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SALTEX 2019 registration now open

Registration for Europe’s largest annual groundscare exhibition SALTEX 2019 is now open and visitors will notice some notable improvements to the registration process. 

Visitor registration is an integral part of the customer journey and new for SALTEX 2019 event organisers have partnered with LiveBuzz – the largest registration specialist in the UK which is the preferred supplier for some of the world’s most prestigious events.

Commenting on the new registration partnership, SALTEX event director Matthew Knight said: ““It’s important that our visitors, our exhibitors and their customers have the best possible experience at SALTEX. We are always aiming to make improvements to the show each year and following an open tendering process we appointed LiveBuzz because we want the very best in all aspects of the show.

“We are confident that our visitors will experience a best practice registration process – it will be smoother, more interactive and in addition there will be ten registration terminals at the show entrance meaning that visitors will gain faster entry.”

Taking place at the NEC, Birmingham on 30 and 31 October, SALTEX 2019 will feature over 300 exhibitors including some of the biggest names in groundscare. The two-day event will offer visitors a unique opportunity to experience the very latest industry trends and innovations, enhance their education and learn from industry experts.

The exhibition is the longest-standing event of its kind in the world, having been held almost every year since 1938, and the show is continually evolving with the people of the industry in mind.

3081624966?profile=RESIZE_710xThis year the show floor will be bursting with everything a visitor needs to increase their efficiency and improve operations – and attendees can expect features such as:

  • NEW! Eco Village – live demonstrations purely dedicated to environmentally-friendly products.
  • Learning LIVE - SALTEX’s world-class free educational programme.
  • Pathology and Soil Science LIVE – a look in detail at the symptoms of turfgrass fungal disease problems.
  • SALTEX Innovation Award – celebrating the very best in new groundscare technology.
  • Ask the Expert - free face-to-face turfcare advice.
  • Outdoor Demonstrations – the latest products in action in an area directly outside halls 6,7 and 8.
  • SALTEX College Cup - land based colleges compete in an academic test of turf management knowledge.
  • Lawn Care Legends LIVE – a fantastic networking opportunity for landscapers and gardeners.
  • Job Clinic – free one-to-one sessions covering CV writing to interview techniques.

Registration is accessible through the SALTEX website and visitors can simply bring their email confirmation (on a phone or a printed copy to the registration desk) which will be located at the show entrance.

SALTEX 2019 takes place at the NEC, Birmingham on October 30 and 31.

For more information visit www.iogsaltex.com

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Gary Barnfield, head greenkeeper at Oswestry Golf Club in Shropshire, claims the SISIS Flexibrush has proved to be an ideal solution for controlling worm casts.

Oswestry Golf Club is a mature parkland 18 hole course set in the glorious Shropshire countryside and Gary has been working at the club for an impressive 31 years after joining as an apprentice. Over the years he has worked his way up through the ranks and six years ago he was promoted to the position of head greenkeeper. 

Since taking over as head greenkeeper Gary has implemented a number of changes to the maintenance regimes which has no doubt reinforced the club’s reputation for being in an excellent condition all year round.

However, over recent years Gary claims that he has faced arguably his biggest challenge after a number of chemicals were removed from the turfcare market.

“With the ban of certain chemicals we have not been able to use what was once in our armoury,” he said. “This proved to be problematic, as it no doubt did for every other greenkeeper, but the biggest loss was Carbendazim. Unfortunately the worms came out and more and more casts were appearing so we had to come up with a solution. 

“An STRI advisor came to visit us and recommended that we apply some sand to top dress to the areas and also to brush the worm casts and level them off before we cut. We needed to find ourselves a reliable machine that would give the worm casts a rigorous brush and we trialled four brushes from four different brands. The SISIS Flexibrush was the stand out machine.”

The SISIS Flexibrush is a tractor mounted brush which is equally effective to disperse top dressing and remove excess material on natural turf and on synthetic surfaces. The versatile Flexibrush can also be used for dew dispersal and striping for improved 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.

“It’s not only great for brushing the worm casts but it also stands the grass up before we cut – which improves the quality of the cut and gives us better presentation,” said Gary.

“In fact, the Flexibrush has got multiple uses because we use it for knocking dew off in the mornings and also in the winter months when the turf is not growing so much we will brush instead of cutting to keep the presentation to a high standard.

“Ultimately, we had to do something about the worm casts and the Flexibrush has done a brilliant job. I think it is a great alternative to spraying the worms and I think more greenkeepers will go down this route.

“It has been a cost saving exercise for us too because we used to have contractors come in and spray the worms but the SISIS Flexibrush was a one off payment and we get to keep it for us long as we like.

“It’s such a well-built machine and nothing can really go wrong with it – I think it will probably even outlast me!”

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

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David Dixons has been appointed as a new Etesia dealer and will be distributing Etesia’s complete product range throughout the North East of England.

Based in Hexham, Northumberland, David Dixons have been suppliers, service engineers and advisers to the arboriculture and horticulture industries in the North East of England for over 37 years.

The company will now be supplying the complete range of Etesia ride-on mowers, scarifiers, brushcutters, green technology and pedestrian mowers, and Julian Weightman - dealer principal at David Dixons is delighted with the announcement.

“We had a good chat about the products with Etesia, I could see the advantages that the products offer and it just went from there,” he said. “I am confident that the products are going to be popular with our land owner clients and our professional users who are wanting machines that perform day-in day-out consistently.”

Specialists in manufacturing high quality grass cutting machinery for both the professional and domestic market, Etesia's extensive range of products have been in consistent high demand for a number of years. It is for this reason that the company's vast dealer network continues to grow. From the UK to Ireland, Etesia dealers are providing their customers with innovative solutions for their green space requirements.

With immediate effect the range of Etesia products will be available from David Dixons in the areas of Northumberland, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, and Middlesbrough and up to the Scottish borders.

“From our point of view as a dealership, we are interested in selling quality equipment,” said Julian. “We are interested in working with customers that we are going to be working with for 20-30 years and Etesia’s equipment is perfectly built to last and that fits very much in line with how we operate our business. We want to sell quality that will last customers a long time and do the job well and that is where Etesia comes in.

“On the face of it Etesia may appear expensive but when you look at the life you will get out of the machines – then I know that our customers will get excellent value for money.”

For further information, please contact Etesia UK on 01295 680120 or visit www.etesia.co.uk.


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Grounds manager Andy Richards claims that Limagrain UK’s MM brand of grass seed has proved time and time again, to be the best mixtures for the sports pitches at Shrewsbury School.

