quality playing surfaces.

Karl has been Course Manager at Redditch since October 2014 and within the first few months of his new role, he quickly identified an area which needed improvement.

“In 2015 we had an appraisal on the old irrigation system, which confirmed the inadequacies and poor reliability of the system. With continuous bursts and cable breaks, which resulted in an awful lot of hand watering,” said Karl.

3651806251?profile=RESIZE_710xFollowing the summer of 2018, the proposal to install a completely new irrigation system was passed by the committee and approved by 97% of the club’s members in favour.

A plan needed to be put into place quickly for the new system to cover all greens, tees, approaches and green surrounds. After speaking with Hunter Industries, there was no doubt in Karl’s mind due to their products, that it was the way to go.

G885D Series Rotors – With a built-in decoder offering single head control, superior uniformity coupled with the TTS technology allowing every serviceable element of the rotor to be accessed through the top so you can get to every component without disturbing the playing surface - no more digging, no more unsightly scars, and more importantly, one less item on a busy course manager’s schedule.

I-20 Series Rotors – A high performance rotor for tees and a popular choice for many turf managers, with the efficiency required for any site. Utilising the Match Precipitation Rate (MPR) nozzles ensures accurate, even distribution and water savings over a variety of mixed sprinkler arcs.

Pilot CCS PC-based central control system - a PC-based software package that makes central control of large-scale irrigation systems affordable, usable, and comprehensible.

“The new system has been an absolute game-changer,” said Karl. “It allows us to apply water in millimetres - simply replacing the daily deficit every night has made a huge difference. Even in the highest temperatures, the greens do not lose moisture and we no longer have to worry about them looking worn. They are consistently good which is great from a player’s point of view.”

“That has been a huge bonus, but the biggest area of improvement since the system was installed has been on the tees. For example, prior to the new system, the first tee had just four larger sprinklers along one side and they would overshoot, miss the tee and spill onto the path. Now we have five I-20 rotors on each side of the tee fitted with the Matched Precipitation Rate nozzles. This ensures that the water is applied to the tee playing surface at all times, receives excellent coverage and results in saving water, which makes it all very efficient!”

3651807030?profile=RESIZE_710x“It’s so good that we can now target individual areas because we have got some greens which face different directions - we’ve got slopes, banks and some areas that require more water than others. We can keep on top of everything at just the click of a button.”

“The system also allows a wide choice of options when planning a watering cycle, I can apply 2mm of water to all of the green’s at the start of a cycle and then it will go around the rest of the system before coming back to that same green and applying another 2mm if this is required. This is great because rather than the water running off the green surface it gives it time to soak in before the next part.”

From when Karl first started speaking to Hunter Industries, the whole project was completed within 14 months and any worries he had about the installation disturbing play were quickly alleviated.

“The members have been overwhelmed with how little obtrusion there was to play and throughout the whole installation period. There were no golf holes closed at any time – they couldn’t believe how tidy it was and how quickly it was installed, a testament to Prime Irrigation.”

“I’m just really pleased with the whole project and the service we have received has been fantastic. Back-up support from suppliers is vital in this industry and we absolutely get that.”

Hunter Golf Irrigation is distributed in the UK by KAR UK. For more information, please visit www.karuk.com and www.hunterindustries.com.

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ICL delivers the remedy for recovery

Harry Cannon, Course Manager at Sand Martins Golf Club in Berkshire, believes that a range of ICL products have significantly helped the tees to combat signs of heavy wear.

Opened in 1993, the Sand Martins course has been cleverly designed with two distinct and contrasting nine holes. The front nine is set in parkland with lakes and water hazards whereas when you move to the back nine it is quite obvious to see that it transforms to a links style with deep revetted bunkers and hazards lurking on every hole.

Despite the variety in style between the two nines, one thing remains constant - the quality of the playing surfaces, and that is partly thanks to Harry, whose enthusiasm and commitment to the development of Sand Martins is clearly evident.

At just 28 years old Harry is a relatively young Course Manager but in his short career he already boasts a wealth of experience. It all started in 2007 when he embarked on a summer job at the Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club and realised that he wanted to pursue a career in greenkeeeping. After completing his necessary qualifications and spending a further nine years at Mid-Surrey he landed the role as Deputy Course Manager at Sand Martins. It wasn’t long before the determined Harry made his mark and was promoted to the position of Course Manager.

3650118720?profile=RESIZE_710x“I have great support around me and the team are absolutely fantastic,” he said. “It is still quite a young golf course which brings its challenges but all 18 holes are managed the same and with the programmes that we have in place through ICL, we are able to keep the standards consistently high.”

While it is obvious that Harry takes most challenges in his stride, he admits to facing the most problematic period in his career last year when the Club, and most of the country, experienced extreme droughts.

Harry started by overseeding with ICL’s ProSelect 2 Tees/Fairway mixture which contains a blend of fine fescues and perennial ryegrass. Using a disc-seeder, he applied the seed at 15g/m2 to the tees and double passed.

“We had dried out so much we began to lose turf coverage in areas,” said Harry. “Therefore, we overseeded with ProSelect at the end of September and that got us out of jail massively – it was exactly what was needed. We were getting a great strike going into winter and fortunately because it was quite mild we had early germination.”

With the turf established, Harry’s attentions turned to maintaining the tees in order to control the amount of wear they were experiencing. After speaking to Matt Nutter, ICL Technical Area Sales Manager, he decided that the best way forward would be to apply a granular fertilizer in the form of ProTurf 15-5-15+2CaO+2MgO at the start of the season, followed by a monthly tank-mix consisting of Primo Maxx II growth regulator (1.6 L/ha), and a range of soluble fertilizers - Sportsmaster WSF High N (15Kg/ha), Sportsmaster WSF High K (15Kg/ha) and Sportsmaster WSF Iron (15Kg/ha).

“The purpose of using ProTurf at the start of season is to give the turf a jump-start coming out of winter and going into summer. At the start of June and throughout the whole month it is our Club Championships so we need to be looking sharp and this is what ProTurf gives you.

