LJN Blog Posts

PRO Supplier

Dennis S500: The Riverside’s Best Kept Secret

Tony Bell, head groundsman for Middlesbrough FC, has revealed that the secret behind keeping the pitch at the Riverside Stadium in such pristine condition is his unique and innovative approach to using the Dennis S500 PLUS ‘dual purpose’ machine.

Tony, who has been at the club since 1997, not only oversees the grounds maintenance at the Riverside but also at the training ground in Darlington and at the club’s foundation site in Eston. Including the pitch at the Riverside, Tony and his team are responsible for maintaining thirteen grass pitches and two artificial pitches as well as 50 hectares of green space at the training ground.

Anyone would think that Tony would struggle to find enough hours in the day to ensure that the pitches and facilities live up to his extremely high standards. However, he still manages to find time once a month to overseed the whole pitch – using just the Dennis S500 Plus. Ever the perfectionist, Tony believes that this pedestrian machine with its quality and quantity of tines enables him to achieve the results he desires.

“Quite simply, I’m just not a fan of taking tractors on the pitch - as I don’t like any weight on the pitch whatsoever. We originally purchased the S500 to use it on the linesman’s runs, goalmouths and warm-up areas but then we got used to it and thought that we would use it to overseed the whole pitch.”

“Yes, it is a full day’s work but we can cope with it, and it does the exact job which we need it to. We use about four bags of seed, and it is probably a seven hour job, which admittedly is a little bit excessive – but this is why we have just taken delivery of another S500. Therefore, it will only be a half day’s job and in my mind it is absolutely worthwhile.”

Known as the ‘dual –purpose’ machine, the Dennis S500 PLUS has a 510mm (20") operating width complete with interchangeable spiker and slotter reels. The spiker reel punches through the ‘surface pan’ allowing air, water and fertiliser to penetrate the root zone, while the slotter reel creates ideal seed germination pockets thus reducing seed wastages. Using the optional seed box attachment, as Tony does, will ensure grass seed is dropped onto the ground at the prescribed rate and brushed into the pockets.

“It just has the double advantage of aerating the pitch as well,” says Tony. “It allows a little bit of air and water into the top inch, which helps with oxygen, and at the same time we are putting some seed down – it’s a win-win situation.”

The S500 PLUS is not the only Dennis machine in Tony’s armoury; a long-term admirer of the Dennis G860 interchangeable cassette mower, Tony recently upgraded his existing G860’s to two brand new ones at the start of the season.

“I like to use the Dennis G860, and I use it on a daily basis,” says Tony. “I’m very impressed with the quality of cut it offers, and I would say that the smoothness of the machine is the G860’s best feature. It’s extremely comfortable to use and when I am walking behind it, it’s as if I am simply gliding along.”

“The interchangeable cassette system is also a massive advantage; in just a minute or so you can turn it into a brush or a verti-cutter – or anything else depending on the requirement.”

With the option of being able to fit a variety of heads including scarifiers, verticutters, brushes, spikers, and slitters as well as 6,8 or 11 bladed cutter cassettes, it is easy to see why the G860 is relied upon in stadium environments all over the world. In Tony’s case, he uses the 8 bladed cutting cylinder to keep the grass at a constant height of 25mm. After games he will apply the brush cassette to clean out all the debris and in the summer months he turns to the verti-cutting cassette.

“All in all Dennis have been helpful all the way throughout and have provided a first-class service. They are very flexible in what they can do - they listen to what we say and want we want to achieve and I think that is really important,” said Tony.

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

For more news, reviews and insightful views, you can follow Dennis on Twitter @DennisMowers and like the company’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/DennisMowersUK.You can also view the latest Dennis videos by visiting www.youtube.com/DennisMowers

You need to be a member of Landscape Juice Network to add comments!

Join Landscape Juice Network

Highlighted blog posts

Open forum activity

John Fulton replied to Phil Voice's discussion How do you define 'fully qualified' in our industry?
"Agree on the theory and practical application which provides a basic foundation to anything but its the passion of the individual for doing something which drives a better understanding and hones technique .  Many trainers don't progress beyond thei…"
19 minutes ago
Paul Doyle replied to Phil Voice's discussion How do you define 'fully qualified' in our industry?
"his or her field.."
38 minutes ago
Paul Doyle replied to Phil Voice's discussion How do you define 'fully qualified' in our industry?
"id have to seriously disagree there. Every gardener should have a broad knowledge of his field. practical and theoretical.neither should be seen as better than the other. rather essential to developing a multi skilled individual. education teaches y…"
39 minutes ago
Paul Doyle replied to Phil Voice's discussion How do you define 'fully qualified' in our industry?
"I see what your saying but I wouldnt necessarily agree. what kind of experience has that person obtained in those 5 years? the guy with the tickets might be raring to get his hands dirty ... or not...its never clearcut.."
46 minutes ago
John Fulton replied to Phil Voice's discussion How do you define 'fully qualified' in our industry?
"Plus who trains the trainers ?   I have had some highly  incompetent teachers over the years with paper qualifications bluffing their way ?  On one course i wont mention the industry but the trainers had simply done a course got tickets and were dup…"
2 hours ago


Hi All, I was wondering has anybody come accross a product for soil improvement call Terracottem.The link below goes into the details of how it works,but I feel it could be a very interesting product for gardeners for the future, with a suitable…

Read more…
0 Replies

Warning Stihl

I got a nasty surprise & a cut finger      Something has come out of the casing & it's very sharp.  So disappointing as I had the previous cutter for 15 years of commercial use & no problems. This one has only had a few years of very light use. …

Read more…
11 Replies · Reply by Peter Davis 3 hours ago