Set on the banks of the River Severn, Shrewsbury School is one of the country's leading co-educational independent schools for 13-18-year-olds and attracts boys and girls from all over the country.

Academic excellence aside, the school prides itself on a strong sporting ethos and boasts some of the finest teams in UK education. The main sport in the Michaelmas (autumn) term is football, in the Lent term fives and rugby, and in summer cricket. During term times, pitch usage is seven days a week and with over 800 pupils, many of whom participate in sports, it is safe to say that the pitches encounter a lot of wear.

It is for this reason that Andy is very particular in choosing a grass seed that stands up to such high usage.

“Three years ago we made the decision to change to Limagrain’s MM60 on our football pitches,” he said. “We were experiencing a lot of disease, especially on our first team pitch, and I think we sprayed four times to tackle fusarium. With this in mind I thought it was worth trying something different to see if we could find a seed that was better for our site.

“We trialled MM60 on one pitch against the seed that we were previously using over the course of a season – to see which one was the best. Results showed that there was a lot less disease from using MM60 and it stood up a lot better to the really high usage that we have. The pitch that we trialled it on had 112 uses during a twelve week period and it felt like the MM60 provided a much more upright leaf which seemed to protect the pitch more than our previous seed.

“It was an easy decision to change to the MM60 and we implemented it across all of the football pitches – we didn’t even need to spray it for any disease in that first year.” 

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®.

Developed using the latest scientific findings and field experience, Headstart GOLD® is a natural revolutionary grass seed treatment that ensures rapid germination and is perfect for enhancing performance on grass seed coatings for sports fields, golf courses, lawns and amenity turf.

For 2019, MM60 now includes Limagrain’s new Ryegrass cultivar Annecy which has outstanding disease resistance particularly against Leaf Spot. This along with excellent wear tolerance, density and recovery makes it a very valuable addition to the mixture at a time when plant health and disease management has never been so important.

After ‘Koro-ing off’ the pitches during the annual August renovations, Andy has just 28 days to ensure the pitches are playable for the opening fixtures. Therefore, when Andy sows the seed he needs absolute confidence that it will perform.

“We know that by the fourth or the fifth day MM60 is going to be showing; within seven days it is going to be green, and then between ten and fourteen days we will even look at putting a growth regulator down and encourage it to start tillering and get as deep rooted as possible. MM60 responds excellently - it’s hungry, it’s vigorous, it comes through well and it colours well. The Headstart can also take out the need for pre-seed fertiliser.”

In a similar move, Andy also decided to change to Limagrain’s MM50 for the school’s cricket pitches after his previous seed was not meeting his expectations.

“We were using a different seed on the squares but our recovery was so poor and the pitches were almost dead at the end of two or three games of cricket. We didn’t even trial the MM50 - we just went straight in on a whole square and the difference was incredible. The speed that it came through and the quality of the sward was really impressive. We had no disease through the winter and when we prepared our first wickets with MM50 the following spring – the denseness, the texture of the leaf and the way it cut down to the 6mm we aim for was amazing. The wickets looked good and they coloured up well but the most important thing was that we could water them after four or five days of play and within a couple of days they were almost green again.”

As Andy says, MM50 is ideal for cricket squares and outfields. 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. It is also widely praised for its rapid recovery – something which is incredibly important to Andy.

“With the amount of games we have here, recovery is a massive thing and we have to get them back quickly. MM50 has just proved time and time again to be the best cricket mix in the country.

“Limagrain is a great company to work with. They will come in a few times a year, have a look around and we will discuss things like overseeding pitches or seed mixtures. The service has been very good and I don’t think they could actually do anymore if they tried.”

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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Keith Porter, head groundsman at Leigh Sports Village in Greater Manchester, has added to his fleet of Dennis mowers by purchasing four G860 cylinder mowers and four PRO 34R rotary mowers.

Leigh Sports Village certainly lives up to its name by comprising of a main stadium pitch - a Desso Hybrid GrassMaster, three additional soil based sand ameliorated pitches with primary and secondary drainage and irrigation; and two full size, three seven-a-side and a 5-a-side floodlit 4G synthetic pitches. The village also features an indoor sports centre and a swimming pool.

It is home to a number of professional sports teams including rugby league side Leigh Centurions and Manchester United FC U23’s, U19’s and most recently the ladies team. It is also used by local teams and organisations such as Leigh East Amateur Rugby Club, Leigh Athletic FC, Team Elite Football Academy, Pro Football Academy and various age groups of Leigh United FC and Hindley Green Juniors.

Keith has been the head groundsman at this impressive facility for nearly eleven years and in that time has excelled in improving the quality of the playing surfaces.

To cut and prepare the pitches for match days he has long relied on the Dennis G860 cylinder mower. However, with games coming thick and fast, and armed with some rather ageing rotary mowers, Keith felt the time was right to add to his Dennis armoury.

“Quite often, we will have back-to-back games and have three games in a week – so we need good equipment for a quick turn-around,” he said. “Our old rotaries were about four years old and had become unreliable. I’ve used lots of Dennis machines in my time and they have always been incredibly reliable so we decided to look at their new rotary mower.

“We had a PRO 34R on a demonstration and were really impressed with it so we decided to go ahead and purchase four. It was also the ideal opportunity to bring in more G860’s because they have always given us great results.

“They are both light machines compared to competitors, so they are lighter on the pitch and therefore there is not as much compaction.”

The new 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 and lawns 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.

Keith believes the two mowers perfectly complement one another and that both play a vital role in his maintenance programme.

“We use the G860’s to cut the pitches for match preparation and then the day after the games the rotaries are used to clean up and present the pitches in time for the next game,” he said. “The rotaries keep it free from debris and nicely stripes them up - in fact, the presentation on the PRO 34R is very comparable to a cylinder mower.

“The rotaries also save us so much time because before we had the PRO 34R’s we used to have six rotary mowers out there at one time but now we just have four which do the job in a faster time. This is because there are two blades as opposed to one and a wider cut. A quick turnaround is essential here especially if you are going from rugby to football.

For a number of years now the Dennis G860 has been the number one choice for groundsmen like Keith. 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 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. The Dennis G860 also features an interchangeable cassette system to assist with a wide range of tasks.

“What I like about Dennis as a company is that they are very interested in your opinion,” Keith continued. “They are always asking you about your experience with their mowers and ask if they could make any improvements. They then go away and genuinely listen. 

“It just adds to the overall package and everything about the company is great. The mowers are British made, they have been around for a long, long time, they put a lot of thought into the machinery based on industry feedback and their main priority is their customer.”