“The soluble feeds - the High N, the High K and the Iron just seem to keep them ticking over all the way through the year. It’s a perfect mixture and I think the good thing about these ICL products is that we can just amend the application rates depending on what is required. If we have had a lot of rain then we might not need as much N and if they are stressed then we may put in a little bit more K. These products really do allow you to micro-manage.

“For a club that has busy periods, with small tees, and at a time when we were experiencing a lot of stress from last year we have seen great recovery, an improved clipping yield and the density of the sward has considerably thickened. Therefore the biggest praise I can give these products is that they have enabled us to control the amount of wear.”

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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A number of key industry experts will be uniting to collaboratively tackle the biggest issues facing the groundscare environment at SALTEX 2019, which takes place at the NEC, Birmingham on October 30 and 31.

Learning LIVE, SALTEX’s all-encompassing and free-to-attend education programme will take place in four dedicated seminar theatres with presentations and panel debates running from 10am through to 3.30pm each day of the show.

Featuring over 50 CPD accredited seminars involving more than 100 expert speakers, the programme has been developed by leading industry partners and influencers to provide support, insight and real solutions to key industry issues.

Learning LIVE will kickstart with ‘Creating Champions’ telling the story of grounds staff’s contribution to this summer’s biggest weekend of sporting success. A spectacular line-up, including Neil Stubley (AELTC, Wimbledon) and Karl McDermott (Lord’s), will explain how to deliver exceptional surfaces for the world’s most prestigious sports events.

Findings from the IOG’s recent research document Groundsmanship – Sports’ Vital Profession will be presented by the IOG’s CEO Geoff Webb and consultant research lead, Carol Doran. Meanwhile, football grounds personnel can enjoy a rare opportunity to sit in on the ‘Tottenham Hotspur FC Experience’ seminar. Head groundsman Gary Lee reveals how the state-of-the art 62,000-capacity stadium pitches were built.

3564725196?profile=RESIZE_710xFrom Premiership to grassroots groundsmanship, there’s something for everyone at Learning LIVE. Pitch advisors from the IOG-led Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme (GaNTIP) will be presenting case studies of successful pitch improvements, and also offering advice on how to secure funding.

In the ‘Class Acts’ seminar Ian Avery (Sutton Valence School) explores how independent schools can balance internal and external demands on their pitches. Ian will focus on costings, timings and benefits to the school, plus the problems, and solutions, of quick turnarounds on multi-sport pitches. Giles Roberts (St Peter’s School), Lee Marshallsay (Charterhouse) and Danny Beckley (Harrow School) will also be discussing best practices to help your pitches stand out in a competitive market.

Recent regulations relating to plant protection products (PPP) have had a significant impact on turf management, and Learning LIVE attendees can expect to find answers in a seminar entitled ‘Pesticide 2020 and Beyond’. With a number of widely used insecticides, fungicides and herbicides having been withdrawn in recent times, Dr Colin Mumford (Bayer) will be on hand to explain the current status of PPP, what PPP are being withdrawn or introduced, and how to get optimum results from them.

Cricket grounds personnel can find out about ongoing research carried out by First Class Counties and England’s Centre of Excellence, and an elite panel, featuring Andy McKay (Sussex CCC) Gary Barwell (Warwickshire CCC) and Will Relf (Loughborough University), will be explaining how hybrid pitches in cricket are learning lessons from football. Industry legend Chris Wood, the ECB’s international pitches consultant, is set to captivate the audience with his stories as he looks back through his career in ‘A Lifetime in Groundsmanship’.

Elsewhere, climatologist Jim Dale is presenting ‘Managing Climate Change’ to ensure turf professionals stay one step ahead; ICL’s Dr Andy Owen and PhD student at Royal Holloway University, Tamsin Williams, offer an insight into their four-year research project on the effects of seaweed products on turf grass plant parasitic nematodes; industry consultant Peter Corbett discusses ‘Life Without Propiconazole’; and Question Time with the Amenity Forum will no doubt spark a lively debate around the use of pesticides and their alternatives.

This is just a snapshot of sessions available at this year’s show. Go to www.iogsaltex.com where you will soon be able to check out the full programme, register your visit to SALTEX and book into your preferred sessions to avoid the queues.

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ICL tank-mix on target at Temple Golf Club

A fortnightly greens tank-mix consisting of Vitalnova Stressbuster, Greenmaster Liquid, Primo Maxx II and Ryder turf pigment, has proved to be a valuable base feed which has helped to reduce the use of fungicides according to Ben Kebby, Course Manager at Temple Golf Club in Berkshire.

Built on land once owned by The Knights Templar, The Temple Links, as the course was first known, was designed in 1909 by Willie Park Junior. The Club recently celebrated its 110th year anniversary and its membership base is thriving – seeing an increase from 250 to 750 in just five years.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that Ben also started at the Club five years ago but the modest Course Manager refuses to take credit for the rise in membership. It is however evident that he has implemented a number of positive changes at the Club but when asked about his success Ben instead prefers to talk about his love for Temple.

3561029759?profile=RESIZE_710x“From the very start I was as ambitious as anyone but that has changed now,” he said. “As with most people, when you start in greenkeeping you want to be in charge at the world’s best course overseeing the sport’s most prestigious tournaments. However, since arriving at Temple I have come to the conclusion that lifestyle and happiness trumps ambition. The members here are fantastic, my boss Keith is superb and the area I live in is amazing. I am close to family and it ticks every box for me.”

Ben crossed the channel where he was working as an Assistant Superintendent at a course in the West of Paris to take the position at Temple Golf Club and felt that it was a vital chapter in his greenkeeping journey. His days as an apprentice at Berkshire Golf Club may seem a lifetime ago but Ben has rose rapidly up the career ladder and claims that choosing the correct products is key, especially when it comes to the greens.

“We live and die by the standard of our greens and we are only as good as the day before,” he said. “Last year we were hit quite badly with disease on the greens and I sprayed more fungicide than ever before and I just felt like I was chasing my tail - so that was one reason I went with this new tank-mix.

“The other reason for using the mix was because we had an ICL seminar here in spring last year with Andy Owen (ICL International Technical Manager) and he revealed the results of a trial he carried out in which he didn’t use a fungicide application throughout the autumn to see if he could achieve acceptable standards of greens performance. By using the right technologies, an example being Vitalnova Stressbuster, and getting timing of applications correct, he was able to achieve his goal and significantly reduce disease outbreaks to an acceptable level, this prompted me to examine my own approach.”

