The Groundsman December 2017

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DECEMBER 2017 £4.00



Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Martin Ford PLUS ALL THE 2017 WINNERS page 18



Expert advice on dealing with squatting and fly-tipping page 17


December 2017 THE BEST OF THE BEST

REGULARS 05 Welcome

Meet the winners of this year’s IOG Industry Awards page 18

Reflecting on a great SALTEX

06 Update

The latest news

15 Technical update

Topdressing expertise

17 Technical update

How to deal with fly-tipping

45 Tools & guidance


The weather and essential maintenance this month

FEATURES 18 IOG Industry Awards 2017 All the winners from this year’s celebration of groundsmanship

28 SALTEX 2017 review

Looking back at some of the brilliant events at SALTEX

33 Product showcase


Some of the exciting new products that were on show at SALTEX 2017


43 In action

Products put to the test

Martin Ford receiving his IOG Lifetime Achievement Award

50 Grow with the IOG

Simon Lee, head groundsman at Exeter School




Editorial address: 28 Stratford Office Village Walker Avenue Wolverton Mill East Milton Keynes, MK12 5TW t: 01908 312511 Managing editor Karen Maxwell e: t: 01908 552987 Features editor Colin Hoskins e: t: 01634 832 221 Product editor Elizabeth Hufton e: t: 01225 337777 IOG membership and general enquiries t: 01908 312511 e: Magazine subscriptions Sue Fernandes t: 01908 312511 e: Subscriptions £72 UK, £82 Europe, £112 rest of world Publisher James Houston Head of Design Simon Goddard Advertising Parminder Sangha e: t: 0203 859 7097 Published by James Pembroke Media The Groundsman is published monthly by the Institute of Groundsmanship. All material is copyright of the Institute of Groundsmanship and may not be reproduced without permission. The publishers do not accept responsibility for any advertisement appearing in the journal and cannot be held liable for editorial omissions or errors. The views expressed in the journal are not necessarily those of the Institute of Groundsmanship.


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The best yet!

Karen Maxwell Managing editor

Well that’s a relief! The pressure was certainly on and the stakes were high as we know many were sceptical about what SALTEX would be like going into year three. However, this year’s show appears to be overwhelmingly well received, and we enjoyed a record attendance on the opening day. We are now well on the way to building a great show in 2018.

Colin Hoskins Features editor

Quite simply, to put on such an exhibition and to make our awards part of the event is a huge undertaking, and I have to credit my staff and the team behind the scenes in operations, sales, PR, the contractors and the NEC who work so hard year-round to provide such professional events. We had over 100 speakers at SALTEX this year, delivering 26 hours of free learning that was BASIS and CPD accredited. We also had our own TV channel which helped to create a buzz. Many exhibitors had larger stands and there was a great range of products, innovation and technology on view – from robots to remote-controlled ‘goose busters’. In addition, the show offered the ideal opportunity for visitors to network and to catch up with friends and colleagues.

Dan Prest IOG head of member services

All the highlights are in this month’s edition along with a review of the IOG Awards that took place in front of a sell-out audience of 700. Thank you to everyone who exhibited and visited SALTEX; your patronage was much appreciated and valued. Congratulations to everyone who entered the awards – your work is rightly recognised and valued, regardless of whether you won an award.

Steve Wood Managing director, Able Investigations & Enforcements

Among all the positives, however, we must not take our eyes off the fact that we also have some serious issues to deal with. Among other things, mental health is an issue that the IOG is fully committed to in support of our members. At SALTEX we also held the first Women in Turf forum which, alongside our approach to the challenges, stresses and strains on our membership, will also be a central part of our thinking. In addition, we will be launching a major survey in 2018 to compare and contrast against the ‘Groundsmanship – the Hidden Profession’ survey a decade ago. The results will be presented at SALTEX 2018. On behalf of the entire team at the IOG we wish you a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Chris Bennett SALTEX press officer

Geoff Webb Chief Executive The Institute of Groundsmanship


Jemima Codrington Freelance writer

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Read all the latest news and updates, and discover what members are entitled to




The programme will promote natural turf


£100k cash boost for natural grass pitches

The Grounds4Sport programme aims to transform facilities and engage new career grounds staff THE IOG HAS announced its new Grounds4Sport programme, with an initial backing of £100,000 over the next three years, to improve the quality and promote the benefits of natural-turf sports surfaces. “The programme will transform local community facilities by engaging a new generation of volunteers and career grounds people, providing opportunities for those who want to grow their skills and confidence, as well as provide improved sports turf pitches,” said IOG chief executive Geoff Webb. “We aim to reverse the decline in natural turf sports provision by increasing pitch playing capacity,

“We aim to increase pitch playing capacity, creating better playing surfaces throughout the UK”

6 THE GROUNDSMAN December 2017

creating safer and consistently better playing surfaces for communities throughout the UK.” Grounds4Sport aims to develop the IOG’s National Framework for Natural Turf – which will match an innovative Pitch Grading System with appropriate educational standards – as well as reinvigorate a passion for turf via integrated learning platforms. The programme will also highlight the health and community benefits of sport. The IOG actively seeks partnerships with other agencies, authorities, charities and individual investors, to expand the programme.

FORMER SHREWSBURY TOWN groundsman and Shropshire cricketer Brian Perry has died at the age of 74. Perry was the groundsman at Gay Meadow for 26 years. Before that he enjoyed great success with the county’s cricket side and was part of Shropshire’s Minor Counties titlewinning squad in 1973. “Our thoughts and condolences go out to Brian’s family and friends at this sad time,” said Town chairman Roland Wycherley.


£35K FOR SURFACES MARKET DEEPING CRICKET Club has received a £35,000 cash boost from local construction firm Mick George Ltd. Most of the funds have been put towards the installation of a new practice net, but head groundsman Ian Jones and assistant head Tom Shinkins are also celebrating after the delivery of a new heavyduty roller that will significantly enhance the playing surfaces.


50% OFF BATTERIES ETESIA UK, THE distributor of Pellenc battery-powered tools in the UK and Ireland, is offering customers up to 50% off the price of the ULiB 1100 battery. Between now and 31 March 2018, users will get a 10% discount off the price of the battery, for every batterypowered tool purchased (up to a max of 50% with five tools bought). For more information, you can visit




Industryleading courses from Reesink online now


REESINK TURFCARE HAS announced the dates for its 2018 training courses and for the first time the guide is available online. There are nine courses to choose from; land-based disciplines delivered via Lantra, City & Guilds training and Toro and TYM manufacturer-backed turf care machinery training. The courses include the popular Turfcare Mechanic Course and Sprayer Technician Calibration Training to Level 1, the recently added Compact Tractor Driving

award to Levels 1 and 2, plus a Level 2 Pesticides Application course. You can book now and the Training Guide can be found at: brochures/training-guide-2018


MAINTAINING STANDARDS IN AMENITY MANAGEMENT THE CHAIRMAN OF the Amenity Forum has urged people to look for the highest levels of skills and professionalism when they are awarding contracts and hiring new employees. Speaking at a recent conference, Professor John Moverley said the same level of care should be taken when employing someone to manage amenity areas as when hiring any other type of tradesman. “We have a high degree of professionalism in our sector,” he said. “But just as if employing an electrical contractor or a builder when you seek evidence of an assured standard, so it should be the case for amenity management. KEEP IN TOUCH

Amenity chair calls for a standards scheme

“The management of amenity areas is so vital to us all. If you are using a professional contractor, business or individual committed to best practice, you can be assured of the highest quality and operator standards.” John said he would like to see a system like the Red Tractor scheme for food assurance also become the norm in amenity.