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

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Dennis & SISIS have completed another successful season of insightful seminars which welcomed over 500 attendees at various venues throughout the UK.

Dennis & SISIS have, for a number of years, hosted free-to-attend educational seminars designed to educate groundstaff on a variety of topics associated with sports turf maintenance. High quality speakers and interesting subjects have ensured these seminars have a reputation as 'must-attend' events with groundstaff travelling considerable distances to be in attendance.

While the seminars continue to go from strength to strength, Dennis and SISIS continue to evolve the seminars with the people of the industry in mind, and this year, the British manufacturers launched a new multi-sport groundcare seminar which featured a number of high quality speakers discussing subjects such as renovations, sports-turf construction, drainage, winter sports pitches and the future of groundcare maintenance.

This new event, which took place at St. Albans School, Woollam Trust Playing Fields, saw an incredible 220 delegates in attendance and attracted grounds staff from all over the UK including volunteers and professionals representing schools, sports clubs, local authorities and contractors.

Nick Lockhart, cricket professional and head of grounds and gardens at Felsted School in Essex, attended the event and claimed that the Dennis and SISIS seminars are essential for anyone who wants to take their sports surfaces to the next level.

“It has been thoroughly enjoyable, informative and thought provoking,” he said. “I would go as far as saying that it is a must-attend event for people in this industry. It has been incredibly interesting listening to all of the speakers who have all raised great points that we can take away with us and put into practice. Speakers aside, the networking opportunities are also important because it gives us a chance to speak to other delegates, find out what they might be doing differently to us and hopefully learn from them too.”

The ever popular Dennis and SISIS bowls seminars, which have been credited for improving the greens at numerous bowls clubs throughout the country, offered tips on topics such as early spring maintenance of bowling greens, grant funding support, and choosing the correct grass seed, chemicals and fertilizers.

Kev Brazier, a contract greenkeeper working in partnership with Harpenden Bowls Club, attended the seminar at the Herts Bowling Club in Watford and felt that it was a great opportunity to enhance his greenkeeping knowledge. 

“It was an excellent and really informative seminar,” he said. “The speakers had great knowledge and they presented it in a way in which everyone could understand. It was great for networking and there was a broad range of subjects. They were all incredibly relevant and I took a lot away from seminar.”

As well as hosting their own events, Dennis and SISIS are committed to supporting sports turf education wherever possible and this year they also offered their expertise at eight Rugby Football Union (RFU) Pitch Maintenance seminars.

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

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A tank mixture from Sherriff Amenity is helping Richard Quelch, groundsman at Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club, to improve the health of the eleven fantastic lawns at the club in East Devon.

Founded in the late 1860s, Budleigh Salterton is one of the premier croquet clubs in Europe and is situated in a beautiful location with wonderful views looking over the town of Budleigh Salterton.

Richard maintains the lawns to a very high standard, so much so that the club is regularly chosen to host major British and International Tournaments, including the European Golf Croquet Championships.

Although the venue is considered by many to be the ‘Wembley of Croquet’, that doesn’t stop Richard from continuing to make improvements and finding new ways to take the lawns to another level.

“I’m trying to boost the overall health of the lawns and I would like to get more roots into the ground,” he said. “The more roots I have, then the better the lawns can withstand a dry season and stresses. Plus, we are recently starting to have a few issues with leatherjackets and there are not many chemicals available on the market to solve this.

“Ultimately it is a case of trying to make the grass as strong as possible to combat the hot summers and any disease.”

Richard felt that he needed a nice ‘cocktail’ of nutrients which he could apply to the lawns on a regular basis and after speaking to Sherriff Amenity’s David Chammings, he found the ideal solution.

He now applies a monthly tank mix consisting of E2Pro Liquid 12.0.12 (at 60 l/ha), E2Pro PhosRite (at 10 l/ha) and SeaVolution seaweed liquid (at 20 l/ha) and noticed an immediate improvement.  

“I trialled a few different products to see which would be the best for this site,” said Richard. “I felt that these products from Sherriff Amenity were the best for me and I was particularly keen to include the PhosRite, because it encourages a deeper, healthier root and relieves stress.”

As Richard says, Sherriff Amenity’s E2 Pro PhosRite can bring dramatic improvements to turf. Results from trials have shown improved turf quality and enhanced rooting. The benefits come from the plant’s improved ability to withstand stress conditions, allowing stronger, healthier grass to develop.

It is rapidly absorbed into the plant leaves where it translocates as phosphite within the plant cells. This stimulates strong, healthy growth and plants with a better root structure that are more able to withstand stress. The phosphite in E2 Pro PhosRite is rapidly distributed throughout the plant using both upward and downward transport systems (xylem and phloem) ensuring that all parts of the plant are quickly affected.

The addition of E2Pro Liquid in the tank-mix works to provide rapid leaf penetration and quickly relieves nutrient deficiency symptoms while Seavolution encourages disease infected areas to recover, optimising turf quality.

“It appears to be the perfect tank mix for me and it has already created a good thickness of grass,” said Richard. “Very soon, we are set to host the European Championships and I’m confident that the lawns will be of a good enough standard to cater for some of the very best players in this sport.”

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

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Head greenkeeper Michael Burgin has reported hugely successful results from using the SISIS TM1000 tractor mounted heavy duty scarifier to combat high levels of thatch on the greens at Normanby Hall Golf Club.

This delightful golf course in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, adjoins the picturesque Normanby Hall country park and is set in 117 stunning acres of mature woodland and parkland. The 18 hole, par 72 course is widely considered to be one of the toughest courses to play in the area, providing a challenge for players of all abilities.

Michael, who has been in the greenkeeping industry throughout his entire career, has been at Normanby Hall for eleven years. Two years ago, he was promoted to the position of head greenkeeper and one of his first tasks in charge was to tackle an abundance of thatch which had occurred on the greens.

“We established that we had a large layer of thatch on the top of our greens; it was on all of them throughout the whole course. This resulted in some drainage problems and I knew that we desperately needed a new piece of equipment which could help us solve the problem.

“I did a lot of research and came across a number of videos online of greenkeepers using the TM1000. I then read an article about the course manager at Greetham Valley Golf Club using it and what he said about the machine pretty much persuaded me to buy it.”

The SISIS Rotorake TM1000 is a tractor mounted heavy duty scarifier and linear aerator and is un-rivalled 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.

The fact that the TM1000 collects debris was a key factor in his decision and also something which was incredibly important to the greenkeeping team according to Michael.

“There were other machines on the market but the ones we looked at didn’t collect. This would mean that you would require two or three guys going behind the machine clearing up.