Inspired by Andy Owen’s trial work and after discussing it in more detail with Matt Nutter (ICL Area Sales Manager), Ben decided to push ahead with a tank-mix which consisted of Vitalnova Stressbuster (10 L/ha), Primo Maxx II (0.3 L/ha) Greenmaster Liquid 25-0-0 (10/20 L/ha) and Ryder (1 L/ha). 

“I’ve been using it for approximately five months now and have seen some notable improvements. For starters, drought resistance is better – I was usually putting down about 2mm a night of water as a minimum whereas this year I can run on 1mm. The moisture is now far easier to control and before using this tank-mix I had to over-water just to control it.

3561030645?profile=RESIZE_710x“Another remarkable improvement is that the disease pressure has significantly reduced, in fact so-much-so that I have not sprayed a fungicide since February. In recent weeks we have had some heavy rain and high temperatures and we’ve had no disease outbreak whatsoever.

In this sense my thoughts go towards Ryder and Vitalnova Stressbuster with that little bit of iron mixed into it. The foliar grouping works together really well as a preventative, and was inspired by Andy’s presentation.”

While Ben continues to see consistently good results from his tank-mix, he believes that ICL’s continuous product research, trial work and data are essential in helping the industry to move forward.

“The trials, the studies and the explanation of data are incredibly important to me. Anyone can say they have run a trial but I am so much more comfortable going with a product which has some clear data and research behind it.

“It helps greenkeepers to move forward and to overcome obstacles. For example, I can sit here and know that if fungicides were withdrawn tomorrow, I can use the example set by ICL’s trial work presented by Andy and I have the confidence to design a programme to allow the greens to perform well throughout the whole season. It is a nice position to be in.”

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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MM60 superior for Stoke City FC

When Andy Jackson, grounds manager at Stoke City FC, trialled a number of different seed mixtures eight years ago, he felt that there was one in particular which was far superior and that was Limagrain UK’s MM60.

From apprentice to grounds manager, Andy Jackson has been at Stoke City FC throughout his entire career. Arguably there is not one person who knows the stadium and training ground better and there is certainly no-one better placed to know what the pitches need in order to thrive.

“We like to think of the pitches like athletes so they need the correct nutrients to perform,” he said. “I like to think that it is a case of our pitches going to see the doctor or the nutritionist every day.” 

Andy oversees the maintenance of the pitch at the bet365 Stadium and all of the facilities at Clayton Wood, Stoke City FC’s Training Ground and Academy, which includes a further eleven natural pitches. The facility hosts club players from the first team all the way down to Under 9’s and sees approximately 120 players through the door every day.

It is safe to say that the pitches experience a lot of usage and eight years ago Andy decided to trial a number of new grass seed mixtures.

3558821174?profile=RESIZE_710x“We trialled MM60 eight years ago at the training ground and were very happy with what we saw,” he said. “I felt that the MM seed was far superior to the other brands we were using and since then we have been 100% MM60 over both sites and that’s from renovation to overseeding throughout the winter.”

Limagrain’s MM60 grass seed is renowned for producing an excellent playing surface. It is a 100% Ryegrass formula which is perfect for renovation and divot repair, has a high disease resistance, fantastic aesthetic qualities and offers extremely fast germination – which is boosted by the inclusion of Headstart GOLD®.

“I believe that the MM range really excels because of the products they use on the seed such as Headstart GOLD®. It is particularly suited to where the industry is heading in the future - so it is not a case of putting lots of nitrogen onto the seed and flushing it up, it is more a case of the seed being nurtured gradually and healthy and I think that is where we do really well in the summer months. I’ve noticed that Headstart also helps with disease resistance and provides good plant protection too.”  

MM60 now includes Limagrain’s new Ryegrass cultivar Annecy which has outstanding disease resistance particularly against Leaf Spot, something which particularly struck a chord with Andy.

“We used to have quite a lot of Leaf Spot which is quite common in Ryegrass situations in stadiums and training grounds,” he continued. “I believe that the MM60 seed has helped us to cut that out by at least 60%.”

At the Academy, Andy and his team will start renovations around mid-April and at the stadium they will typically start in June. After sowing MM60 during renovations Andy claims that the first cut will be carried out normally eleven days after the seed has been applied. When it comes to overseeding in winter, Andy will apply three to four bags of MM60 after every home game.

“We still get great germination from the seed throughout the winter,” said Andy. “I’m also very impressed with the fineness of the leaf. The leaf is finer than any of the other products we have used in the past which means we can get more plants per square metre. So, what we find is that after a match we are getting less damage to the pitch, and if there is a scar or a divot then it actually recovers faster. It can fill the space back in very quickly and for me that is a huge benefit.

“For me, the back-up offered by the companies I work with is essential and I believe the customer service from Limagrain fantastic. We even involve them in some of the conversations we have about other products, not just seed, because we are always looking at new way’s we can improve the pitch and I trust and value their input.”

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

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SISIS heading to FSB 2019

SISIS will be exhibiting at FSB Cologne, Germany from 5-8 November 2019 where the British manufacturer will be showcasing a range of market leading turf maintenance equipment for synthetic surfaces.

Visitors to the exhibition will able to locate SISIS in hall 10.2, Aisle A, Stand No. 038, and will have the opportunity to see the following products:

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 Osca 3

3554381672?profile=RESIZE_710xThe 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 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 Twinplay with Flexicomb and straight brush

The SISIS team will also be showcasing the Twinplay Towed Implement Frame (TIF) and the Flexicomb and straight brush. The Twinplay frame is a single pass maintenance system which accepts two implements at any one time and the Flexicomb and straight finishing brush 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.

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

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

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Fairways fit for a king

A range of Sherriff Amenity products have improved the overall health of the turf on the fairways at Hampton Court Palace Golf Club, according to course manager Richard Hill.

Set within the royal grounds of Home Park where King Henry VIII once hunted deer and with the beautiful Hampton Court Palace looming in the background, there could hardly be a more regal setting to enjoy a round of golf.