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Alex Vickers spoke about cricket surfaces


INSPIRING SPEAKERS AND IOG AWARDS WHICH COUNTRY HAS the fastest growth in cricket participation? Rwanda! The country is enjoying an upsurge in interest, thanks partly to a new stadium. Alex Vickers, guest speaker at the Yorkshire Branch’s November meeting, talked about constructing the playing surface. He explained how scientific analysis of local materials revealed them suitable for pitch preparation and how lots of people with hammers can produce perfect particle size. Also invaluable to a successful outcome, he said, was knowledge, a big tent, a large digger and sunshine. Many thanks, Alex, for a truly inspiring story of how sport brings unity and commitment to a common purpose. For more inspiration see In a change to the published programme, December’s speaker will be Ryan Golding, head groundsman at Leeds Rugby. Congratulations to the Leeds lads on their 2017 IOG Awards, plus Peter Green (Honley CC), Stuart Vause (Castleford Tigers), Ripon Racecourse and Premier Pitches. David Robinson THE GROUNDSMAN 7





Win a free sprayer and a trip to the USA

Meet the people taking on new challenges in the industry



Russell Riley has joined Sustane

SUSTANE NATURAL FERTILISER, which is distributed in the UK by Advance Grass Solutions following the transfer of Countrywide’s turf and amenity division to AGS, has appointed Russell Riley as its new UK business development manager. Sam Honeybourne, managing director of AGS, said: “Russell will do a fantastic job and I wish him all the best for the future. We will be working closely with Russell to increase customer awareness, at a time where chemical use is under growing regulatory pressure.”


REDEXIM HAS ANNOUNCED that Gary Mumby has parted company with the firm. Redexim purchased BLEC Global in 2015 and Gary had been working closely with the firm to integrate BLEC products into its operation, but he has now decided to work on his own projects and will not be involved in the sales and support of the BLEC product range within the UK and Ireland. Gary will, however, continue to supply parts under licence for machinery manufactured by BLEC Global. Charterhouse Turf Machinery takes over responsibility for all sales, parts and support of BLEC machinery in the UK and Ireland, distributing though selected dealers.

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RIGBY TAYLOR HAS launched a new incentive to encourage greenkeepers and groundsmen to use its fungicides. For every hectare of Rigby Taylor fungicide bought during the campaign, the purchasing club will be entered into a prize draw to win a state-of-the-art Gambetti Pro tractor-mounted sprayer, worth £4,500, and an expenses-paid trip to America. The winning club’s greenkeeper/ groundsman will be invited to visit the GCSAA turf educational and trade convention in San Antonio, Texas, in January 2018. Runners-up will receive Evolution knapsack sprayers and Bayer waterproof jackets. Entrants must place their orders with Rigby Taylor representatives and the draw will take place in December. Call 0800 424 919 to talk to a representative or order a free copy of Rigby Taylor’s new brochure.



Fly-tipping and squatting: know your rights page 17




THE ONGOING AND future management of Microdochium nivale was one of the hot topics at the STRI annual Trial Event, in Bingley, West Yorkshire. Headland Amenity’s northern area manager David Howells highlighted the importance of disease prevention, which will be even more crucial when new rules about the use of fungicide products containing Iprodione come into force. David says now is the time to be putting together an integrated strategy combining good cultural practice, managing sward compositions and implementing a preventative fungicidal programme to ensure your facility is prepared for what lies ahead.

It’s time to dig up knotweed


TACKLE KNOTWEED NOW GROUNDS TEAMS ARE being urged to tackle Japanese knotweed now, rather than waiting for the invasive plant to re-emerge bigger and stronger in March. Nic Seal of Japanese knotweed specialist Environet UK, said that while the plant’s growing season is coming to an end and its bamboolike canes are turning brown and brittle, this does not mean the plant has died. The rhizome system below ground is healthy and will lie dormant throughout the colder winter months.

“Herbicide treatments cannot be used during winter as they require the plant to be in leaf, but that doesn’t mean treatment needs to be postponed until spring,” he said. “In fact, Japanese knotweed can be dug out at any time of year using the environmentally friendly ResiDig-Out method. “Simply dig out the rhizome roots and sift out every viable piece before returning the clean soil to the ground. Digging knotweed out is an instant solution.”

David advocates anti-disease action


Makita opens Factory Service Centre and Training Academy MAKITA UK HAS opened its first regional Factory Service Centre (FSC) and Training Academy, in Glasgow’s Govan commercial district. The FSC will now handle all dust extraction servicing for the brand right across the UK. The centre delivers technical repairs and maintenance services

Chainsaw crosscutting

Makita has opened a training academy


“Makita offers a full itinerary of training courses covering its product range”

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for the full range of Makita products, including all mains and cordless construction machines as well as groundscare tools, including its petrol engine products. Makita also offers a full itinerary of training courses covering its product range, including The Correct and Safe Use of Handheld Power Tools, which has City & Guilds accreditation. Gas nailer user training, chainsaw crosscutting and service courses are also available. THE GROUNDSMAN 11





Find out about all the latest kit launched at SALTEX 2017 page 33

Echo’s new PB-580 blower


The latest developments: mowers, blowers and new FTM models


Echo’s new blower is powered by a 58.2cc engine, the PB-580, which is light enough to be used throughout the day without tiring you out. A ventilated backpack pad keeps the operator cool, while padded shoulder straps and four anti-vibration springs support the back. The handle is designed with a new palm rest and hand stop to reduce the chances of hands slipping and the trigger is longer for more precise throttle control. The air filter cover is easily accessed, the filter can be quickly replaced and a leaf guard prevents debris being blown into the fan.


Ariens’ Apex zero-turn mower


ARIENS HAS launched its new Apex zero-turn mower in the UK. The machine’s highly durable 10-gauge steel deck is 14cm deep with a reinforced leading edge providing the airflow needed to tackle tough mowing conditions and it’s all powered by a Kawasaki V-Twin (726cc) engine. The mower boasts 15 cutting positions in 0.6cm increments, easily selected using a foot-operated deck lift and vertical pin system.

There is a constant belt tension system to minimise wear and heat, and the large tyres provide superior traction and ride quality. The adjustable high-back seat has padded arm rests to help reduce operator fatigue and the frame can be fitted with a Rollover Protection System. The zero-turn is available in two models: the Apex 48 (122cm cutter deck) and the Apex 52 (132cm).


Are you making the most of your IOG membership? We have membership packages to suit all sectors of the industry, and there are fantastic benefits, from bespoke training to discounted rates for events. Find out more at:


12 THE GROUNDSMAN December 2017

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The new FTM models are lighter


CAMPEY HAS REDESIGNED its Field Top Maker (FTM) models for 2018. The new range delivers changes to the established 1.2m, 2m and 2.5m models with the 1.6m replacing the 1.5m model. All the new models are compatible with the latest Universe rotor, which offers improved clean up and greater surface hygiene. An angled cross conveyor has been introduced to move material evenly with perfect belt tracking, while machine weight has been reduced, with improved balance via a 100kg removable weight. Even without that, the machine is better balanced than previous models, and the centre of gravity has been shifted further towards the tractor, making it easier to lift.