The hydraulics on the back of the TM1000 means that the operator doesn’t have to keep jumping in and out to empty the grass box – which would be very time consuming. For a small team, if you can get one man to do this job then it is a massive benefit.

“I also like the fact that the TM1000 can go down to 50mm deep. The SISIS TM1000 runs straight through the turf – like a knife through butter.

“We have found that the time of year doesn’t really matter when it comes to using it. The first time we used the TM1000 was mid-February in winter conditions and we found that it did not phase the machine whatsoever.

“No matter what the weather you can’t even tell that the TM1000 has been across the greens and that has really impressed me. It’s a reliable machine with very little maintenance required.

“Overall it is just a fantastic piece of kit. There has been a big improvement in the greens and our soil samples have proved that the thatch levels have dropped dramatically since using the TM1000.”

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

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After a long-term search for the ultimate rotary mower, Andy Richards - grounds manager at Shrewsbury School, believes that he has finally found what he has been looking for in the Dennis PRO 34R.

Shrewsbury School has a world-class reputation for all-round excellence. As well as boasting fantastic academic results the school is also renowned for highly competitive sports teams. The pupils compete internationally in cricket and its football teams are considered to be some of the best in the UK.

In matching the reputation of its teams, the sports pitches are also highly regarded and there’s a reason that the first team pitches at Shrewsbury School are on par with most Premier League football pitches or County Cricket pitches. That reason is grounds manager Andy Richards, who has been in his current position since 2010. Ever the perfectionist, Andy and his team arguably encounter some of the highest usage in sports turf, and even still he insists on leaving no stone unturned.

Andy demands the best in all aspects of his role and even more so when it comes to turf maintenance equipment. After struggling to find a rotary mower which matched his expectations, Andy claims that the solution arrived in the newly launched Dennis PRO 34R.

“Over recent years we have struggled to find a rotary mower that actually ticked every box – they were either too fast or not fast enough; some were too heavy and some felt too light; and there were some that would not pick up the debris clean enough or produce a good enough cut.

“I saw the new rotary mower at SALTEX and knew it would be good because it is a Dennis mower and I already know the quality of cut from their cylinder mowers. It actually seemed to me that a rotary mower was something which was missing from their portfolio so when it did finally come to market I put my name down as soon as possible to get one. It is safe to say that it definitely hasn’t let me down.”

The 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 and lawns 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.

“We bought two of them and I would say that they are easily our most used machines,” said Andy.

“We originally just bought them to hoover up the debris but we quickly found that the cut is comparable to a cylinder mower so we started mowing with them too. Our first team football pitch is surrounded by 30 trees so in autumn we used to come out in the morning of a match day and leaves would be all over it. We actually used to use a cut and collect ride-on mower and then follow up with a Dennis cylinder mower but now we just use the Pro 34 R. It does a brilliant job, saves us time, keeps the weight off the pitch and avoids wheel marks from the heavier ride-on machines.

“I had a feeling it would also work well on our cricket pitches and it has. The amount of debris that is produced during the cricket season is huge. We blow it off with blowers from the surrounding wickets so they can get covered and then the morning after we just hoover it all up with the PRO 34R.

“Maintenance wise, it has been completely trouble-free. It’s my favourite machine at the moment and I think it will take some beating,” said Andy.

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

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New for 2019, SALTEX visitors can expect to experience the latest green technology in groundscare in a new area on the show floor, which is purely dedicated to environmentally-friendly products.

The trend towards sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices in groundscare is gathering pace. Today, an increased number of grounds personnel, greenkeepers, landscapers and contractors are looking for products that can deliver quality results but also reduce carbon footprints to the environment.

Although more than 80 per cent of SALTEX 2018 visitors rated their overall show experience as being excellent, the post-show survey also revealed that visitors thought the exhibition could benefit even further from a wider choice of eco-friendly products and services.  

The all new Eco Village at SALTEX will feature a programme of daily demonstrations of cutting-edge sustainable technology - offering visitors an opportunity of seeing a number of products in action.

Furthermore, industry experts, within this village, will offer advice on green technology and how it could benefit current working practices.

Commenting on the Eco Village, SALTEX event director Matthew Knight, said: “Each year we listen to every single piece of feedback and implement tangible changes that will make the SALTEX experience even better.

“It is great to see groundscare manufacturers committed to reducing the environmental footprints and with the increasing demand for battery-powered products it makes sense to launch a new area at SALTEX, which solely focuses on these technologies.

“There has been a huge amount of interest from companies that are looking to participate and we are expecting to stage a fascinating and varied demonstration programme.”

SALTEX 2019 takes place at the NEC, Birmingham on October 30 and 31.

For more information visit www.iogsaltex.com

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The head groundsman for De Montfort University at Beaumont Park in Leicester believes that most of his maintenance programme can be achieved by using just two key SISIS machines – the Multitiner and the Quadraplay.

Head groundsman Cameron Flitten has a number of strings to his bow when it comes to sports turf maintenance. After starting in the industry with an apprenticeship at a golf course, he went on to specialise in the maintenance of cricket squares, football pitches and rugby pitches in his previous position at Loughborough University.

Cameron has now been in his current employment with De Montfort University for three years but revealed that it was in his former position where he first became acquainted with SISIS machinery.

“I used SISIS machinery at Loughborough so I already knew that they were brilliant pieces of kit. We never used to have any problems with the equipment; they were reliable, simple to use and did an excellent job every time. I tend to always go with what I know works so I was keen to get some SISIS equipment in here.”

In particular, Cameron uses the SISIS Multitiner 1.8m and the SISIS Quadraplay 1.8m at the impressive Beaumont Park which plays host to the university’s men’s and women’s football teams. The facilities are also used by the local community and with a high amount of recorded usage, regular pitch maintenance is essential.

One of today's most useful pieces of kit in any groundsman's armoury, the SISIS Quadraplay significantly speeds up maintenance tasks by carrying out more than one operation simultaneously – making it ideal for groundsmen like Cameron who have several sports pitches to maintain.

This single-pass maintenance system incorporates a mounted frame for up to four implements such as grooming rakes, slitters, rollers and brushes. The implements can be fitted to the mainframe in any order and can be independently adjusted to achieve the desired effect.

“Quite simply, the Quadraplay is essential for us. We’ve got the slitter, the rake wires, the brush and a roller for it and we tend to use it regularly throughout the year. I like the fact that you can carry out a number of tasks in just one sweep which saves so much time. It provides the pitch with aeration, removes organic matter, gives the surface a good clean and then leaves an excellent finish,” Cameron explains.