The acclaimed 18-hole course is a 6,513 yard, par 71 parkland and inland links course which dates back to 1895. It was later re-modelled by Willie Park, who was also the designer of Royal Birkdale and Sunningdale, leaving the course beautiful yet demanding.

Richard Hill has been at the Club since May 2008 and was promoted to the position of course manager in 2013. Throughout his time Richard has maintained the course to an excellent standard despite some obstacles such as the huge 16th century lime-trees which surround the course and a bizarre lack of rainfall – as he explains.

“This site is an absolute anomaly when it comes to rainfall,” he says. “It can rain at the nearby Heathrow airport, it can rain on the M4 motorway but just not rain here at Hampton Court. I have my theories on why but that is another matter!”

3551770773?profile=RESIZE_710xAs a result, the lack of rainfall tends to apply more pressure on the fairways at Hampton Court and Richard admits to embarking on a lengthy search for a winning formula which could help to relieve some of the stress.

“I was always looking at options that could make an improvement to the fairways and I tried so many different combinations of wetting agents and seaweeds – believe me, I must have tried all of them. The best results by far has been from Goemar seaweed and Excel wetting agent from Sherriff Amenity. When I first applied them, the fairways went from brown to green in just a week.”

Goemar is a high quality liquid seaweed extracted using a unique cold process that removes unwanted alginates and cellulose to leave a 100% seaweed juice. It is harvested in Brittany where they have some of the strongest tides in the world and these extreme tides lead this seaweed to experience high exposure to sun and heat at low tide. To counter these stresses the seaweed produces high amounts of the active ingredients required for plants to survive long stress periods. The cold extraction process then concentrates these ingredients in the finished product and Richard explained just how unique it is.

“Quite simply, it mixes perfectly,” he said. “You get all of the benefits without the organic matter and therefore the plant responds a lot quicker. It is full of beneficial sugars that combined with the Excel wetting agent, helps the grass to hold on to the nutrients. It is perfect for fairways.”

Its tank-mix partner Excel is a multi-purpose, low dose wetting agent which is ideal for use on larger areas, such as golf fairways and sports pitches.  For the tank-mix he applies Excel at 1 L/ha and Goemar at 3 L/ha but due to the weather conditions Richard believes that timing is key.

“I don’t have a set time to apply the products, instead I spray when I feel it is needed and when we have the correct weather window. Historically I used to have everything all in one tank - the fertiliser, the wetting agent and the seaweed but now I do it separately. So, I will apply my feed one day and then the seaweed and wetting agent another day.”

For his fairway feed, Richard relies on Sherriff Amenity’s Evolution Xtra Soluble 46.0.0 and feels that he now has the ideal products in place.

“I will always get an application of the Evolution Xtra out so that it is sitting there waiting to take all the nutrients in. It washes it down to the roots and then away it goes. It might be six weeks from when we spray the feed to when the Goemar and Excel go out and you can really see the benefits. The colour is great and you can see the Poa still hanging on which you normally wouldn’t see.

“I remember when we first applied this combination and they looked like different fairways.

“I will continue with this method because I want to encourage more water to go down to the roots and these products are doing the fairways a world of good.”

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

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SISIS Variseeder: The Master at Matlock  


Derek McJannet, head greenkeeper at Matlock Golf Club, claims that the SISIS Variseeder 1300 has proved to be a fantastic asset and has signalled some huge improvements to the stunning course in Derbyshire.

Founded in 1906, Matlock Golf Club is situated 850 feet above sea level in the hills of Derbyshire just on the edge of the Peak district, which as one can imagine, offers some fantastic backdrops and scenery. 

Derek has been at the club for eleven years and is part of a four-man team which tends to the 18-hole moorland course along with the club’s crown bowling green. Throughout his tenure the team has maintained the course to an excellent standard much to the delight of the club’s members.

3551104285?profile=RESIZE_710xDerek admits that maintaining the course can be challenging at times with a relatively small team and it is for this reason that he started to research current machinery which would be of benefit to the greenkeeping team as well as the golf club members.

“In one of my previous roles I had used the SISIS Variseeder and knew that it would be an asset here, however we always had a budget to consider.

“Then there was one incident last year in which we experienced some damage on some areas of the course. We needed to find a quick solution and ended up borrowing a SISIS Variseeder from a neighbouring golf club.  With the machine we were able to double pass all of the tees with seed, feed them and they came back to a better standard than what they were before. This was when we knew that we needed to get one of our own. I think the results from the Variseeder we borrowed convinced the committee as well.”

The SISIS Variseeder is a versatile easy to use tractor mounted seeder with a variable seeding rate ideal for golf course maintenance and for use on lawns and amenity areas. It has a fast work rate, is low maintenance with few wearing parts and enables overseeding to be undertaken without taking ground out of play. Complete with a studded roller, the Variseeder prepares the seedbed by creating thousands of little “plant pots” to receive the seed without linear grooves that can disturb play.

3551104869?profile=RESIZE_710xDerek and his team use the Variseeder on all of the tees and also over-seed any bare areas on or around the greens and approaches.

“For us the biggest benefit is that it just saves us so much time,” said Derek. “It is now just a one-man operation, whereas before there were two or three of us doing it all by hand. From start to finish, we can get all of the areas completed in just a couple of days. The Variseeder is also incredibly easy to use, it creates these little pockets and simply drops the seed in.

“It is incredibly fast and effective and we are seeing much better coverage and a more uniformed establishment compared to when we were doing it by hand.

“Maintenance-wise it is a dream and we hardly have to worry about it. There are no hydraulics so there is no risk of oil spills either. I’ve been after a Variseeder for at least three years so I’m pleased I finally have one.

“The members have noticed the difference and are very happy with what we are producing – and if our members are happy then I am happy.”

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

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Lawn Care Legends returns to SALTEX 2019

The Lawn Care Legends networking event for landscapers and gardeners will be returning to SALTEX 2019 – which takes place at the NEC, Birmingham on 30 and 31 October.

The Legends will be back in full force and will be even bigger with hundreds of attendees expected and over £2500 worth of prizes to be won.

The online Facebook group provides a daily opportunity for all landscapers and gardeners to showcase their work and knowledge and ultimately support one another. It consists of nearly 5,000 members featuring solo operators, small to medium size business owners, professionals and aspiring volunteers.