By Andy Spetch National TOPSOIL manager, British Sugar

TOPDRESSING – AN ESSENTIAL GUIDE The new and free Essential Guide to Top Dressing will prove indispensable to both volunteer and professional grounds teams at clubs of every size


wealth of helpful advice is contained in British Sugar TOPSOIL’s Essential Guide to Top Dressing. Including sections covering ‘Why top dress?’, ‘Understanding topdressing – including testing and analysis’, ‘When and how to apply it’, and ‘Selecting the correct topdressing’, the guide follows the release of trial results* of Sports&Turf, TOPSOIL’s own topdressing. In particular, the free guide recommends that in-situ soil and rootzones, as well as topdressing materials, are tested before any action is taken. The tests will typically comprise these variables: Particle size distribution. Soil pH. Electrical conductivity – this measures salinity of a soil and is based on the relative amount of dissolved nutrients in a material. Organic matter content – typically measured as percentage by loss on ignition, where organic materials are burnt off at high temperature in an oven. Plant available nutrients such as K, P, Ca and Mg. Contaminants or phytotoxic elements

“The choice of topdressing should be based on the turf maintenance objectives” – elements or compounds that may be undesirable to humans or plants, such as heavy metals like As, Cd and Ni. Presence of physical contaminants – such as glass, stones, twigs, plastic etc. One of the key factors in determining what type of topdressing material should be used is the construction profile of the surface. For sand-based profiles, the recommendation is that the topdressing should be compatible with the existing rootzone, based on its particle size and hydraulic properties. For soil-based profiles, a wider choice of topdressing materials can generally be chosen. The choice of topdressing, however, should be based on the turf maintenance objectives and compatibility with the underlying rootzone or soil.

*Sports&Turf is a blend of 80% medium and coarse sand with 20% British Sugar TOPSOIL’s BS3882:2015 compliant topsoil. The sand is predominantly medium to coarse (67%) and sub angular in shape, which assists free drainage and promotes good integration into the surface of the turf. Undertaken by the STRI from October 2016 until June 2017, the trials evaluated the effectiveness of the new topdressing on turf performance on winter games pitches, golf tees and fairways. Two trials were run concurrently, both on sandy loam soil – one on an area of mixed fine grass turf (bent grass and annual meadow-grass sward with some red fescue) maintained as a golf tee and another on mixed perennial ryegrass/ annual meadow-grass dominant turf, maintained as a golf fairway/lawn. These treatments were applied (the rates refer to the total amount of material applied over the duration of the trials): untreated control; sand only – at 3.3 kg/m², at 6.7 kg/m² and at 10 kg/m²; Sports&Turf – at 3.3 kg/m², at 6.7 kg/m² and at 10 kg/m². The plots were regularly assessed for turf colour and quality, surface hardness, normalised difference vegetation index, volumetric soil water content, live grass cover, sward height, broadleaved weeds and red thread. Compared to the application of straight sand, the application of Sports&Turf resulted in visibly greener turf, especially on the fine turf tee sward. There were no negative effects of applying the new topdressing and it did not encourage broadleaved weed invasion. The topdressing would be suitable for use on non-sand-based turf surfaces.

Copies of the guide can be obtained by calling 0870 240 2314 or downloaded from the TOPSOIL website at



The horror of �y-tipping

SQUATTERS – KNOW YOUR RIGHTS Fly-tipping and squatting are huge problems, with 315,000 cases launched by councils in 2016 – including for sports fields. Here’s what you need to know about the issue


rivate and commercial landowners and leaseholders are largely unaware of legal rights they have under common law ‘tort of trespass against property’ – specifically the laws set out in Halsbury’s Laws of England, Volume 97 (2010) 5th Edition, which enables them to instantly evict people from their land. All an enforcement agency requires to get to work is a telephone call from the landowner, proof of land ownership – usually available very simply through the Land Registry – along with written authorisation to proceed, and an indemnity. If the offenders have entered peaceably, landowners will first need to request them to leave and on refusal they can use “no more force than is reasonably necessary”. If, however, the trespasser(s) enters with force and violence, then the landowner can by-pass the initial phase of the eviction and remove them without having previously asked them to leave.


It’s worth letting the police know, so they can send officers to prevent any breach of the peace. The police can advise you on whether it is safe to attempt an eviction, and it is wise to call in the police if criminal activity such as assault is likely and to deter the trespassers from escalating violence. Enforcement agencies should be properly qualified – all officers now need to have a minimum of a Level 2 qualification from the Chartered Institute of Credit Management – with the correct certificates, valid insurance, a £10,000 bond and an insurance policy. Many landowners believe they are prevented from

By Steve Wood MD, Able Investigations and Enforcements

taking action under stipulation from the Human Rights Act. You can, however, be reassured that any activity which is legal, as described above, legitimate, necessary and proportionate is within the boundaries of the Act. Video cameras are often used to provide proof of the proportionality of actions. The Government recommends that local authorities go through the courts, but commercial and private landowners are not bound by the same constraints. Their legal status as regards the removal of trespassers is quite clear. Steve Wood is managing director of Able Investigations and Enforcements (www. and is Wales and West Chairman of the Association of Civil Enforcement Officers.


THOUSANDS OF POUNDS OF DAMAGE AT PORTISHEAD FC Portishead Football Club leases land from North Somerset Council. When trespassers arrived on a Friday afternoon, as leaseholders, the club was able to take swift action, through common law procedures, to enable the intruders to be removed by the Monday morning. However, despite their speedy removal, damage estimated at thousands of pounds occurred – including vandalism to facilities and the pitch, as well as lost bar revenue because the club had to close over the weekend. THE GROUNDSMAN 17



November’s annual IOG Industry Awards celebrated excellence in groundsmanship from top to bottom

18 THE GROUNDSMAN December 2017


lmost 700 of the UK and Europe’s leading groundscare experts from both the professional and volunteer sectors joined dignitaries from the governing bodies of sport and influential sports administrators to honour the expertise, dedication and passion of the grounds profession at the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) annual Industry Awards. Now in its ninth year, the sell-out event at the National Conference Centre, hosted by talkSPORT presenter Mark Saggers, recognised leadership, innovation and outstanding achievement across every aspect of groundscare – from grassroots pitches to professional stadia. The prestigious awards ceremony also celebrated the quality standards of groundscare achieved in public and private sports venues, and highlighted the progress of young and student grounds professionals as well as entrants’ environmental considerations.



Look back at the events at SALTEX page 28

The winners of the 2017 Industry Awards were honoured by a gathering of almost 700 people last month

The ninth annual IOG Awards was a sell-out a�air

IOG chief executive Geo� Webb presented some of the awards on the evening THE GROUNDSMAN 19


IOG AWARD WINNERS 2017 Lifetime/Outstanding Achievement Martin Ford Martin can look back on 11 successful years as IOG fine turf manager, working with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to drive improvements in pitch quality across the recreational game. “While dedicating much of his time to working with Premier Leagues and the network of ECB County Pitch Advisors, Martin has also supported numerous research and development projects to improve playing surfaces,” says Matt Dwyer, ECB director of participation and growth.

“His legacy is an enhancement of knowledge and practical skills” Martin (right) receives his Lifetime Achievement Award from IOG chief executive Geo� Webb

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“Importantly, he has been instrumental in developing Performance Quality Standards for playing surfaces – and he stands alone in bringing them to life not only in cricket but also now increasingly in other sports too. “His legacy for the game of cricket alone is a tangible enhancement of knowledge and practical skills for thousands of willing volunteers, who will now be tending higher quality pitches for the next generation of cricketers.” Martin’s tremendous achievements include: More than 70 pitch advisors have been recruited and trained. The [cricket] Premier League PQS has been wholeheartedly adopted throughout England and Wales, and is filtering down to other levels of the sport. The principles of PQS are now also forming the bedrock of the IOG’s groundbreaking Pitch Grading System

– a series of standards for natural turf pitches in all sports and at all levels down to grassroots. In addition, Martin’s role as fine turf manager “has certainly reinforced the importance of good quality pitches – if you don’t have a good pitch, you won’t have good games and you won’t attract good players”. It’s also seen him working closely with, and providing training to, cricket umpires. “We’ve been working with umpires on a universal pitch-marking scheme, so that their feedback, too, can help clubs to continue to improve their pitches. “The job has been fascinating,” says Martin. “I’ve met lots of interesting people who, by and large, put in an inordinate amount of time at their clubs, mainly on a voluntary basis.” Please refer to The Groundsman, July 2017, pages 20-21, for a comprehensive review of Martin’s achievements.









