The Groundsman 2019

Page 1



JUNE 2019 £4.00


Best buys for natural and synthetic surfaces page 39



GREENER GOALS Boosting environmental standards

ICON OF THE INDUSTRY We pay tribute to the late Eddie Seaward, AELTC’s former legendary head groundsman



05 Welcome

A tribute to Eddie Seaward

06 Update

The latest news from the world of groundskeeping

page 39

13 SALTEX news

New registration process for easier-than-ever access

14 GaNTIP update

Pitch improvements lead to awards for Steve Berry

30 Technical update

Spotlight on green practices


35 Award sponsor SCH Supplies

37 Award sponsor Kubota

39 Product showcase

Line marking, natural and artificial surface maintenance



JUNE 2019 £4.00


47 Tools and guidance


Best buys for natural and synthetic surfaces page 39

Turf care advice for July



50 Grow with the IOG

GREENER GOALS Boosting environmental standards

Schools into Stadia at Saints FC ICON OF THE INDUSTRY We pay tribute to the late Eddie Seaward, AELTC’s former legendary head groundsman

FEATURES 16 Special report



Southampton FC’s young talent, John Wright

Eddie Seaward, the legendary former head groundsman of AELTC

20 Obituary

The outstanding achievements of Eddie Seaward

22 Best practice

Maintaining international standards at BT Murrayfield

26 Best practice

Paddy Ferrie’s synthetic solutions for Scotstoun Stadium




Editorial address: 28 Stratford Office Village, Walker Avenue, Wolverton Mill East, Milton Keynes MK12 5TW t: 01908 312 511 Managing editor Karen Maxwell e: t: 01908 552987 Features editor Colin Hoskins e: t: 07785 293077 Product editor Lizzie Hufton e: t: 01225 337777 IOG membership and general enquiries t: 01908 312511 e: Magazine subscriptions Jo Cornford t: 01908 312511 e: Subscriptions £72 UK, £82 Europe, £112 rest of world Publisher James Houston Head of design Simon Goddard Group ad sales manager Lee Morris 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.


Institute of Groundsmanship THE GROUNDSMAN 3



A tribute to an inspirational leader and statesman

Karen Maxwell Managing editor

The death of Eddie Seaward, formerly head groundsman of the All England Lawn Tennis Club for 22 years, leaves an unfillable void in the groundscare and fine turf care industry and especially for everyone – including myself – who were also lucky enough to know him personally as a friend as well as a colleague. Eddie became the first (and only) patron of the IOG after a long and distinguished period of service and contribution at branch, regional and board level. He was also an outstanding ambassador for the industry, being able to communicate effectively with celebrities and royalty. Importantly, though, he also gave equal status to everyone and he influenced many in the industry, encouraging them to go on to succeed by supporting them in their plans to progress in the industry. For me, Eddie was an inspirational leader and a real statesman. He gave wise counsel and advice, and he also quite simply elevated the profession to the wider public world through his many encounters with the media around the Wimbledon Championships. Eddie’s legacy lives on with the way Neil Stubley and his team have carried forward the progress of the Wimbledon courts which are immaculately presented every year. Behind the scenes though, that pioneering spirit remains – just ask Neil about the steaming of the courts! Eddie gave me the best ‘off the cuff’ advice ever when, as a complete novice to turf care, he told me: “Geoff, if you want that perfect stripe on your lawn, forget the mower and go down to your local DIY store, buy a yard broom, then walk up and down with it.” I did exactly that and, brilliant – the results are always excellent. Many have kindly paid their individual tributes across a range of social media platforms, but I would like to draw your attention to Eddie’s Just Giving page: If you would donate to Macmillan, his chosen charity, both he and his widow, Chris, would very much appreciate it. Our feature article on page 20 pays tribute to the life and times of Eddie, a true doyen of the industry, and while everyone at the IOG offers their deepest sympathies to Chris and family, I would also add my personal condolences at what is a very sad time for everyone.