3549425143?profile=RESIZE_710xAfter celebrating a hugely successful SALTEX 2018, the group has seen a meteoric rise in popularity. Since last year’s event the group has been invited to host a networking event at the Green Industry and Equipment Expo (GIE) in the USA and an increase in machinery reviews, factory visits and interviews with key industry experts are readily available through the group’s social networks and an all-new online TV channel will be launching in 2020.

Founder of Lawn Care Legends, John Ryan, revealed that the group’s membership has significantly increased and that a number of landscapers and gardeners will be travelling from afar to attend the networking event at SALTEX 2019.

“Our membership base keeps rising and I’m expecting a huge turnout at SALTEX this year. Members will be travelling to the NEC from Greece, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway, France and Canada. You don’t have to be a member of the Facebook group to join us at SALTEX – in fact I would encourage anyone who is involved in landscaping or gardening to come along and participate because they could really benefit from the networking event.”

“Our aim is to help and support anyone involved in the industry,” he said. “So, we are planning to include information on marketing your business, pricing a job and how social media is a growing part of the industry. 

“We are also very passionate about mental health issues too. Since being in the industry I have seen just how much it impacts daily lives. Over the past year, we have been encouraging members to openly talk about their struggles and to help one another.”

After a complimentary lunch at the networking event on Wednesday 30 October, the Legends will be hosting their annual awards ceremony. The competition, which is open now, has been created to celebrate the outstanding work of landscapers and gardeners. The Legends are encouraging everyone in the industry to submit up to three pictures which showcase the quality of their work.

The pictures can be posted in the Facebook group (www.facebook.com/groups/lawncarelegends) or through Twitter and Instagram by using the hashtag #LCLSALTEX19. A shortlist will then be created and the winners will be announced at the event.

The prizes will include:

  • Shaft drive lawnmower
  • Professional hedge trimmer
  • Multitool kit
  • Aluminium adjustable tripod ladders
  • Bluetooth noise cancelling ear plugs
  • Strimmer line spool rack with line cutter

Lawn Care Legends LIVE will take place on 30 October at 2:00pm in concourse suites 22 and 23 by the SALTEX entrance.

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Norwich City Football Club is reaping the benefits of the latest Hunter Industries irrigation technology after new systems were installed at both the Carrow Road Stadium and the Club’s training ground; the Lotus Training Centre.

The system, which was purchased through KAR UK – a distributor of Hunter Industries irrigation equipment, consists of a variety of G995, I-40 and I-80 rotary sprinklers, ICV valves, an ACC2 controller with Wi-Fi, a Roam remote and the ST1600 system for synthetic turf.

The Lotus Training Centre Grounds Supervisor, James Randell explained that the new technology was much needed: “We had to change our old irrigation system because we just didn’t have enough stations. Previously we used to get by but when we launched the Lotus Academy there was no doubt about it that we needed to upgrade.

“We spoke to KAR UK about the situation and Mike McDonnell (KAR UK Sales Manager) came to visit and advised on what would work best for us. The systems were installed in April last year and we’ve noticed some huge improvements.”

3519869180?profile=RESIZE_710xAs James says, Norwich City FC has just seen the completion of a £5m project which saw the construction of new state-of-the-art Academy facilities at the Lotus Training Centre. With the addition of new natural and synthetic pitches along with the increasing demand for better quality playing surfaces, it was imperative that the club invested in a superior irrigation system.

With this in mind the club opted for the most technologically advanced commercial rotor on the market - the all-new Hunter I-80 gear-driven rotor.

Engineered specifically for sports turf, the I-80 is built with a robust, dirt-tolerant gear drive that offers the highest torque output of any rotor in the commercial sphere, and extends a radius range from 11.3 to 29.6 meters. The I-80 features a wide range of highly efficient, dual-trajectory, wind-fighting nozzles for highly efficient performance in a range of applications. It also provides total top serviceability (TTS) via its integrated, surface-mounted snap-ring for no-dig easy maintenance.

“We had 32 I-80’s installed and they are phenomenal,” said James. “Prior to these being installed we couldn’t get the grass to grow around the pop-ups. But with these new I-80 heads, with the nozzles and the spray pattern, they are a lot better and the growth this year has been amazing.”

With the I-80’s working wonders on the pitches at the training centre, James has also been blown away with the results from using the ACC2 controller which is ideal for delivering advanced water management to meet the demands of large-scale commercial projects and the Roam remote - which eliminates the need to go back and forth to the sprinkler controller.

“The controls are very easy to use and the remote allows you, no matter where you are onsite, to activate any of the sprinklers at any time. If for example, one of the coaches wanted to irrigate one of the pitches just before the players came onto the pitch then we can easily do that at just the click of a button.

“Overall, this new system has signalled some huge improvements. It has given us greater flexibility, is more accurate and because it is more accurate, we have seen a lot less water wastage. We have really enjoyed the Hunter Industries experience and KAR UK has provided an excellent service – they are always on hand to offer advice and are incredibly reliable.”

Hunter Industries is distributed in the UK by KAR UK. For more information, please visit www.karuk.com or www.hunterindustries.com.


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Dennis PRO 34R Works Wonders for Wolves

Wolverhampton Wanderers FC have recently purchased seven Dennis PRO 34R rotary mowers and deputy head groundsman Anthony Parker claims they have made a huge improvement to turf maintenance operations at both the Molineux Stadium and the Club’s Sir Jack Hayward Training Ground.

Since the 2016 takeover by Fosun – a Chinese conglomerate and investment company, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, one of the greatest names in early professional football and one of the first of the Football League’s 12 founder members, are back where they belong.

Promoted back to England’s top flight and impressing on their return to the Premier League, exciting times lie ahead after the Club finished in a very respectable 7th position and continue to make their presence known in the transfer market. However, while it may well be the results on the pitch which are grabbing the headlines, improvements are also being made behind the scenes. 

“It just all seemed to come together at the same time,” said Anthony. “The new owners arrived and more investment was available for equipment, the club were doing well and it just all went hand in hand.”