The SISIS Multitiner is a tractor mounted drum-type aerator which is ideally suited to a range of applications from sports field maintenance, lawns and amenities. It has three drums with independent rotation and its interchangeable tines with a maximum depth of 100mm ensure excellent turf care when the time comes to aerate.

“At this time of year, we tend to use the chisel tines on the Multitiner because it ‘cracks’ the soil incredibly well and we find that it gives us a bit more depth. It’s great to be able to open the surface up especially when it is cold and wet.

“We rely on the Multitiner for drainage and aeration – to ensure that air gets into the surface and to keep the pitches draining freely. I would say that we try and use the Multitiner every couple of weeks and when the weather gets warmer, we switch to the solid tines. It only takes an hour to go over the whole pitch, so it’s incredibly quick compared to other machines on the market.”

“For me, these two machines help me carry out a huge part of our maintenance programme and we use them in tandem. They are well built, reliable and are key pieces of turf maintenance machinery for us here.”

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

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In light of increasing public scrutiny over glyphosate, Complete Weed Control (CWC) is pleased to announce the launch of their online glyphosate resource: www.glyphosateinfo.co.uk.

The website is but one facet of CWC’s ongoing campaign to address the misinformation and fear mongering that is pervading the industry.  The layout is that of a ‘FAQ’ (Frequently Asked Questions) library containing useful information such as which qualifications are required to use glyphosate professionally; what PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is necessary and how soon after application people and animals can use the treated area.

Designed with a gamut of stakeholders in mind including members of the public, local authorities and industry operatives, there is also a wealth of information available through the “Resources” section: from links to related articles from the European Food Safety Authority, to operative-oriented advice on tender specification, complaint handling and application advice.

The concept was brought about following CWC’s successful “Glyphosate Roadshows” - staged in numerous venues throughout the UK – having been attended by over 150 local authority delegates from across the country.

Speaking at the seminar, Complete Weed Control’s managing director, Ian Graham, said: “There has been a considerable and sustained volume of frankly unsubstantiated bad press and much negativity surrounding this product – so we felt it was essential that we explore the reality and present the data that exists from numerous agencies around the world that have all declared this product to be safe.”

Indeed, this data is now readily available through the website and its primary function is to act as a uniform point of reference for common questions posed by members of the public to spray operatives.  All Complete Weed Control employees will now be equipped with a wallet-sized card that displays both a text URL and QR code that leads the enquirer to the FAQ.

To help tackle the growing public concern for glyphosate use in amenity space, Complete Weed Control is offering a similar service with bespoke rebranding for local authorities whom will be able to disseminate their own cards throughout their constituency. Any local authorities interested in this service should contact Complete Weed Control.

To view the new glyphosate website please visit www.glyphosateinfo.co.uk

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Dennis PRO 34R delivers at Beaumont

Cameron Flitten, head groundsman at De Montfort University at Beaumont Park in Leicester, says that the new Dennis PRO 34R rotary mower is significantly improving the vast array of pitches at the impressive sports facility.

Beaumont Park in Leicester has recently benefitted from a multi-million pound investment and has been transformed into an outstanding venue which boasts first-class sports facilities.

In 2015 De Montfort University agreed a 25-year lease on the council-owned Beaumont Park and has been home to the university’s men’s and women’s football teams for past three years. The facilities are also widely used by the local community.

Cameron, who has been the head groundsman throughout this time, revealed that his interest in the Dennis PRO 34R was first ignited when he received a glimpse of the prototype model.

“One day their Area Manager was dropping some equipment off to me and on the back of the trailer there was a machine that I had never seen before. I asked him what it was and it was then that he told me it was the Dennis PRO 34R prototype.

“I had previously used Dennis Mowers in my former job at Loughborough University and I knew that they were reliable and renowned for giving a first-class presentation, so after asking a few questions, I was adamant that I wanted one.

“At the time it was winter and an incredibly wet winter at that. I was struggling to get on the pitches at certain times and ideally, I like to keep weight off the natural pitches so I was looking for an option where I didn’t have to take the tractor on. The PRO 34R seemed to be just what I needed.”

The prototype which Cameron saw that day was launched at SALTEX 2017 with the sole purpose of gathering feedback from potential end users. Over the course of the next twelve months, the mower was refined and developed based on the input from the groundsmen who would eventually be using it. With no stone left unturned, the all new PRO 34R was unveiled at SALTEX 2018.

The 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 and lawns 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.

Unique features of the Dennis PRO 34R Rotary Mower include:

  • 5 forward and 1 reverse selection for speed of operation
  • 90 litre capacity grass box
  • Fully adjustable angle of deck for changing conditions
  • 2 section cast aluminium rear roller
  • Easy to use height of cut gauge
  • Single point height of cut adjustment for ease of operation
  • Optional front wheel or smooth/weile roller options
  • Front brush for standing grasses upright
  • Adjustable handlebars for operator comfort

“At this time of year, you are not really cutting; instead you are using it more as a vacuum cleaner,” said Cameron. “Ideally you just want to remove any loose fragments of grass, debris and soil which sits on the top of the pitches after use because the more organic matter you remove, the less disease you get. In this respect, the PRO 34R is superb and it has certainly helped to keep the pitches cleaner, which will also no doubt make my job easier when it comes to the renovations in spring.

“It also gives us brilliant presentation which is thanks to the roller on the back. I like the fact that it has the brush on the front, so it stands the grass up, the blades go over and then it hoovers it all up.

“The PRO 34R really is a fantastic piece of kit and it is doing a brilliant job. All the staff love using it – especially my assistant groundsman because I can never get it back off him.”

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

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ICL Turf & Landscape is pleased to announce the appointment of Barry Browne as its new Landscape & Industrial National Sales Manager.

Barry has worked in the industry for a number of years and brings with him a wealth of experience. Prior to joining ICL he spent 14 years working for Green-tech starting as a product specifier, from where he went on to hold the position of Team Manager.

Commenting on his new position, Barry revealed that he is relishing the new opportunity ahead. 'I’m passionate about my work am very much looking forward to the challenge ahead, ICL are a company I have always had great respect for and I’m delighted to be joining the team”.

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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Five months on from SALTEX 2018 and exhibitors are still reporting a high conversion rate from leads they generated at last year’s show.

SALTEX 2018 served up a show to remember at the NEC, Birmingham, with exhibitors hailing it as the most rewarding exhibition to date. Sales teams have since been working on converting a high volume of leads into new customers and many companies have reported hugely successful results.      

Net World Sports, a sporting equipment designer and manufacturer, made its first appearance at SALTEX 2018 and it was an excellent debut, according to specialist sales and development lead Robbie Hayter.