Colin Hoskins Features editor

Greg Rhodes Feature writer

Chris Bennett SALTEX press officer

Darren Symonds Regional pitch advisor

Ian Holder Director, SCH Supplies

Geoff Webb Chief Executive The Institute of Groundsmanship Adrian Langmead


Institute of Groundsmanship

Business development manager, tractor and groundcare, Kubota UK THE GROUNDSMAN 5






IOG advice at the Nou Camp

OVER THE WEEKEND of the 18 May, the Nou Camp Stadium, home of FC Barcelona, hosted an RFL Super League match between Wigan Warriors from England and French side Catalan Dragons in front of a record crowd and a team from the IOG was appointed by the Super League to oversee pitch preparations before the game. Working on behalf of the IOG, GaNTIP football manager Tom Rowley and IOG members Alex Latto and Rich Eastham arrived at the stadium two days before the game to work with

The IOG team at the Nou Camp ahead of the game

the highly skilled and experienced grounds staff at the stadium to ensure that the pitch met the very specific standards of Rugby League. This included pitch dimensions and markings, cutting heights, mowing patterns and the correct set up of post and corner pads. Despite torrential rain in the buildup to the game, preparations went well and the pitch was in fantastic condition for what was a hugely successful event.

NOMINATIONS FOR THE 2019 IOG Industry Awards are now open and we’ve had a tremendous response so far. If you, your team or a particular team member are doing something outstanding make sure you get nominated or nominate yourself for one of the Award categories. Nominating only takes a couple of minutes - it’s important to raise the profile of those who deserve it! Go to awards and click the ‘Nominate’ button.




NO EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST WEEDKILLER IS NOT SAFE TO USE THE AMENITY FORUM is reassuring groundsmen that Roundup is safe to use, after a jury in the US awarded more than $2bn (£1.5bn) to a couple who said the weedkiller, which contains glyphosate, was responsible for their cancer. The jury in California ruled that Bayer, which acquired Roundup last year after its takeover of US rival Monsanto, was liable for plaintiffs Alva and Alberta Pilliod contracting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Bayer, which plans to appeal, said decades of studies have shown glyphosate and Roundup to be safe for human use and that the Pilliods both had histories of illnesses that were known risk factors for nonHodgkin’s lymphoma. The Amenity Forum, which promotes best practice, and the safe and sustainable management of weeds, pests and diseases, has said that authorised chemicals used correctly and professionally are safe, KEEP IN TOUCH

THE EFL HAS announced the winners of the Grounds Team of the Season award for 2018/19 in each of the three divisions. The awards recognise the importance of the quality of pitches for professional football and acknowledge the clubs and their grounds staff who consistently produce the best playing surfaces in the EFL. Glyphosate is safe when applied correctly

and help to create healthy public spaces fit for purpose. “Actives for use in the UK, such as glyphosate, are scrutinised by scientific experts and only authorised after extensive testing and a full review of all the science and evidence,” it said in a statement. “Any product, such as Roundup, must then be approved for use in the UK, again following extensive analysis. This process is probably the most comprehensive in the world and certainly greater than for many household products.”

Institute of Groundsmanship

Championship • Winner: Swansea City • Highly Commended: Aston Villa • Highly Commended: Middlesbrough League One • Winner: Bristol Rovers • Highly Commended: Doncaster Rovers • Highly Commended: Sunderland • Highly Commended: Wycombe Wanderers League Two • Winner: Swindon Town • Highly Commended: Carlisle United • Highly Commended: MK Dons THE GROUNDSMAN 7



MOVERS & SHAKERS Meet the people taking on new challenges in the industry



SALLY MUNDAY, THE current chief executive of England and GB Hockey, has been appointed CEO of UK Sport. She joins the nation’s high-performance sports agency after having overseen a golden era for the sport of hockey. During her tenure, Team GB women secured their first ever Olympic title at the Rio 2016 Games, while the men’s team finished fourth at London 2012, their best Olympic Games finish in a quarter of a century. Munday will take up her role in the autumn.