At a time when the Club was investing in new turf maintenance equipment the Dennis PRO 34R was launched and Anthony explained why the purchase of these new machines became the number one priority.

“We used to use six small rotary mowers which did a decent job but because of the additional pitch lighting we purchased, we needed to take more staff off the rotaries in order to have more help putting the lighting rigs out during the winter months. When we saw the PRO 34R’s come to the marketplace, it just made complete sense to get a fleet of these in so we purchased four for the training ground and three for the stadium.”

3429649543?profile=RESIZE_710xThe Dennis PRO 34R is a 34" (860mm) rotary mower which has been designed to help groundsmen achieve an aesthetically pleasing appearance and desired playing surface. It is ideal for sports pitches producing the enviable 'Dennis Stripes' while a powerful vacuum flow collects debris quickly and efficiently.

The angle of the cutting deck and twin blades can be easily adjusted using a single 'click adjuster' ensuring the mower is suitable for changing conditions and meeting groundsmen's requirements.

Since its launch in 2018 the PRO 34R has received rave reviews with many groundsmen praising the machine and the speed of its operation.

“With these bigger machines you are allowing more staff to go elsewhere to do additional jobs,” said Anthony. “At the training ground we didn’t rotary cut very often because it was such a time consuming task – normally we had to wait until the first team were off for a day and then maybe six of us would get on the small rotaries and it would take quite a while.

However, with these new PRO 34R’s the staff are using them straight away after a training session to clean the pitches up. They are using them every day and they have improved the pitches no end.

"It is a very user friendly machine and it is extremely adaptable because it has so many different gears. If the time allows then you can go over the pitch as slow as you want cleaning up all the debris efficiently but it is also incredibly quick – you put it into fourth gear and you are done in no time at all. You can get a pitch cleaned up in about 40 minutes with three of you.

“It is great when you leave the stadium after a match-day knowing everything has been done and everything is clean – it certainly helps me sleep easily!”  

At the stadium, Anthony and the team use the PRO 34R and the Dennis G860 in conjunction by relying on the rotaries to cut down to 25mm before switching to the cylinder mowers for the final presentation cuts (23mm) in preparation for match-day.

While the G860 has long been the industry’s number one mower of choice for presentation, Anthony is hugely impressed with the finish achieved by the PRO 34R.

“The finish on the rotaries is absolutely superb and I think you could even use them for a match-day cut because they will provide presentation of the highest quality.”

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

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Chris Hale, course manager at the Warren Golf Club in Devon, turned to Sherriff Amenity after looking for solutions to help decrease the percentage of thatch in the greens profile.

Sited on the Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve, Warren Golf Club is a one of the only true links courses on the south coast of Devon. The course is an 18 hole with beautiful views of the Exe Estuary to enjoy and each hole provides a rare challenge for both the experienced golfer and newcomers to the beautiful game.

3425378924?profile=RESIZE_710xChris joined the club as course manager six months ago and quickly found that he had to seriously consider a nutrient programme appropriate for the Warren’s greens.

“After STRI results, I met with David and discussed the 2 inches of thatch in the greens which we identified as not just being a result of possibly a lack of aeration, but potentially too much nitrogen being applied aswell,” he said. “I wasn’t sure exactly how much was being applied as I couldn’t find any records kept, but I knew that a liquid ‘when required’ feed was more suitable than using a granular.

“After hollow coring and starting the process of neutralising the thatch, my first aim was to promote a healthy grass plant through a steady liquid feed programme.”

Chris called in the expertise of Sherriff Amenity’s David Chammings and together the two of them developed a programme which would help to prevent too much organic matter.

“I did a bit of research and spoke to a few companies but I was really impressed with David’s knowledge and the advice that he gave me.

“We both looked through a number of fertilisers and then we found the correct formula for us which was the E2Pro 12.0.12 liquid. We felt that this would be ideal to help reduce the organic matter in conjunction with aeration and mechanical tining.”

3425381707?profile=RESIZE_710xThe E2Pro high performance liquid fertiliser range is based on advanced formulation technology that provides rapid leaf penetration and quickly relieves nutrient deficiency symptoms. The 12.0.12 is a phosphate free NK fertiliser which contains added potassium for strengthening cell walls and improving resilience to drought stress and disease.

Chris applies the E2Pro 12.0.12 to the greens at 30 l/ha once a month and has found that an application of Sherriff Amenity’s Seavolution (seaweed liquid) at 20 l/ha two weeks later has hugely complimented the E2Pro.

“The E2Pro and the Seavolution mix have helped us to reduce the nitrogen levels and the two products have been really good for us. It’s early days, but results have been good. I’m hoping to see substantial growth and at the same time I’m confident that these products will provide the correct amount of nutrients without being overly excessive.”

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

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In what turned out to be the hottest day of the year, the 2019 ICL Independent School Seminar, held at the illustrious Cheltenham College, saw a record-breaking number of attendees soak up a memorable day of knowledge, networking and first-class cricket.

Over 70 turf professionals made their way to the historic spa town of Cheltenham to network and enhance their education on a variety of different turf management topics in a seminar tailor-made for those working within the Independent Schools sector.

The seminar was held in the College’s Thirlestaine House, which over the years has housed some of Cheltenham’s most creative and forward-thinking students. It was therefore an appropriate setting to discuss the future of turf care and explore new and innovative methods.

Christian Brain, Head of Grounds at Cheltenham College, was the first to take to the stage and proceeded to offer a wonderful glimpse into the College’s rich history in which he reflected on the years, the great changes that have taken place, and the significant marks that history has carved in its life.

It was then down to business as Henry Bechelet, ICL Technical Sales Manager UK & Ireland, delivered his thoughts on The Future of Fertilizer. After nearly two years of negotiations the European Parliament have agreed on a new regulation for fertilizers. Set to commence in 2022, many questions have been raised as to how the new regulations might affect the industry and Henry was on hand to clarify the situation.

“The whole point about the regulations is to protect the end user,” he said. “The other key aim of the legislation is to bring into play added transparency and more sustainable and circular economy ingredients. At ICL we view the new regulations as being progressive because we can always demonstrate the performance of our products, but they are going to have a big impact on how some companies sell their products. No longer will companies be able to falsely market their products – which is a step in the right direction because hopefully it will take out of the marketplace those companies that don’t have the evidence to support their product claims.”