Bowling Greenkeeper/Team of the Year Potters Bar Bowls Club, Hertfordshire Rod and Sandra Smale are presented with their award by ex-Arsenal footballer Perry Groves (right).


Best Maintained Artificial Pitch of the Year The University of Nottingham Nottingham University’s estates and grounds manager Jamie Whitehouse (left) and sports grounds manager Greg Smith (centre) collect their award from Perry Groves.


Ransomes Environmental/ Innovative Project of the Year Forest Green Rovers FC Forest Green Rovers’ head groundsman Adam Witchell (right) and stadium manager Dane Vince (left) receive the award from Alan Prickett, Ransomes’ senior director. 22 THE GROUNDSMAN December 2017


Toro Most Promising Sports Turf Student of the Year Tara Massey, Manchester City FC Tara Massey collects her award from Alastair Rowell, Toro’s national account manager, grounds (left) and Young IOG Board chairman Will Graves.


Redexim Charterhouse/ Kubota Volunteer Sports Groundsman/ Team of the Year Philip Swann, The Bridge Trust Society, Birmingham Philip Swan (centre) collects his award from Curtis Allen (left) Redexim Charterhouse’s business development manager, and Andy Southerton, Kubota’s dealer manager, groundscare.


National Governing Bodies’ Grassroots Sports Grounds Team of the Year NPL Sports Club, Teddington, Middlesex NPL Sports Club’s head groundsman Sean Cummins (second right) and assistant head groundsman Warren Carr (second left) receive their award from Dan Musson (left) from the England and Wales Cricket Board and Mark Pover from The Football Association.

This category is co-sponsored by the AELTC (All England Lawn Tennis Club), ECB (the England and Wales Cricket Board), The FA (Football Association), The LTA (Lawn Tennis Association), the Premier League, the RFL (Rugby Football League) and the RFU (Rugby Football Union).






Headland Amenity Professional Cricket Grounds Team of the Year Durham CCC The Durham CCC grounds team – head groundsman Vic Demain (second right), deputy head groundsman Mark Patterson (far right) and outground manager Craig Thompson (far left) – collect their award from Alex Hawkes (second left), Headland Amenity’s regional manager, sports turf.


Cub Cadet Infinicut Professional Tennis Grounds Team of the Year Nottingham Tennis Centre Nottingham Tennis Centre’s grounds manager Ryan Middleton (left), groundsman Tatenda Mukome (second left) and chief operations officer Mike Wisner (second right) collect the award from John Coleman, Infinicut (MTD) general manager.




SGL Professional Football Grounds Team of the Year (Premier League, Championship and Scottish Premier League) Leicester City FC The Leicester City FC grounds team pose with their award, along with SGL operations manager Frank Van Beusekom and technical sales engineer Tom Grafen.


SISGrass Professional Football Grounds Team of the Year (English Leagues One & Two, National, National North/ South, Scottish Championship & Leagues One & Two, Ireland & Wales Professional Leagues) Bury FC The Bury FC grounds team – grounds manager Gareth Lester (second right),

Stadium head groundsman Michael Curtis (third left) and head groundsman at the club’s Carrington training centre Michael Steele (far right) – collect their award from Ivo Lamot and Phil Blackwell, directors of SISGrass BV and SIS Pitches, respectively, along with BBC TV presenter Mark Clemmit.


John Deere Professional Horse Racing Grounds Team of the Year Ripon Racecourse Ripon Racecourse’s grounds team – head groundsman Carl Tonks (second left) and groundsmen Martin Johnson (far left) and John Ireland (second right) – collect their well-earned award from Chris Meacock (centre), John Deere’s UK and Ireland sales manager, and Life On Mars actor Dean Andrews. THE GROUNDSMAN 23






Mansfield Sand Professional Rugby Football League Grounds Team of the Year Castleford Tigers Castleford Tigers’ head groundsman Stuart Vause (right) collects the award from Mansfield Sand’s football and golf sales manager Craig Lalley.



National Governing Bodies’ Professional Sports Grounds Team of the Year Manchester City FC The Manchester City FC grounds team collect their award from Gregg Noakes of The Premier League (fourth from left).


GrassMaster Professional Rugby Football Union Grounds Team of the Year Yorkshire Carnegie (Leeds Rugby) Yorkshire Carnegie’s grounds team – from left, Dan Connor, Leon Pearson and head groundsman Ryan Golding – collect their well-deserved award from Alex Stead (far right), GrassMaster’s UK and Scandinavia sales manager.

24 THE GROUNDSMAN December 2017



Rigby Taylor/Top Green Young Groundsman of the Year James Wood, Manchester City FC James Wood (centre) collects his award from Rigby Taylor’s executive chairman Chris Clark (right) and Young IOG Board director Martin Stephenson.

16 This category is co-sponsored by the AELTC (All England Lawn Tennis Club), ECB (the England and Wales Cricket Board), The FA (Football Association), The LTA (Lawn Tennis Association), the Premier League, the RFL (Rugby Football League) and the RFU (Rugby Football Union).

Growth Products Independent School/University/College Grounds Team of the Year University of Surrey The University of Surrey’s acting head of grounds Iain Main (centre) and sports team leader Grant Young (right) collect the award from Growth Products’ Keith Giertych.




Contractor of the Year Premier Pitches, Sheffield The Premier Pitches team, led by managing director Carl Pass (back row, far right), collect their welldeserved award from Dean Andrews (back row, third from right).


Private Members Sports Club Grounds Team of the Year The Queen’s Club, London The Queen’s Club’s grounds team led by head groundsman Graham Kimpton (third from left) collect their award from Perry Groves (far right). 18 THE GROUNDSMAN 25




Simon Gumbrill (left) with Perry Groves


International Ambassador of the Year Simon Gumbrill, Stadium Grow Lighting Simon is a well-known and respected member of the turf industry, having worked for 18 years as a sales director for a major supplier of turf care equipment and for the past few years with Stadium Grow Lighting (SGL). With vast experience of the groundscare industry, his in-depth understanding of groundsmen’s needs in the management and maintenance of turf surfaces not only means he is fully in tune with the science of turf care, but importantly, he also appreciates how the vagaries of the climate affect turf care routines between different geographical locations. For these reasons, he is regarded as a friend by many professional grounds teams. Simon is a passionate advocate of the turf profession wherever in the world his 26 THE GROUNDSMAN December 2017

Paul Burgess (left) collects his award from Perry Groves

job takes him, and his role also includes the delivery of high-level presentations to sports clubs of every size throughout the UK and the USA especially.


Special Recognition Award (Professional Category) Paul Burgess, Real Madrid FC Paul Burgess captured the industry’s imagination of what UK groundsmen can achieve when, after beginning his groundscare career in Blackpool, he moved to Arsenal FC as assistant head groundsman, before becoming head groundsman and then, in 2009, being appointed head groundsman at Real Madrid FC. Upon his move to Real Madrid, one of his initial moves was to implement radical changes to the turf care regimes there – including the immediate replacement of the stadium pitch.

Since then he has welcomed a continual stream of visitors to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium and to the club’s extensive training grounds. Over the past eight years, he has instigated a stream of continual improvements to the playing surfaces at both sites and, at the training ground, to the surrounding landscaped areas and facilities, too. Throughout, Paul has always talked forthrightly about his role and about the turf care industry. At the awards, Arsenal FC manager Arsène Wenger sent Paul a video message of congratulations.