STRI GROUP HAS appointed Gary Smith as an agronomic consultant, based in its Scottish office. Smith has worked in the turf industry for more than 25 years, mainly in a professional technical support role, including various new product launches in the chemical, nutrition and biotech industries. Until recently he was employed by Symbio UK and previously at Agrovista UK and Scott’s UK (now ICL) for 14 years.



Sally Munday



Scott Hawkins

MTD SPECIALTY TURF Products has announced the appointment of Scott Hawkins as territory sales manager for the south east. Scott joins MTD on the back of two years as football & cricket head groundsman at the La Manga Club in Spain. Prior to this, Scott worked at Fenner’s Cricket Ground for the University of Cambridge and began his career at Essex County Cricket Club.



ADRIAN WINNETT HAS been elected president of the AEA, the organisation for machinery manufacturers and importers. Speaking at the group’s annual conference, Winnett, the MD of Argo Tractors, said the industry needs to find ways to retain and attract young talent. “It is a terrible shame that beyond our own circle neither the words ‘agriculture’ nor ‘engineering’ resonate in terms of a career choice with the majority of young people,” he said. “We must do our bit to help change those perceptions if we are to capitalise on the wealth of talent that, at present, is attracted to other industries and commercial sectors.”


Adrian Winnett

Gary Smith


PHIL BALDOCK HAS joined Rigby Taylor’s northern team of area technical managers. He brings a wealth of Phil Baldock practical experience to the role, having worked in greenkeeping for a number of clubs including Foxhills Country Club, Hankley Common, Royal Portrush and Ganton. Phil has won the Shell ‘Best of Better Britain’ Conservation Award for his sand dune conservation and has staged Curtis Cup, Walker Cup and Brabazon Trophy events.




SEARCH FOR BEST PARK UK-WIDE GREEN space charity, Fields in Trust, has launched a campaign to find the UK’s best park, as voted by the public. This unique award is open to all public green spaces across the UK through a simple online nomination. Perhaps your local park is great for a Sunday afternoon stroll, your neighbourhood playground is a hive of children’s activity, or a nature reserve provides a stressfree space to relax – this is your chance to help your favourite space gain the recognition it deserves. Nominations are open now until 1st July at


SEED FIRMS MERGE DLF SEEDS HAS reached an agreement to acquire PGG Wrightson Seeds. DLF is a leading seed player in the northern hemisphere, and PGG occupies a similar position in the south, so the combined business is seen as a significant strategic leap towards a global presence. DLF chief executive Truels Damsgaard said: “To stay ahead of the competition, it is of utmost importance to gain scale in your business, to support biotechnology while minimising timescales and risk.”


REESINK DEAL REESINK TURFCARE HAS secured the UK distribution rights for Core Solutions, a core collecting blade attachment from US-based Nordic Plow. Designed for sports surfaces, the attachment fits onto all brands and models of aeration equipment and bunker rakes, including the Toro ProCore 648 and 864 and Toro SandPro.


e e en re re nited it t e nso es t dor o er


Celebrating 60th anniversary of epic lawnmower challenge

FIVE FORMER STUDENTS who drove a Ransomes Matador mower nonstop from Edinburgh to London’s Hyde Park in 1959 have reunited to commemorate their epic journey. Tom Hudson, Mike Smith, Mike Savage, Hugh Tansley and John Wilson, who were all apprentices at the De Havilland Aircraft Company and day-release students at Hatfield

Technical College, hatched the plot, known as Operation Matador, 60 years ago to test the reliability of small petrol engines. The mower, modified with a larger sump to provide enough lubrication for the 400-mile trip, was parked on the lawn at the university to greet the intrepid Operation Matador team as they arrived.


GORDON ‘FRED’ NEATE READING FC HAS paid tribute to Gordon ‘Fred’ Neate, the former player and groundsman who has died aged 78. Neate arrived at Elm Park as a 15-year-old apprentice in 1956 and served the club for 53 years before retiring in 2009. He turned professional in 1958 but his career was hampered by injuries and he was forced to retire in 1966 when he was just 25. He was offered the post of groundsman by Reading chairman Alf Smith and continued in the role when the Royals moved to the Madejski Stadium in 1998. A club statement read: “Gordon always liked a laugh, a chat and a friendly word with the fans – except when they got on his pitch! We extend our heartfelt condolences to Gordon’s family.”