After addressing the new forthcoming fertilizer regulations, Henry discussed the use of the new Pearl granules that ICL is incorporating into the renovator grades in the SierrablenPlus range.

“These are slow release forms of nitrogen but mainly phosphorus which have been proven in trial work to really encourage root development. We are very excited about these new materials because we feel that they will massively enhance renovations and encourage better rooted plants,” he said.

3414303274?profile=RESIZE_710xAttendees then got the opportunity to receive a tour of the grounds and Christian explained how he and his team prepare for the Cheltenham Cricket Festival. At over 140 years of age, Cheltenham is the world's oldest cricket festival and has, over the years, witnessed some legends of the game such as Wally Hammond, Allan Border and WG Grace. Taking place every July, over a two-week period, the festival now features a selection of T20 Blast games – something which the delegates would later enjoy.

As everyone gathered back in Thirlestaine House and re-took their seats, student Tamsin Williams captivated the audience with an insight into ICL’s unique four-year research project which is exploring the effects of seaweed products on turfgrass plant parasitic nematodes.

The project, which is taking place at Royal Holloway, University of London, was founded due to the apparent rise of nematodes. As it stands, there are few options available for the turf manager who has a nematode problem but ICL is currently researching whether seaweed could offer a solution. Tamsin is of the opinion that when the right seaweed is applied to a grass plant it could change the resistance of the plant to disease and insect attack and she revealed her current findings.


“The research into the nematodes and how seaweed can be used as a preventative was very interesting,” said Matt Wharton, Grounds Manager at Reading Blue Coat School. “The technical detail was outstanding – Tamsin is working on something really special that will increase our knowledge and benefit the whole industry.”


At the 2018 ICL Independent School Seminar held at Edgbaston Stadium, Andy Richards, Grounds Manager at Shrewsbury School revealed how he uses data recorded from his weather station and moisture metres to improve playing conditions and to identify what equipment he needs in order to continue to ake improvements. Inspired by Andy’s seminar, Glenn Kirby, Syngenta's Technical Manager for UK Turf & Landscape unveiled a year’s worth of recorded data which undoubtedly piqued the delegates’ curiosity.

“The talk from Andy last year ignited my excitement to get out there and have a look for myself,” said Glenn. “It was an opportunity to talk to the delegates about the limitations I have found within some of the data and how I feel it could help people manage their turf moving forwards.

 “Weather conditions are changing all the time and due to this turf managers are becoming under increasing pressure so having a really firm hand on exactly what is going on in the soil can only help them. It is going to be very challenging and will be very different to what they have seen before.”

Glenn’s presentation seemed to strike a chord with attendee Carl Reeves, who is enjoying his first role in a Head Groundsman position at Bradfield College. “I think the last seminar about climate change and how it’s continuing to adjust was a real eye opener because we have obviously affected the planet quite badly. Yes, we have some huge challenges ahead but this seminar demonstrated how to use certain technology to ensure that we are always that one step ahead.”

As the delegates reflected on yet another insightful ICL seminar, keeping on top of turf management and looking to the future in an ever-changing industry seemed to be the general consensus.

“I think that a lot of the research and the projects ICL are working on are key to how we change turf management in the next ten years,” said Charlie Seager, a Groundsman at Warwick Independent Schools Foundation. “You have got to be ahead of the times because of the way technology is changing so it is very beneficial to come to events like these.”

Charlie was one of four grounds staff from Warwick who attended and Duncan Toon, Grounds Manager, explained why it was so important to make the seminar a team outing.

“These seminars are essential because it isn’t just all about what we learn in the seminars - it’s also about networking and what you get from chatting to other groundsmen. I can guarantee that we will be sitting round the table on Monday and I’ll have twenty new ideas from everyone who attended and that is why I like to bring the whole team.”

Gary Austin, Deputy Head Groundsman at Radley College, praised the event for simplifying what can potentially be some incredibly overwhelming topics.

“What I like about these seminars are that you can tell that ICL are genuinely trying to help groundsmen like us – they are on our side. I also think ICL present all of their data and research in a non-scientific manner which general groundsmen can understand. They break the research data down really nicely for you, in an easy to understand way and you can then go ahead and put it into practice.”

The day was rounded off in style as the delegates joined a sell-out 5,000 strong attendance to watch Gloucestershire inflict a first defeat on Middlesex in this season's Vitality Blast.

Organiser of the event, ICL’s Emma Kilby, first launched the Independent School Seminar back in 2011 and is pleased to see just how far it has come over the years.

“This is a huge sector and consists of a very particular group of people that look after schools which have a multitude of different surfaces - all of which require very different approaches.

When I first joined ICL eight years ago I just felt that they were not receiving the kind of support they needed. It was at that point I started discussing the idea of an event with various school groundsmen and we launched the first seminar in 2011 at Radley College.

“The event has run every year since at different venues and the bar is raised each time. These guys are real experts in lots of different disciplines and their requirements are quite individual so to actually focus on them and to get them along to an event where all the seminars are aimed at topics they are interested in is one thing but also the opportunity to get them all together so they can talk with one another and network is invaluable.”

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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Syn-Pro by SISIS thrives at Beaumont

A range of Syn-Pro equipment by SISIS is helping Cameron Flitten, head groundsman for De Montfort University at Beaumont Park, keep the synthetic surfaces in impeccable condition.

With the emergence of synthetic surfaces becoming more common over the years in a wide range of sports, the SISIS brand has continued to go from strength to strength with its impressive Syn-Pro portfolio. Today synthetic surfaces are playing such a large role in a groundsman’s overall responsibilities, many have turned to the reliable and efficient Syn-Pro range and Cameron is no exception.

Originally from New Zealand, Cameron’s career in sports turf started with an apprenticeship on a golf course before landing a role working on the cricket squares at Loughborough University and then progressing to being in charge of the rugby and football pitches.

Three years ago, he became the head groundsman for De Montfort University, which coincided with the university agreeing to lease the vast playing fields at Beaumont Park. The site received a multi-million pound investment and transformed the facilities into some of the best in the county. Along with seven other members of staff, Cameron maintains the wide array of sports surfaces at Beaumont Park which now includes two recently built all-weather 3G synthetic pitches.