Special Recognition Award (Volunteer Category) Peter Green, Honley Cricket Club, Holmfirth, Huddersfield Peter Green (centre) and his son receive the award from ex-Arsenal footballer Perry Groves (right).





The Alex R Millar Ransomes/ DLF Johnsons Groundsman of the Year (acknowledging the role of an individual groundsman from within all the relevant professional grounds team award categories) Vic Demain, Durham CCC Durham CCC head groundsman Vic Demain (centre) receives his individual award from DLF’s Derek Smith (left) and Alan Prickett from Ransomes.

Britain’s Got Talent’s Kev Orkian provided the after-dinner entertainment THE GROUNDSMAN 27


S A LT E X 2 0 17


SALTEX 2017 has been hailed as a huge success IOG chief executive Geo� Webb opened the show

A By Chris Bennett SALTEX press officer

year’s worth of meticulous and strategic planning from show organisers has culminated in what is being hailed by many as the best ever SALTEX event. The two-day exhibition has grown to become the premier annual groundscare event in Europe and on 1 and 2 November, the halls of the NEC, Birmingham were a hub of innovation, inspiration and opportunity. Ahead of the 9am opening, a huge queue of visitors stretched beyond the entrance and it wasn’t long before the show floor was packed with groundscare enthusiasts from all over the globe. More than 300 exhibitors showcased their products and services; Learning LIVE, SALTEX’s all-encompassing education programme, featured over 100 high-profile speakers who tackled a number of key issues, and other show features – including Pathology and Soil Science Live, Ask The Expert and the Job Clinic offered invaluable free advice and

“SALTEX successfully united every corner of the groundscare industry” 28 THE GROUNDSMAN December 2017

career progression opportunities. The Outdoor Demonstrations area enabled visitors to see some of the latest equipment in action and attendees also had the chance to see every entry in SALTEX’s new Innovation of the Year Award. Exhibitors reported constant engagement with a high calibre of attendees across the two-day event as visitors immersed themselves in the vibrant atmosphere. Social media channels became a frenzy of show photos, selfies, videos and positive comments – so much so that at 11am on 1 November, #SALTEX17 registered as the third most trending topic in the UK on Twitter. Not a moment was missed through the all-new SALTEX TV. Learning LIVE discussions, panel debates and presentations, as well key interviews with visitors, experts and exhibitors were all broadcast live on four large screens throughout the show floor. Despite a turbulent year of economic uncertainty, SALTEX successfully united every corner of the groundscare industry. As the only independently audited show of its kind in the UK, the IOG has never shied away from being transparent with visitor numbers and the official figure will be released as soon as the audit has been completed.


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Rigby Taylor's Jayne Leyland with the award

SALTEX INNOVATION AWARD The standard was high in this all-new award, resulting in a tie for first place


elebrating the best new products in the industry, the new SALTEX Innovation Award attracted a large number of high quality entries. An independent panel of industry experts looked at all 25 entrants at SALTEX and judged Rigby Taylor's Intelligent One autonomous robotic line marker and Fleet Line Markers’ MAQA line marking machine as joint winners of this prestigious award. Second place went to Oregon’s Gator Speedload, which judges said was a quick and simple device that negated the need to dismantle the head each time to reload/ wrap new strimmer cord. Third place went to the Etesia Hydro 80 MKHP4 E-Connect, due to its ability to set up multiple users and record data – allowing organisations or clubs to monitor amount of use and user’s ability.

Regarding the winners, the Intelligent One (iO) is said to be the world’s first fully autonomous robotic line marker. It can mark out a standard sized football pitch in 35 minutes, using just 3.3 litres of readyto-use Impact XP paint. The iO eliminates the task of stringing out for the first markings and operates hands-free. Once the template has been entered into the supplied tablet, the iO is placed at the pitch corner and will mark out all the outside and inside straight lines, the ‘D’, centre circle, corner angles and penalty spot without any direct operator involvement. The MAQA line marking machine uses GNSS technology to reduce the time it takes to mark by a massive 75 per cent. Initial marking that might have taken two men up to four hours can now be completed by one person in 20 minutes.

• Campey Turf Care Systems Genny Wren, Imants Topdrain 1000 and the redesigned Koro FTM c/w Universe Rotor • Demon International LPG engine • EGO Power+ BAX1500 • Grillo Agrigarden Grillo FD900 commercial mower • GroundsCare Products Turf Teq powered Edger/ Trencher • Groundwater Dynamics EGRP (Energy Passive Groundwater Recharge Pump • Harrod UK Stadium Pro Goal Height Adjuster • Herbatech SRL Herbafer Rubisco blend of nutrients and bio stimulants • M Lloyd Engineering Rotastar excavator mounted screening bucket • Matrax Matrax 4×4 LD • MTD Specialty Infinicut mower • New Ground Technology Europe TurfPrinter • Pellenc ULB1500 battery • Pitchmark Hybrid line marker • Sherriff Amenity Online Sherriff Amenity Academy • SIS UK SISGrass Universal hybrid surface stitching • SISIS SISIS Javelin Aer-Aid 1500

The Fleet MAQA line-marking machine was joint winner THE GROUNDSMAN 29


S A LT E X 2 0 17

The winning team with Ransomes’ Karen Proctor (left) and Alan Prickett (far right)

SALTEX COLLEGE CUP UPDATE Teams of sports turf students from all over the UK took part in the annual SALTEX College Cup, with a great prize on offer for the winners The competition was a test of knowledge

S By Dan Prest IOG head of member services

ALTEX 2017 saw the return of the SALTEX College Cup, sponsored by Ransomes, and a high calibre of sports turf students from Askham Bryan College, Bridgwater & Taunton College, CAFRE Greenmount Campus and Myerscough College took part. The competition aims to raise awareness of how the level of professionalism in the industry can be linked to education and to showcase just how well our young up-and-coming grounds staff

“The competition aims to showcase how well our young grounds staff are prepared for industry” 30 THE GROUNDSMAN December 2017

are educationally prepared for industry. CAFRE, from Northern Ireland, claimed the top prize for the second year running, although Askham Bryan was only one point behind – having been tested in the exam and then the case study presentations. Credit should also go to the other teams, Bridgwater and Myerscough, who came joint third as the judges could not fault their attempts. The winners will now get the chance to get involved with pitch preparation at the Six Nations, Scotland vs England, at BT Murrayfield Stadium. Find out more information about the exhibition at and follow @IOG_SALTEX on Twitter for regular updates before and during the show.



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Women in many different groundscare roles attended

WOMEN IN TURF REVIEW In a new SALTEX event, women from across the industry discussed the challenges facing them

By Jemima Codrington Freelance writer


he Women’s Summit was a really welcome addition to this year’s programme. I’ve written about this subject in the past and it’s clear that the industry as a whole is taking steps in the right direction to address issues such as underrepresentation, misrepresentation and skills gaps. Attendance was excellent and included women working in a range of roles throughout the industry. Many of the same themes emerged from discussions on each table – some resulted in similar sentiments being shared, while others sparked debate and difference of opinion. We touched on ways to increase opportunities, looking at how careers in this industry are presented to girls – if they are at all. This sparked further debate about how the next generation of workers value different things from those prior, and led to discussions about whether or not the industry needs to evolve. In addition to talking about the lack of women in the industry, we also spoke about the discrimination and harassment those who are within it face. Clearly it’s time these conversations were had and I’ve no doubt the IOG will move forward with the suggestions and feedback curated.