“SALTEX 2018 has been a phenomenal platform for us, so much so that we’ve already booked our stand for 2019 and have secured an even bigger space.

“At the show we unveiled our new FORZA Alu110 360° football goal wheels which attracted huge interest from football clubs. We have since sold a large number to Premier League and leading international clubs.

“SALTEX allowed for the introduction to many established pitch contractors and we are now working on one project which includes supplying FORZA Alu110 goals and two-tier shelters to Colliers Park, Wrexham (FAW National Training Centre) in collaboration with CLS Sport.

“We also had the opportunity to network with many top grounds people and have already supplied and installed indoor football protection netting for West Ham United FC’s indoor academy training centre - a lead that came from SALTEX.”

Net World Sports was not the only exhibitor to gain valuable connections with Premier League clubs at SALTEX 2018. Fivesquared, a brand of Earlsmere, is a vibration management provider, and director Jeremy Hoyle claims that the company has benefited from engaging with such a diverse audience.

“The quality of visitor seems to be better than ever and there was a great mix covering all avenues of grounds and sports turf. As a result of SALTEX we have picked up some fantastic work within the Premier League as well as from a large number of schools and colleges.”

Garden & Hire Spares has also reported an increase in sales since exhibiting at SALTEX 2018 according to sales and marketing director Malcom Mullender.

“We picked up a couple of major national accounts as a direct result of having a stand at SALTEX and have seen an increase in sales from a number of accounts. We have already committed to have the same stand at SALTEX 2019.”

Laurie Davies, director of SPA Power Machinery, revealed that the company is placing more orders with suppliers just to keep up with the demand for the products that were launched at SALTEX 2018.

“At SALTEX we launched our new range of Westermann weed and moss brushes which has been highly successful. We are now placing regular orders with the German suppliers and have received great feedback from customers who have purchased since the show.”

Overton UK increased its presence at SALTEX 2018 by taking three stands and that decision has already been justified according to director Guy Overton.

“SALTEX was an exceptionally busy and successful exhibition for Overton UK, especially for the Mean Green electric commercial mowers, which attracted new dealers and led to many demonstration enquiries. We also launched the new Overton battery powered vacuum litter collectors and as always, the NIMOS WeedRippers got a lot of attention.

“Since SALTEX we have also received a large number of orders for the electric mowers, litter vacuums and the WeedRippers.”

Commenting on the success of the SALTEX exhibitors, Charles Neale, event sales manager, said: “We understand that exhibitions are all about brand awareness and gaining a return on investment. Exhibiting at SALTEX provides the platform for success in all areas.

“It’s great to hear that over 90 per cent of our SALTEX 2018 exhibitors obtained new business at the show and re-bookings for SALTEX 2019 stands are already over 80 per cent.”

SALTEX 2019 takes place at the NEC, Birmingham on October 30 and 31.

For more information visit www.iogsaltex.com

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ICL’s Riptide, the no1 ranked creeping bentgrass, has played a key role in the development of the greens at the truly stunning JCB Golf and Country Club.

Set amid the lush green rolling countryside of Staffordshire lies one of the most exciting new golf courses to be built in the UK over the last decade. No stone has been left unturned in the creation of this remarkable 18-hole course designed by British architect Robin Hiseman of European Golf Design.

“This is a high end facility that people might only visit once a year or even just once in their lifetime. The whole experience has to be there and it is down to us to deliver that on the golf course,” said Callum Wark, Golf Course Manager.

No doubt those who play the course will be fully immersed in the experience and will marvel at the imaginative design concepts of the course. It is also inevitable that the course will provide the backdrop for compelling drama to unfold - history will be made and the finest players in the world will steal the limelight but the unsung heroes responsible for this magnificent course deserve every bit of credit.

The story that will not be told, is that throughout this four year journey, the greenkeeping team at the JCB Golf and Country Club have been involved in the whole construction process from start to finish.   

“Myself and four senior greenkeepers were equally involved in all aspects of construction,” said Euan Grant, General Manager. “We had all been around constructions in the past but none of us had ever had direct construction experience. For greenkeepers to jump on excavators and dumpers, and to be ploughing and turning soils over is really quite remarkable. We have been fully engrossed in the project working seven days a week making the best of the weather when we can.

"It is a heavy clay site so we had to work when it was dry. If we got two days of rain then we couldn’t work for ten days and if that meant working at 8 o’clock on a Sunday night then we were working at 8 o’clock on a Sunday night.”

It is no wonder that Euan, Callum and the team speak about their involvement with an overwhelming sense of pride. After all, they have helped to create a world-class golf complex that will stand shoulder to shoulder with the very best. However, these modest greenkeepers are not allowing themselves to get that far ahead…yet.

“The tournaments will happen but first of all we need to achieve agronomic excellence,” said Euan.

“In order to achieve that, and in order to host tournaments, you have to be in that top percentile of golf course reputation and quality,” added Callum.

With the construction coming to an end, their attentions quickly turned to ensuring that they had the correct suppliers and products in place which would indeed help them to reach that top tier – and the greens were the first port of call.

In order to select the ideal grass seed for the greens, Euan created a trial area and split a nursery into five different rootzone amendments which consisted of a profile product - which was porous ceramic, a green waste product, two zeolite products and a straight sand. Six different grasses from six different suppliers were then applied to the rootzone plots.

“We monitored the germination rates, density, colour and disease to find out which product would be the best for our site,” said Euan. “We didn’t put any fungicides on them throughout winter because we wanted to know which diseases would be more prevalent. Based on all of the results, and also by looking closely at which was the strongest grass coming out of winter, we decided that we would go with ICL’s Riptide on a green waste compost / sand mix as per USGA specification.”

Exclusive to ICL, Riptide is the no1 ranked creeping bentgrass variety, it is ideal for seeding new areas or when used for interseeding as part of a course renovation programme. This fine-leaved, densely-shooting, creeping bentgrass establishes quickly, especially in spring, growing upright but low to the ground with high tiller shoot density and keeping its bright mid-green colour right through autumn and winter.

Riptide responds very well to lower nutritional inputs and less frequent watering, potentially significantly reducing costs involved in a higher maintenance programme and offering a more sustainable approach; less fertilizer, fungicide, scarification and verti-cutting. 

Furthermore, Riptide was given top rankings for quality of appearance and disease resistance by the The Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) and the United States based National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP).

Sowing at an application rate of between 6-8g/m², the team at the JCB Golf and Country Club used Riptide to seed and grow-in eleven greens in the first year and then nine the following year. 