ANDREW RODWELL SCH FOUNDER AND former MD Andrew Rodwell has passed away after a short illness, aged 80. Due to health concerns, in December 2018 Andrew and his family had decided to hand over the running of SCH to two of his longterm employees, John Free and Ian Holder. In a statement, the firm said: “SCH had been Andrew’s passion for more than 30 years, and his hard work has put the company’s future on a successful trajectory. We will continue to trade as normal, so that his legacy is maintained.”


S H OWC A S E Discover the latest surface maintenance tools on page 39

Valdor Flex is a re e er ent herbicide

Rotary blades, a hedge trimmer, a new herbicide and a smart app



Genuine Toro rotary blades mean less downtime and better results


WE OFTEN TALK about the need to have a good quality mower but the parts you put in it are just as important. Maintenance best practice includes checking all blades to ensure they are not twisted or bent as they require more horsepower to operate, damage the turf, create vibration and noise, and shorten spindle life. Best suited to a grounds environment are the ‘No Sail’ (flat)

blade as it’s particularly effective for areas that are not mowed as regularly, making quick work of cutting down weeds. The ‘Atomic Sail’ works well later in the season for mulching up leaves or for use with a recycling deck to mulch the grass. Toro rotary blades are designed to work harder for longer, reducing the risk of wear and breakages.


battery trimmer is small, lightweight and yet packs the power of a petrol trimmer. Low noise, low vibration operation and zero emissions add to the already convincing case for using battery power. There’s no more cold starting, the trimmer is clean to use and store, and it requires minimal maintenance. t co es it it i ion battery, which can also be used with ot er c o rod cts in t e r n e


e tter o er ted Echo hedge trimmer

Run time is 30 minutes and it takes just 30 minutes for a full recharge. The trimmer features a brushless motor and an ergonomic handle design.

BAYER HAS BROUGHT a new residual re e er ence er icide to t e market. Valdor Flex contains two active ingredients that prevent the emergence of a broad spectrum of weeds for up to four months. The herbicide provides good control of numerous weeds, while the two active ingredients, diflufenican and iodos ron et sodi e to minimise the risk of resistance with two different modes of action. Valdor Flex can be used as a standalone application on bare ground before weed emergence. If weeds are already present it can be mixed with glyphosate. www.



SYNTHETIC SPORTS SURFACE specialist Replay Maintenance has launched an app to simplify the process of repairing, maintaining and managing multi-sports assets worldwide. Passport365 is a mobile application that enables grounds maintenance teams across the world to book in jobs, record their daily activity and upload images from the sites they manage – it can be viewed by asset managers in head offices across the globe in real time. Managing director Garry Martin said: “Having all of the information about any one site, in one place and accessible on the go, will put our clients back in control of the assets they manage and will eliminate the need for paperwork, which can soon pile up.” www.passport


The new registration process will improve the visitor experience


By Chris Bennett SALTEX press officer

SALTEX 2019 REGISTRATION OPENS THIS MONTH A new registration process will get this year’s SALTEX off to a smooth start for the thousands of visitors


EGISTRATION FOR EUROPE’S largest annual groundscare exhibition SALTEX 2019 is set to open this month 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 and 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 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 10 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. This year the show floor will be bursting with everything visitors need to increase their efficiency and improve operations – and attendees can expect features such as: NEW! Eco Village – live demonstrations purely dedicated to environmentallyfriendly products. Learning LIVE – SALTEX’s world-class free educational programme.