“I’ve no doubt the IOG will move forward with the feedback curated” Having the opportunity to sit down alongside like-minded women who value career aspiration and progression is always a joy, as was looking around the seminar room to see that every seat around every table was full. Sessions like these are invaluable when it comes to implementing real, meaningful, long-lasting change. I also think it’s high time we had a session solely focusing on women and girls. It doesn’t have anything to do with exclusion or ignoring other issues that exist – far from it. It’s a question of recognising that there is a section of society – or in this case our industry – that is being impacted and challenged by specific issues, and that putting our heads together to identify what these issues are is key if we want half a shot at finding solutions.


For more information on SALTEX please visit THE GROUNDSMAN 31

Product showcase


IOG NEWS UPDATES Go to the IOG website


Toro’s PowerPlex hand-held tools


Power to the people

TORO’S NEW 40V range of PowerPlex hand-held products was a big draw for visitors at SALTEX, where the brand shared stand space with Hayter. Hundreds of visitors came to the stand over the two days to see the extensive range of products on display. Alongside the PowerPlex range – which includes string trimmers and edgers, blowers, hedge trimmers and a brushless chainsaw – Toro was also showing its new Titan HD with MyRIDE suspension system. The MyRIDE system lets users adjust the suspension level of the operator area to help reduce impacts, bumps and vibrations for a better ride experience. Visitors could

also see the new Toro 22280 53cm heavy-duty walk power mower, which has a low hand-arm vibration of only 2.7m/s2. It allows users to extend mowing time to nearly seven hours per day. Another big draw was the new Harrier 41 Pro from Hayter, which was displayed alongside the other two models in the Hayter Harrier Professional range of rear roller models.;

CUB CADET SHOWCASES NEW PRO Z SERIES CUB CADET UNVEILED its new Pro Z Series of zero-turn mowers at SALTEX, a line-up consisting of the PRO Z1, PRO Z5 and the PRO Z7. The latter two have the industry’s only triple seven-gauge deck – three layers of seven-gauge steel – plus a 1/4in leading edge and 5/16in side reinforcements. The full-length laser-cut steel frame and 5/16in steel rear bumpers are protected with a durable e-coating. A Synchro Steer system delivers smooth, precise handling and stability up hills. The PRO Z1 covers 5,000m2/h with speeds of 9.5mph, the PRO Z5 has a 10mph cutting speed and covers up to 6,000m2/h, while the PRO Z7 boasts 12mph and covers up to 7,500m2/h. The jewel in the crown is the PRO Z7, which comes with a commercial-grade Kawasaki engine, higher top speeds, more comfort and a larger deck. Cub Cadet’s new Pro Z Series



AGRONOMIC SERVICES LAUNCHED a new product to control nematodes at this year’s SALTEX: Nema-Go. The firm, which also supplies liquid fertilisers, micronutrients, biostimulants, seaweed products, turf strengtheners and wetting agents,


Pitch perfect

works closely with head groundsmen, course managers and agronomists to create bespoke solutions to help grass varieties perform better.

Institute of Groundsmanship THE GROUNDSMAN 33


S A LT E X 2 0 17 R E V I E W



Timberwolf’s TW 230PAHB


Timberwolf unveils new petrol range

TIMBERWOLF LAUNCHED a new range of low-emission petrol-powered wood chippers at SALTEX. The entry-level TW 160PH is a compact and powerful hydraulic chipper powered by a 22hp Honda engine, with a hydraulic feed and auto control for easy loading. Mounted on an unbraked chassis, the TW 160PH has a towing weight of 608kg, allowing transport behind smaller commercial vehicles. The mid-range TW 230 is now available in petrol, with a choice of two engines: a 37hp B&S Vanguard V Twin (230PAHB) or a 32.5hp Kubota WG972

(230PWHB). Both machines feature a 230mm x 160mm feed opening and quad-force rollers for maximum crushing power. Throughput is five tonnes per hour and a 280-degree adjustable discharge allows the chips to be directed into a trailer or safely blown onto the verge. The flagship TW 280PHB is powered by a Kubota 57hp WG1605 fourcylinder petrol engine. Designed for heavy-duty arboriculture and forestry tasks, it can output 6.5 tonnes per hour and features a 280mm x 210mm infeed opening.

BOMFORD TURNER HAS strengthened its grip on the UK’s remote-controlled mower market with the launch at SALTEX of two new Flailbots: a compact 40hp machine and a 70hp Supreme model. Both units are powered by a Perkins engine. The machines’ two tracks can be independently extended by the operator by up to 10in and this wider footprint means the mower can operate on inclines of up to 55 degrees. The cutting heads adjust automatically as they float over the terrain and the joystick allows precise control with a range of up to 150m, making either machine ideal for use on hilly, banked and even mountainous areas. A choice of rubber and studded steel tracks for different surface conditions and a range of tools and accessories allow the Flailbots to be configured for a range of applications, including stump grinding, trench cutting, earth moving and snow clearing. The unit also displays real-time data, including stats for incline, altitude and speed.


VELVIT RANGE FOR TURF CARE GREENBEST WAS SHOWCASING its new Velvit range of fertilisers, wetting agents and biostimulants at SALTEX.

Made in the UK and supported by specialist distributors nationwide, the range includes organic biostimulants Vel-sea and Onyx, Resolute long-lasting wetting agent, Command homogeneous granular fertilisers and Nutrilong controlled release fertiliser. The products all incorporate trusted nutrient profiles and the latest technological innovations, and are designed to be easily integrated into any nutrient programme.

New turf care products


34 THE GROUNDSMAN December 2017

Institute of Groundsmanship

The Flailbot

TA S K CALENDAR Find out what’s on your to-do list page 45


S A LT E X 2 0 17 R E V I E W


CONTOURA DRAWS THE CROWDS THE 3.6M TRAILED Contoura Mower was the star attraction on Major Equipment’s stand at SALTEX 2017. Designed primarily for golf and amenity turf applications, the mower has a unique pivoting frame and self-aligning spherical bearings that allow its three mowing decks to follow the contours of the ground with ease. Major’s reliable and low maintenance mowers are popular with the UK’s biggest councils, as well as landscapers and grounds maintenance staff. Available in working widths from 1.9m to 6.1m and in a variety

“A unique pivoting frame and selfaligning spherical bearings allow its three mowing decks to follow the contours of the ground with ease”

of configurations, the mowers are ideal for use at turf farms, polo clubs, schools, sports fields, airports and race courses.


Get more news on the latest products page 12

The Contoura Mower in action


S A LT E X 2 0 17 R E V I E W


The Price is right

THE VENTRAC TRACTOR and Ryan units proved a popular draw for Price Turfcare at the company’s first visit to SALTEX as an exhibitor, according to managing director Rupert Price. “The Ventrac tractor was extremely popular with visitors and we had some great leads, which will keep us very busy in the run-up to Christmas,” he says. “However, I was very pleased, and mildly surprised, at the level of interest in the Ryan brand. We only took it on in July and will be the sole importer from January 2018, but the brand obviously has a very loyal following across the

“I was very pleased, and mildly surprised, at the level of interest”

The Price Turfcare stand at SALTEX

UK. The equipment is compact and easy to operate.” Overall, Rupert felt it was a successful first visit to SALTEX. “As a start-up business which has only been in existence since the beginning of

the year, our first visit has been a very positive experience. One of our aims was to look for new dealer partners and this worked well for us. I can safely say that SALTEX ticked all the boxes.”