“We were germinating in five days and mowing in ten days,” said Euan. “Because it was our first year and it was a soft opening, we were under no pressure whatsoever to cut the grass down to achieve fast speeds. However, we were still getting 10.5ft without significantly chasing that. It is an incredibly fine grass.”

“We haven’t looked back,” added Callum. “The rooting has been amazing - we are 300mm of rootzone over 100mm gravel and even now, a year on from opening, the roots are way down into the gravel. They are incredibly strong roots.”

Commenting on the use of Riptide at the JCB Golf and Country Club, Emma Kilby, Technical Area Sales Manager for ICL, said: “I’m really proud that Riptide has played a big part in the greens here and the development of our seeds is growing all of the time - you just have to look at the new cultivars we’ve got which have a very high rating within the STRI.

“It has been incredible to be involved from the very start. From coming in here and just seeing clay to where they are now is a fantastic achievement. JCB is a great company to work with, in terms of their history, their ethos and their direction.”

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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With the season fast approaching, an overwhelming number of greenkeepers made their way to the recent Dennis and SISIS Bowling Green Maintenance Seminar, in order to gain advice and tips on best practice. 

The popular seminars, which are designed to educate greenkeepers on how to maintain and look after bowling greens, have been credited for improving the greens at numerous bowls clubs throughout the country. Combining insightful seminars and practical tips, a number of industry experts take to the stage to discuss a wide range of key topics.

Held at the Herts Bowling Club in Watford, this most recent seminar attracted a phenomenal 80 greenkeepers.

After an introduction from Dennis and SISIS’ Robert Jack, the seminar welcomed the extremely knowledgeable sports turf consultant Alan Lewis, who drew upon his wealth of experience to deliver a presentation entitled ‘Spring Maintenance on a Bowling Green.’

Grass seed was the next topic of the day when Luke Hunt from Barenbrug UK advised delegates on how to choose the correct seed for their greens. 

A refreshment break allowed attendees to soak up and discuss the advice they had just received before John Noyce from Collier Turfcare took to the stage to offer an insightful look into ‘Chemical & Fertiliser options.’

The ever popular Turf Clinic followed and enabled all of the greenkeepers to ask their own questions to the panel of expert speakers. 

After a complimentary lunch, an on-green demonstration took place in which delegates got the opportunity to see a number of turf maintenance techniques in action. 

Kev Brazier, a contract greenkeeper working in partnership with Harpenden Bowls Club, felt that the seminar was a great opportunity to enhance his greenkeeping knowledge.

“It was a really informative seminar. The speakers had great knowledge and they presented it in a way in which everyone could understand. I was particularly interested in hearing that there is actually a place for Dwarf Ryes on bowling greens in certain situations.

“It was brilliant for networking and there was a broad range of subjects discussed. They were all incredibly relevant and I took a lot away from the spring maintenance tips.”

John Hay, Hertfordshire bowls greens co-ordinator, worked alongside Dennis & SISIS in arranging the seminar and felt that the day was a huge success.

“The seminar had a fantastic response and it was very timely because it has helped greenkeepers prepare for the season ahead. It was invaluable to all of the clubs that attended; the speakers were amazing, there were a few myths put to bed about what should and shouldn’t be done and there was a nice turf clinic which gave the greenkeepers the chance to speak their minds.

“Most of the people who attend these seminars are people who work voluntarily to support their clubs and therefore seminars like this can really make a big difference.”

Forthcoming seminars can be found below:

Tuesday 9 April - Hykeham Bowls Club, North Hykeham, Lincolnshire.

Wednesday 10 April - Ashbourne Bowls Club, Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

Thursday 11 April - Hewell Bowls Club, Redditch, Worcestershire.

To register for the FREE and highly informative seminars, please contact Roger Moore on 01332 824777 or email roger.moore@dennisuk.com.

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

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An ICL/Syngenta breakfast club meeting for Greenkeepers led Andrew Merry, Course Manager at Preston Golf Club, to change his mind-set when it comes to disease management.

Andrew may well be unique in the fact that not only is he the Course Manager at Preston Golf Club but he is also the General Manager. It all started back in 2006 when he was appointed as the Deputy Course Manager but soon was promoted when the position of course manager became vacant.

He admits that it was somewhat a baptism of fire but twelve years later Andrew has excelled in this dual role, and one look at the stunning course is certainly testament to this.

The superb 18 hole, 6,278 yard, par 71 course dates back to 1892 with the design influenced by such luminaries as James Braid, Harry Varden, Alistair Mackenzie and Sandy Herd. Preston also has a wonderful variety of holes and USGA constructed greens that offer a challenge to players of all abilities.

Andrew has to work hard at keeping the course in a consistently excellent condition and none more so than two years ago when the greens were unfortunately struck with disease. 

“I went on my Christmas break, left on the Thursday and came back on a Monday to find disease on the greens and I was worried I wouldn’t get those back. But since then and since attending the breakfast clubs, my view on course management has changed. The ICL/Syngenta “Turf Science Lite” breakfast club has re-educated me and made me want to start looking at things more preventatively and so far that has worked for the second year running,” he said.

The breakfast clubs were arranged by ICL’s North West Technical Area Sales Manager Phil Collinson, who provided a little more background.

“The idea was to get Greenkeepers together, keep them up to date on legislation, and inform them about products or trial work and to provide a networking opportunity.

“The breakfast club which Andrew first attended was based around various hard-hitting fungicides leaving the market and educating them that successful turf management is going to have to be different in the future. It is not about waiting for disease and hitting it and reducing the damage it is doing – it is about understanding when the site is most at risk from a damaging disease outbreak and preventing that damage from occurring in the first place by being proactive with the management strategy.”

Andrew did exactly that and incorporated an early application of Medallion TL at a rate of 3L/ha prior to his annual renovation work.

“Our annual renovation period starts in the third week of September and so a preventative fungicide a week before is where we start with our preventative management. Following that first application, a preventative fungicide goes down around every four weeks as well as incorporating good cultural methods such as dew removal to lower the risk of an outbreak. It is difficult to get into the mind-set of applying a fungicide when your greens are clean but it is absolutely worth it.”

To compliment Andrew’s preventative strategy and to assist in reducing disease pressure, he also embarked on a full H2Pro TriSmart programme. This unique wetting agent consists of a triple-active formulation which provides great control when it comes to moisture management.

“We apply TriSmart on the greens at 10 L/ha every 4 weeks from April through to September. 2018 was the year to find out which wetting agents really work and I can safely say that TriSmart has excelled.