3413005002?profile=RESIZE_710xTo maintain these two pitches, Cameron chooses to use the Litamina 1200 and a combination of the Flexicomb fitted with straight and zigzag brushes.

The Litamina 1200 is a compact sweeper for efficient collection for unwanted debris from sand filled or rubber crumb synthetic surfaces. With its spiral design brush helping to stand up the pile and improve collection, and a large capacity mesh hopper collecting debris but allowing infill to be returned to the surface, the Litamina 1200 is ideal for helping to keep surfaces free of contamination and harmful debris.

Designed primarily for use on synthetic surfaces, the Flexicomb ensures even distribution of infill materials and lifts the pile. The adjustable setting ensures the effect of a rake, but with the softness of a brush, reducing the risk of damage to the fibres. The bristle sections are replaceable and the Flexicomb is designed for a long working life with minimal maintenance. For greater results, Cameron attaches either the zigzag or straight brush to the Flexicomb which helps to even out the rubber crumb.

“We use the Flexicomb with the zigzag or straight brush three times a week, especially now with the high usage the pitches get. It helps to de-compact all of the rubber, levels it all off and stands all of the grass fibres back up.

“The Litamina is an essential piece of equipment and this is used at least once a month, sometimes more if there are a lot of leaves on the surface. It is perfect for removing all of the rubbish and debris from the surface.

“These two pieces of equipment are all I need for my synthetic surface maintenance and you can always rely on them to do a brilliant job. I like that they are solidly built but I also like the simplicity of them. You can tell that SISIS have thought a lot about the groundsmen using them because they are easy to set-up and are generally very user-friendly. They also never break down either.”

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

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Glamorgan County Cricket Club head groundsman Robin Saxton believes that a range of Limagrain UK grass seed is helping the venue stand up to the demands of modern day sport and the constant scrutiny that pitches are under.

Sophia Gardens Cardiff, a 16,000-seater stadium, is the home of Glamorgan Cricket and an established venue for international cricket. In an average season, the venue will host four day championship games, T20 games, international and domestic fixtures and a mixture of local and corporate games. Robin estimates that there are approximately between 45-50 days of cricket played at the venue each year and this is in addition to pre-season concerts and events.

It is safe to say that Robin, who has been at Sophia Gardens since 2013, has his work cut out and that is without the increasing pressure grounds personnel are under, as he explains.

“Due to the demands of modern day sport and because of the TV cameras, pitches are always under scrutiny and it needs to be at its best at all times.

“Even the outfields used to be the square’s poor cousin not so long ago but that has all changed now. What you don’t want is a square that looks great and an outfield that looks patchy because it will be quickly noticed.”

For his outfields, Robin overseeded with Limagrain’s Action Replay which is a 100% Ryegrass hard-wearing mixture.

“The Action Replay is a winter sports mix, designed for the likes of football and rugby so we thought that this mixture would be ideal for the outfield,” he said. “It is wear and disease tolerant because it is a broad, robust seed.

3411154567?profile=RESIZE_710x“We first applied it last year and we had a fantastic take with it which excelled during a particularly hot summer. Since using Action Replay we have seen a lot less burn off and a lot less dry out on the outfield.”

When it comes to the 15 wickets and practice pitches on the square, MM50 has stood the test of time and has been used at Sophia Gardens for as long as Robin can remember.

“I’ve been here since 2013 and even before I arrived MM50 was being used,” he said. “It shows that myself and others before me have always had faith in the seed and deservedly so because we have tried other seeds against it in side-by-side trials. MM50 has always come up better, nothing has ever beaten it.”

MM50 is the ideal seed for cricket squares. This hard-wearing mix has rapid germination, a 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. It is also widely praised for its rapid recovery – something which Robin quickly noticed.

“MM50 is by far the best seed in terms of recovery. When trialled against the others, it has proven to be stronger, it has come through thicker and it is more wear tolerant. It has consistently outperformed other seeds we have trailed.

“You are left with a stronger plant that is going to take the activity across the square better than a slightly finer plant - which with a full calendar of cricket is a big bonus. With MM50 you just have the confidence in knowing that it will handle the stresses of four-day cricket where we can’t really water the square as much as we would like to.

“There has never been any reason to change the seed,” continued Robin. “In fact it has probably been the one constant product we have stuck with over the years – we may have changed the fertilisers, the chemistry and the biology but not the actual grass plant because it has always been a great base to work from.

“For me, the consistency of MM50 is the best feature. I don’t remember one year where we have had a batch that has not performed how we would like it to. It has got to the point that if something isn’t right then we look at things we might have done incorrectly because it is no doubt a mistake on our part rather than the seed because we know how good the MM50 is.”

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

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PRO Supplier

KAR UK has announced the launch of the new Hunter ST-1700V Turf Rotor which offers unrivalled high-performance irrigation for synthetic surfaces.

The ST range of Hunter irrigation products, which are expertly designed to cool and clean synthetic turf sports surfaces, have long been a market leader. Simple to specify, contractor-friendly to install, and easy to service and maintain for the end-user, the Hunter ST System is the first and only cost-effective, fully integrated solution designed to exceed the unique and specific needs of the synthetic turf irrigation market.

3408882993?profile=RESIZE_710xNow, KAR UK - distributor of Hunter Industries irrigation equipment, has revealed that the renowned ST portfolio has been further strengthened with the addition of the new ST-1700V Synthetic Turf Rotor.

Simplicity is the key to the ST-1700V as it integrates Valve-in-Head (VIH) capabilities and a Total-Top-Service (TTS) design to simplify installation and maintenance.

Performance wise, the ST-1700V is unbeatable. Key benefits include:

  • TTS design provides convenient no-dig servicing without the need to cut into the synthetic surface
  • VIH configuration makes installation fast and easy
  • Heavy-duty internal gear drive provides years of reliable operation
  • Includes all the features and benefits of the popular ST-1600 rotor

The ST-1700V rotor is now available exclusively in the UK and Ireland from KAR UK.

For more information, please visit www.karuk.com or www.hunterindustries.com.


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