S A LT E X 2 0 17 R E V I E W


CHANGE OF SCENE RIGBY TAYLOR LAUNCHED two new specialist paints at this year’s SALTEX. Wipe-Out and Green-Out are designed to help grounds teams change quickly between sports with different pitch markings. Wipe-Out gives a white or colour line that lasts in dry conditions and can be removed with water. WipeOut G works on natural grass and is applied with a spray or transfer wheel marker for lines, or with a brush or roller for stencilled logos. It can be removed with a pressure washer or a hose and soft brush. Wipe-Out S is for synthetic surfaces and isn’t water soluble, but can be removed with Duraline dissolving solution. Green-Out covers lines or stencils with a green paint that blends in well with natural

The new paints remove markings

“Wipe-Out and GreenOut help grounds teams change quickly between sports with different pitch markings” grass surfaces. It’s available as an Impact Ready to Use formulation or Duraline Dilutable Concentrate.


Weather patterns and top tips page 46


A tool for every job

The new Renovator from GKB Machines

“Visitors had a first look at the new Combiseeder, and the new Renovator, a synthetic turf maintenance machine” 38 THE GROUNDSMAN December 2017

GKB MACHINES RETURNED to SALTEX this year with two new machines as well as a selection from its huge range of units for laying, maintenance and redevelopment of sports pitches. Visitors had a first look at the new Combiseeder, for accurate seed application at a rate of over 1,500 holes per square metre, and the new Renovator, a synthetic turf maintenance machine with five rotating brushes. Some of the brand’s well-known and popular machines were also on display including the Combinator, which combines frase mowing and verticutting grass; the Vstrong, a scarifying machine that offers chemical-free weed management; and the SP100 Sandspreader.


S A LT E X 2 0 17 R E V I E W

The MT200 Flex Verticutter


Maredo machines make their mark GROUNDPRO, a division of Wiedenmann UK, showcased two Maredo tractor-mounted machines at SALTEX, both new to the British and Irish markets – the MT200 Flex Verticutter and the MT210 VibeSpikeAerator. Both units attach to tractors at 25hp and above. The MT200 Verticutter is a scarifier which removes thatch quickly and cleanly. It works well on undulating ground thanks to its three floating heads and easy-turn ‘A’-frame and pivot point. It offers a span of 1.9m and a depth of up to 25mm.

The MT210 VibeSpike aerator is a fast way to help air permeate the top surface of turf. The six spike sections per head vibrate, shattering the compact top layer and leaving clean slit holes at the surface. The depth can be adjusted from 20mm to 55mm without tools.

“The MT200 works well on undulating ground thanks to its three floating heads”


OPTIMAL EXTRA VISITORS TO SALTEX were able to find out more about a specialist product from Gordes Zeolite, Clino Turf, which helps to retain water and nutrients on sports grounds, without causing waterlogging. Zeolites are hydrated aluminosilicate materials containing aluminium, silicon and oxygen in their regular framework. They have large open spaces in their structure that form channels, which allow ions and molecules to pass easily in and out of the structure. This means they can retain both nutrients and water and then release them in a controlled way, reducing the amount of irrigation and KEEP IN TOUCH

Product details were available at SALTEX

fertiliser needed. The zeolite in Clino Turf is uniform, with a smooth shape, unlike many other zeolites which have jagged edges that can damage roots. Clino Turf can be used as a slowrelease fertiliser additive that provides an efficient management of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and Sulphur (S). It’s particularly effective when mixed into sandy and coarse-textured soils.

Institute of Groundsmanship


TOP OF THE CROP PROTECTION BELCHIM CROP PROTECTION was at SALTEX introducing customers to its new product, Katoun Gold, which contains 500g/l pelargonic acid. Katoun Gold is used as a non-selective contact herbicide for use on amenity vegetation (bare soil around trees and woody shrubs). It works by rapidly breaking down the plant cuticle wax layer, leading to loss of water by evaporation. Just a few hours after application, its effects can be seen, and it offers complete control of smaller weeds after just a few days. Katoun Gold is a natural product with very high purity (>95%) and a low rate of use (22.5l/ha) and can be applied four times in a season. It’s also easy to work with, having a low water rate of 225l/ha which means it has a high work rate with a backpack sprayer. THE GROUNDSMAN 41


DRAIN ON TIME Penrith FC had just weeks to transform its poorly performing pitch ahead of a big game. So the club called in Duncan Ross Ltd It takes time to get a football pitch in perfect playing condition. But with just six weeks until a key match, that was something Penrith FC just didn’t have. A lucrative pre-season fixture against League Two side Carlisle United was arranged, but its Frenchfield Park Stadium hadn’t been maintained properly for nine years, with major drainage problems rendering the surface impenetrable. Urgent action was needed, so the club enlisted Duncan Ross Ltd. “The pitch wasn’t draining at all. We had drains that had been dry for the past eight years and Duncan came down and gave us a thesis on what he thought was wrong,” says Brian ‘Billy’ Williams, the Penrith chairman. “He presented a solution – what he thought would solve the problems – and luckily our local council, along with the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, got involved and funded the project.” Within three days of work starting, the top was stripped off using a Koro

SOWING THE SEEDS OF SUCCESS Limagrain’s MM50 seed mix helps Danny Negus provide the best possible playing surfaces at Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park

A pristine-looking Devonshire Park court

Frenchfield needed some serious work

“The pitch wasn’t draining at all. The drains had been dry for eight years” Field Top Maker, sand banding was introduced and the pitch was seeded. “It’s been a pleasure for people to come along to the ground and ask what’s been going on,” says Brian. “I’ve been in business myself for the last 50 years and I don’t think I’ve ever met more conscientious people [than the Duncan Ross team], regarding the quality of their work. “We played our game against Carlisle United on 12 July. That had really put Duncan Ross to the test, because the decision wasn’t made

to bring him in until the early part of May. There was just a five- to six-week window to start doing the work, which was quite considerable. “The game against Carlisle meant a lot to us financially, so it was really important that the pitch was ready. Thankfully Carlisle players said they were absolutely thrilled with the condition of it and we’ve had nothing but positive feedback.”

Tennis fan Danny Negus has landed his dream job: head groundsman at Devonshire Park International Tennis Centre in Eastbourne. As a lover of the sport, it’s important to Danny that he’s able to give players the best possible experience. “As the sport of tennis is getting more demanding, players are putting so much into their diets, their mentality and their approach to everything. Therefore it’s only fair that we do the same and provide a great surface for them to play on.” Danny decided that finding the right grass seed was key, and set about testing seed on the sites at Devonshire Park and the two other sites he manages, the Meads Lawn Tennis Club and Moira House school. “I trialled Limagrain’s MM50 last year throughout the three sites, which consist of approximately 27 courts. I wanted to see the reaction of the seed on different sites in different

conditions. It enabled us to see how the seed responded in a tournament situation, and also for club and professional use. The results I got back from the trials revealed to me that it was a no-brainer to use MM50 across all three sites. “It has a recovery rate I’m really impressed with – every time it gets knocked the recovery is huge. The grass colour is also fantastic and its reaction to light has been far superior compared to other grasses I have used before. I think the blends are really good. “Simply put, MM50 is the only seed I use and will continue to use. That is throughout the season – in between the tournaments, any bits of minor renovation works such as baselines and for the main renovation works at the end of the season.”



For more information visit

For more information visit THE GROUNDSMAN 43



Find out more about the IOG learning pathway page 50


Continue to check for disease activity and, if identified, spray with a proprietary fungicide. Continue to brush as regularly as possible to allow sward to remain upright and to remove excess moisture/dew, and if any earthworm activity is noticed try not to smear the casts. If possible aerate using solid tines to a depth of 125mm. If climatic and ground conditions allow, mow sward, by ‘topping off’.