Pathology and Soil Science LIVE – a look in detail at the symptoms of turf grass fungal disease problems. SALTEX Innovation Award – celebrating the very best in new groundscare technology. Ask the Expert – free face-to-face turf care 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 mobile 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 30-31 October. For more information visit Follow SALTEX on Twitter @IOG_SALTEX and Facebook


With investment and training the Mudeford Phoenix pitch is looking better than ever

NEW RESULTS AT MUDEFORD PHOENIX FC Groundsman Steve Berry has achieved back-to-back wins as Hampshire’s Groundsman of the Year – thanks to pitch improvements and funding for new equipment By Darren Symonds Regional pitch advisor


aving been unsuccessful in the 2016/17 Hampshire Groundsman of the Year competition, Steve Berry, head groundsman at Mudeford Phoenix FC’s East Christchurch Sports and Social Club, decided to do something about it – by beginning a journey of improving his pitches and himself as a groundsman. He called on the help of The Football Association’s Pitch Improvement Programme (PIP) and the IOG-led Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme (GaNTIP). Steve contacted Hampshire FA to arrange a PIP/GaNTIP visit in April 2017, when he received recommendations for improvement

Steve (second from right) receiving his Groundsman of the Year award


“We can now maintain our grounds to the highest standards. All the players stand to gain from the better-quality pitches” and potential avenues for funding for muchneeded machinery. In April 2018, GaNTIP’s update visit revealed that a number of recommendations had been followed at the ground, which accommodates seven girls’ teams, one ladies’ team and one men’s team: • Procurement of new machinery – a Kubota L1361 tractor and multi-tool attachment, part funded by the FA • Improved, regular mowing regime, keeping the sward at 30mm • Regular brushing, slitting, grooming and light rolling • Improved security to prevent damage from

dog walkers and wildlife • Improved aeration • Improved presentation, including better grass coverage and plant health. During this time, Steve also joined the IOG and has attended an evening workshop and an IOG Level 1 Winter Pitch Maintenance course. He also became part of the matchday staff at AFC Bournemouth. His achievements with the pitches prompted his nomination for the 2017/18 Groundsman of the Year award – which he won – and he went on to become runner up in the national finals. Now, this year, he has again won the Hampshire award and, again, is in the national finals. Others have commented on the improvements to the pitches, including Frank Hunt, the chairman of Mudeford Phoenix Girls’ FC. He said: “The funding has been a fantastic boost for us. Not only has it given Steve the biggest smile in Christchurch, but we can now also maintain our grounds to the highest standards. All the players stand to gain from the better-quality pitches.”


Visit for more details about GaNTIP


John received a City & Guilds Medal for Excellence Award – one of 78 medals issued to over 1,800,000 candidates worldwide





THE WRIGHT STUFF Southampton FC’s stadium head groundsman John Wright has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the industry, but his impressive journey was interrupted by a life-threatening accident...


road traffic accident that left John Wright with a multitude of life-threatening injuries proved a watershed in his outlook on life – and on his career and work. “There must have been someone looking over me,” he says, “and during the 10 months I spent recovering and learning to walk again, I realised that life is short. I decided then that I would always make the most of every opportunity and be the best I could at what I did. In terms of my groundscare career, I was determined to succeed and surpass expectations of what was expected of me. I aimed to continually

push to learn as much as I could about every aspect of the industry in order to progress myself.” It is a mentality which, in the 10 years since the accident, has seen John, now 26 years of age, steadily progress up the career ladder. After spending seven years at Coventry City FC, in 2015 and aged 23 he was appointed stadium head groundsman for The Saints at Southampton FC’s St Mary’s Stadium. This club is renowned for its youth development, John points out. His steely determination has, he says, also been ‘shaped and guided’ by a number of influential groundsmen “who I’ve been fortunate enough to work with”. These

ENCOURAGING YOUNG PEOPLE INTO THE INDUSTRY John says education is key to getting more youngsters into groundscare... “I wouldn’t have had a clue about the industry, let alone a career in it, if I hadn’t seen the greenkeepers at my local golf club,” says John. “I hope that by joining the IOG Young Board I can help get the message out to young people in schools and colleges that there is an extensive education programme, including opportunities for degrees, available in the groundscare industry. “I’d like to build on the good work already done by the Young IOG by encouraging IOG members to visit schools and colleges and by using promotional videos and issuing social media messages to the target groups.”