“Since using the product I haven’t had any compromised greens even during the hottest and driest periods. It also worth bearing in mind that I have an irrigation system which perhaps isn’t the best and the greens dry out very quickly because they are sand based.

“However, I’ve managed my moisture levels incredibly well and TriSmart has done exactly what it says on the tin!”

Andrew claims that the research and trial work conducted by ICL and Syngenta was a big factor in him deciding to use the products. 

“In my opinion ICL has that research and development which is proven and it is something that will always stand up in my opinion. The support I receive from Phil is also 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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No rain? No problem!

Sherriff Amenity’s Marathon fertilisers help overcome last year’s drought.

With prolonged heat and drought conditions challenging turf managers up and down the country, Tim Attwood, sports field groundsman at Beaudesert Park School in Minchinhampton, Stroud, believes that his use of Sherriff Amenity’s Marathon fertilisers have helped his turf to endure this testing period.

Beaudesert Park stands in beautiful grounds high up in the Cotswolds, commanding magnificent views over the surrounding countryside. Founded in 1908 at Henley in Arden, Warwickshire, the school moved to its present site in 1918 and has become a thriving co-ed day, weekly and flexi boarding school for 450 boys and girls aged 3 – 13.

The school has excellent facilities which includes 15 acres of beautiful playing fields. Football is the main focus at the start of the spring term which is shortly followed by hockey. Rugby is the major sport in the autumn term and as you would expect, cricket is prominent in the summer.

Tim is the man charged with maintaining all of the sports pitches and after working with Sherriff Amenity for 15 years, he believes that his use of Marathon fertilisers is a tried and tested method which guarantees results.

“I’ve used Marathon fertilisers on sites where I have worked before and they have just always worked. They are also semi-organic which ticks a nice big box for me,” he says.

As Tim remarks, the range of Marathon fertilisers feature a patented organic complex base that provides the extended release characteristics needed to give gentle root development without producing excessive top growth. The slow release mechanism avoids soft growth that is more susceptible to disease attack whilst the high potassium content helps to harden turf against fungal pathogens and low temperature stress. The analysis has been further amended with ingredients to supply the correct balance of nutrients required by the turf.

With the analyses of each product in the range being geared to a specific growth stage or season, Tim incorporates three particular Marathon fertilisers into a year round maintenance programme.

Applying the product by using a spreader behind a compact tractor and at rate of 25g/m2, Tim firstly uses the Marathon Sport Spring 16.4.8 typically at the end of March. In the midst of a warm July he will then apply Marathon Sport Summer 10.0.15 followed by the Autumn mixture 7.0.21 in October.

“This programme keeps the pitches ticking over nicely throughout the year,” he says. “It greens up nicely, the sward seems to thicken and it lasts for a good long time. Even throughout this summer, which has been incredibly challenging with the weather, my sports field has maintained its health and colour. From what I’ve seen, there are a lot of sports fields round here which haven’t and I think the Marathon Sport products have gone a long way in achieving that.”

Sherriff Amenity’s extensive range of quality products are also 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 are always on hand to ensure that customers are always getting the best results from their turf. 

“I’ve known David Evans (amenity specialist for Wiltshire and South Wales) for a long time and I know that he would never push any products my way which are not appropriate for what I want to achieve. He genuinely wants the best for my turf and he’s always there for help, recommendations and support. For me, that is a big factor in choosing to work with Sherriff Amenity.”

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

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Producing the top-quality turf needed for high-level sports requires a keen focus on turf maintenance and inputs. All applications of water and nutrients should be optimised to ensure responsible resource-use efficiency. ICL has started an exciting research project exploring the use of wetting agents to further improve water use and to potentially help optimise nutrient use for managed amenity turf.

It is a three-year research project delivered through the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation, Lancaster University. The Centre is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund

and is supporting local sports field construction specialists J Mallinson in collaboration with surfactant specialists at ICL.

Dr Andy Owen (ICL International Technical Manager) has been instrumental in planning the project. “I have known the research team here at Lancaster Environment Centre for a

number of years and the chance to collaborate and generate useful research optimising inputs to turf through wetting agent use is invaluable.”

Graduate researcher Vasileios (Billy) Giannakopoulos is working under the supervision of Dr Jaime Puertolas and Professor Ian Dodd. Billy was selected ahead of a number of other applicants to embark on the three-year project and said “I’m delighted to be a part of this project as this kind of research has never been undertaken until now. It is such an interesting and relevant topic, with the potential to make a real difference for turf and crop management.”

The project will be utilising ICL’s H2Pro range of wetting agents which includes TriSmart, AquaSmart and FlowSmart and the research team will be using these products in a series of

experiments, both laboratory, glass house and field-based.

A year has already passed on the three-year project and Dr Puertolas believes that some new ground-breaking information could well be on the horizon.

“Understanding surfactants and what they do is a very interesting subject, we normally modify the soil moisture by how we place the water through irrigation type or the

frequency of the irrigation application but this is another way of manipulating how the water is distributed in the soil.”

“We hope to generate information which could improve irrigation effectiveness and better understand water and nutrient movement through a soil and uptake by a plant.”

“Working with J Mallinson and ICL is a win-win situation because we can deliver research in our line of expertise but also connect with industry practice; that is really important to us because it covers two of our aspirations – to be more environmentally friendly and to continue to innovate.”

Lana Farren, Research Manager for ICL, believes that the research is being carried out at an incredibly appropriate time. “The world is becoming more and more environmentally aware. The reality is that demand for water is increasing with large volumes being used for irrigating crops and amenity turf.

We also lose a lot of applied nutrients through leaching which can be environmentally damaging. If we can improve water and nutrient use efficiency then ultimately, we are becoming more sustainable.”

Prof Dodd commented “Providing sufficient water for crop production is a major challenge in many parts of the world. Even in the UK it can be difficult to assure this, as crop water use peaks in the summer when water availability in the environment can be limited, as we’ve seen this year.

This project is one of a number that have been funded in Lancaster’s Plant & Crop Sciences research group via the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation, and it is heartening to see such engagement between academics and industry to develop real-world solutions.”

Andy feels that as a global supplier of turf and agricultural products, ICL has a certain responsibility to conduct such vital research. “ICL will continue to invest in good quality

independent research that helps support our products. We recognise that water and nutrient use efficiency is critical for crop management worldwide, so this research is vitally important.”

“Our wetting agents are used both in sports turf and agriculture and ultimately we want to be able to support the whole range with robust data, so we can market them responsibly.”

For more information about the H2Pro wetting agent range please contact ICL on +44 (0)1473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie. For more information about the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation please visit www.globalecoinnovation.org.

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