Continue to check for damage regularly, especially if the outfield is also used for winter sports. If climatic and ground conditions allow, mow sward by ‘topping off’. If possible, aerate outfield to 125mm.


During this period of snow and cold weather, very little will be undertaken on the green. Watch out for any Fusarium/snow mould that might develop.


If the weather is very cold or it snows, temporary (or winter) greens should be the order of the day to help protect the condition of the main greens. Watch out for any Fusarium/ snow mould developing beneath any snow cover. Now is an ideal time to carry

out machinery maintenance or scrub land clearance. This year’s maintenance budget and work programme should also be completed, if they haven’t already been done, as this will also help to identify optimum times for the taking of annual leave and will help to avoid holidays clashing with peak workloads. Now is also a good time to attend training courses and to read up on current trade literature to see what is available or what new products might be launched for spring.


No doubt games will still be played, unless the pitch is frozen and unsafe. Where undersoil heating is provided, games will still be played and the rootzone will no doubt provide a relatively soft surface. This will make divoting a priority after each game. The need for additional turfing in goalmouths and possibly the centre circle areas may also be required this month. Be careful not to dry the soil too much if using underground heating as the grass plant will dry out and may die.


Most work this month will concentrate on pitch presentation, for example: - ensure line markings have good

consistency - drag brush the pitch to produce a striping effect - divot as required - fork and sand worn / bare areas.

year could send the surface backwards until the growing season. Handforking would be useful to aid drainage.


Continue to avoid the use of relatively heavy machinery over the winter months when ground conditions are generally unsuitable. Aeration can be carried out during dry periods, assuming the soil moisture content is not high. A light topping of the sward might be required by the end of the winter period. Continue to divot and repair after each meeting. Look ahead to planning/ ordering materials ready for the April renovation work.

The frosts and inclement weather might have arrived, so remedial jobs such as machinery maintenance or store maintenance may be required. Switching and dragbrushing to be completed when conditions allow. Dragbrushing can be used to create striping effect. Aeration would be useful, if pitch conditions allow, to aid drainage. Make sure the pitch is still secure so no damage from footmarks occurs. Complete remedial jobs around the stores or to machinery. On the amateur side, constant divoting is of the highest importance to repair the surface. Dragbrushing or chainharrowing could be used to aid playability and presentation. Communication is vital as one bad game at this time of



Little work will typically be required except for the essential removal of dew and earthworm casts, and watching for signs of disease attack. Aeration can be considered, if ground conditions permit and if the machinery is not being serviced.

BOOST YOUR SKILLSET As the year draws to a close, this is the perfect time to think about improving your groundsmanship skills. The IOG offers a range of courses to suit different sports and surfaces; visit for more information. THE GROUNDSMAN 45



DECEMBER TOP TIPS • Watch out for risk of Microdochium (Fusarium) patch infection • Use ITM practices to reduce disease pressure • Remove dew and encourage air flow to keep surfaces dry • Apply Instrata Elite fungicide ahead of key risk periods

Frosty nights are rarer now



his season’s relatively wet and warm autumn weather conditions have resulted in some of the most challenging conditions in memory for Microdochium patch (Fusarium). The key saving factor, so far, has been that turf has continued to grow and enabled some recovery where disease outbreaks hit. As cold spells increase in frequency that growth will decrease, but the legacy of the disease pathogen in turf remains.

Historically, you could have expected 10 nights with frost in southern England, and 14 nights in Scotland. However, records show warming conditions, with every December since 2011 being at or above the long-term average (see table below).


T emperatures were again above long-term average across the UK – typically +2.0°C S cotland and northern England were


Sun (hours)

Diff to 30-yr av


Rain (mm)

Diff to 30-yr av




Nights with air frost

Diff to 30-yr av




Diff to 30-yr av


-5 -9













































Longterm av


41 hrs

121 mm

11 days

UK weather records since 2011 highlight the consistently warmer and wetter conditions that have been experienced in December, creating real challenges for turf management

particularly warm compared to average, with average daily highs +3.1°C T here were an average six nights of frost – five fewer than the norm A verage rainfall was down by 33% – but 66% down in eastern and southern England, at around 25mm R ainfall in northern Scotland was 10% above average, at over 190mm. Up until last year, December had also been wetter than average, compounding turf management challenges. The experience of recent seasons indicates the trend of mild winters could continue. You have to go back to 2010 for a truly cold December, when the average temperature for the UK for the month was -0.9°C with 23 nights of frost.


The prospect of persistently wet surfaces, which don’t dry naturally in short, cool December days, significantly increases the risk of Microdochium patch; the pathogen thrives in wet surface conditions. Early reports indicate that after the high incidence of disease outbreaks in November, there’s likely to be a high level of Microdochium inoculum present, which can be expected to increase. Applications of Instrata Elite can reduce the pathogen loading in the thatch, and help to deliver long-term protection for the turf leaf. Where it is possible to foresee periods of disease risk using GreenCast, there is potential to get the best protection from proactive applications of Instrata Elite, or Medallion TL if conditions turn cooler.



More advice on continued training and development


Learning on the job Simon Lee, head groundsman at Exeter School, believes progressive education has helped him keep up to date with industry standards and techniques Simon’s training helped him to re�ne his methods of working

By Karen Maxwell Managing editor

What attracted you towards a career in grounds management? Initially, fresh air and the variety of tasks and skills to master. Landscaping and gardening really provided huge daily diversity and when I began to get more involved with groundsmanship I was amazed at how much goes into providing quality facilities. Learning the science behind everything has fuelled my interest. What has been your career path so far? I began working for a landscaping and garden maintenance company when I was 16, by 18 I was running small teams. In my mid 20s I set up my own company, expanding into tree surgery along the way. One of my regular contracts was Exeter School. As well as routine maintenance I would also cover some of the groundsman’s work when he was on leave. The opportunity for full-time employment with the school arose, to work with the head groundsman, with the potential to take over the reins on his retirement. I was fortunate to work alongside him while I studied – meaning that on his departure I was in a good position to take over the running of the department. In your opinion, why is progressive training and education so important? Technology and scientific understanding are constantly developing, therefore best practice may change. Progressive training ensures you are keeping up with the standards and techniques within the industry while also providing yourself with the best opportunity to further your career. I was able to perform many of the tasks before I undertook my formal training, but I didn’t necessarily understand why I was performing them, the effect they may have or how to refine my methods.


50 THE GROUNDSMAN December 2017

How were you able to find the best courses to fit your progressive needs? I took a few of the specific short courses offered by the IOG, as and when they were relevant to me, after seeing them advertised in the magazine. The first one was on Cricket Wicket Preparation and at the time we were looking to improve our cricket square. I had a good experience and found the courses to be useful, so when I wanted to study the broader aspect of groundsmanship, I got in touch with the IOG for advice. What units in the IOG’s Level 2 Amenity and Sports Turf Maintenance course did you find most interesting and why? I enjoyed Unit 239 – Maintaining Sports Turf Surfaces – collecting samples, recording statistics and inputting the data to show the qualities of the sports surface. Then studying the operations that are best to carry out in order to improve or maintain the characteristics. I also enjoyed Unit 219 – Identification & control of plant problems in the land-based sector. I studied European crane flies and stem rust, and was amazed at the complexity of both their lifecycles. However, Unit 202 – Understanding the Basic Principles of Soil Science – was a highlight, because I still love digging big holes and getting muddy. How will these new skills help you in your current role? My studies have had a positive impact with regards to environmental issues, the associated budget, my approach to health and safety, and the standard of my work. I can also pinpoint the cause of any problems that arise within the turf environment and apply appropriate measures to remedy them.


Institute of Groundsmanship

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