By Colin Hoskins Features editor

include John Ledwidge and Julien Morris at Coventry City FC’s academy ground and stadium, and Andy Gray at Southampton FC. “I am lucky enough to say that these guys have always encouraged me and, in more than many ways, have been my mentors on an exciting journey.”


A career in turf care was not, however, his first choice. “I never really had any interest in school work and wasn’t academically gifted unless I found something that stimulated me or that I really enjoyed,” he reveals. “I’ve always been a hands-on person and I love being outside. I left school with no idea of what to do but with dreams of being a professional golfer. I spent a couple of months on the local course playing 36 holes a day. That career choice didn’t work out, but seeing the greenkeepers at work, and needing something to do, I volunteered to help. I immediately found something that I engaged with, thoroughly enjoyed and became passionate about. The greenkeepers gave me an excellent eyeopener to the industry and the tasks, processes and procedures required. “After presenting my CV to every local [Warwickshire] golf club in the hope of securing a new-found opportunity on an THE GROUNDSMAN 17


MACHINERY MATTERS The St Mary’s grounds team has a range of machinery and equipment at its disposal, including: • Three Dennis G760 cylinder mowers • Two 34in Infinicut electric/ hybrid mowers • Four KAAZ rotary mowers • Toro Pro-Core aerator • Rigby Taylor iGO line marker • Martin Lishman chemical sprayer • Two TYM tractors (T503 and T293HST).

Southampton FC’s St Mary’s stadium

“My experiences at Coventry stood me in good stead for the role at Southampton, where I manage two excellent fulltime staff” apprenticeship, nothing happened. Then, out of the blue, the opportunity arose to become an apprentice at Coventry City FC. From then on I’ve loved every minute of it!”


Progressing through the Coventry FC grounds team ranks to qualified groundsman, senior groundsman and head groundsman at the academy ground then, by necessity, John’s experience expanded to also embrace many management aspects including: All aspects of budgeting People management Drawing up risk assessments, hazard identification, COSHH assessments and safe working procedures, and ensuring that all control and prevention documentation is in place and up to date Machinery maintenance and replacement Supplier and representatives relations Attending meetings with Board members from three different organisations and justify funding and resources. “It was a period when, at such a young age, I gained invaluable experience and life 18 THE GROUNDSMAN June 2019

lessons, and it is a time, although stressful, that I am extremely grateful for.”


While gaining his Level 3 in Sports Turf Management John also earnt a City & Guilds Medal for Excellence Award – one of 78 medals issued to over 1,800,000 candidates worldwide and the first Medal for Excellence award for the Institute of Groundsmanship. This, as well as being appointed at such a young age as stadium head groundsman at St Mary’s, and in 2018 winning the IOG Rigby Taylor/Top Green award for Young Grounds Person of the Year, has clearly not gone to his head or affected his thirst for knowledge and his enthusiasm for turf care. “My experiences at Coventry stood me in good stead for the role at Southampton, where I manage two excellent full-time staff – Danny Silvestri and Brendon Gough – and 17 totally dedicated and hardworking match-day casuals, though I must admit that progressing from managing a small team [at Coventry] to being responsible for the management, health, safety, wellbeing, training and development of a large group was initially quite a challenge. But I’ve found that communication and enthusiasm is a key factor in successful man-management; I try to maintain regular one-to-one meetings with my team members – ensuring they feel respected – and WhatsApp messaging is a boon for keeping in touch with the casual team.” Conscious of the demands placed on the St Mary’s grounds team due to the everpresent TV cameras and global audiences for Premier League football, John says

“everything has to be spot on for every game”. His pitch-care regime on the new hybrid surface – installed by SIS Pitches for the start of the 2018/19 season – certainly pays dividends. The usual maintenance and renovation processes are employed on a pitch that is over seeded (at 50g/m2) with Rigby Taylor’s R140 tetraploid and diploid perennial ryegrass blend and kept at 24mm high all year round. John says he uses a “basic” fertiliser package (of Rigby Taylor slow- and quick-release products, plus some Headland Amenity liquids) “which we trickle feed, little and often”. Importantly, he adds: “Andy especially has shown me that sometimes ‘less can mean more’ and that, for example, there’s no need to cut the pitch every day; sometimes it is best left to recover. “I’ve learned a tremendous amount from Andy and the guys here, with so many constructive experiences on and off the pitch. And I’m learning something new every day – will we ever know everything?” “I’d like to think that when Andy interviewed me for the role, he appreciated my level of determination,” John reflects. And it’s true, John always has an eye on the future: “I am currently completing a Level 5 course in Operations/Department Management. My aim is to eventually become a respected grounds manager, ideally at one of Europe’s high-profile clubs – ideally a Champions League venue or a stadium where I could make a big difference,” he says. Nominations are now open for this year’s IOG Industry Awards. Visit to find out more



THANKS, EDDIE, FOR EVERYTHING Head groundsman of the All England Lawn Tennis Club for 22 years, Eddie Seaward, passed away on 12 May 2019, aged 75. Here, we look back on the life and times of this doyen of the groundscare and fine turf industry, and express thanks for everything Eddie has done


By Colin Hoskins Features editor



”There is actually nothing to be afraid of, but you must have support from your club and team members, adequate and appropriate training… and an understanding wife”

As head groundsman at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Eddie’s contributions to international tournaments, such as Wimbledon, were huge


ddie Seaward once said that if anyone had told him what his role in groundsmanship would have evolved into – man-manager, communicator and business/ finance practitioner, as well as turf-science professional – he probably would have never entered the industry! But for more than two decades prior to retirement, his job as head groundsman at the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) enabled Eddie to take the achievements and expertise of grounds professionals to a global audience. As the world’s media looked on, his presence in front of the TV cameras, on the radio and in the national press during the Wimbledon Championships did so much to boost the recognition of his fellow

professionals and of the industry as whole. Indeed, his work at Wimbledon also made him a ‘must-have’ speaker at numerous industry-focused conferences in countries such as the USA, Australia, Portugal and Holland, as well as in the UK. Eddie was always willing to stop and chat and, if asked, offer advice. It was this friendly and open demeanour that endeared him to so many people over the years. Apart from a slight hiccup at the start of his career when, as a 15-year-old joining the grounds team at an independent boarding school, he said he became disillusioned with the job and, for a moment at least, seriously considered a role in retail. But Eddie went on to establish an enviable reputation as a renowned grounds professional. At 24 years of age he became head groundsman of the Civil Service Sports Ground in Portsmouth then, in 1978, an instructor in groundscare at a community school in Berkshire. After 18 months, he was appointed head groundsman at the Recreational Society Sports Ground at Aldermaston, then he joined the AELTC in 1990. He retired as AELTC head groundsman in August 2012.


Highlights during his time at Wimbledon most notably included his involvement in the construction of the new No 1 court and the redevelopment of the Centre Court with its retractable roof – for which in 2008 he was awarded an MBE for services to sport. But it was in Eddie’s year of his retirement that the AELTC hosted the 2012 Olympic tennis tournament, which started just 20 days after the Championships. It was a massive challenge for Eddie and his team; Neil Stubley (Eddie’s successor) took charge of the courts for the Championships while Eddie focused on the 12 courts for the Olympics. The results achieved were a testament to the great man himself and the whole of the Wimbledon team.

Eddie always strove to maintain the high standards that have set Wimbledon’s playing surfaces apart. Years of dedicated hard work and deeply involved research and development were invested by him and his team in close collaboration with industry experts to make the AELTC’s grass tennis courts the best in the world.


In addition to man-management skills, Eddie said most business skills were needed for the role, as well as turf culture expertise, of course. The grass was just one aspect of the job, he said, which was also as much about building relationships with people and departments, and taking care of the needs of members. People tend to forget that the AELTC is open all year-round, he said. Eddie agreed that modern-day turf care is certainly a science: “There is a need to understand the chemistry of soil and grass, and the interaction between the two, if we are to make improvements,” he said. The thought of having to demonstrate turf-culture expertise as well as manmanagement, communication and business skills would have made Eddie run a mile when he started his career, he has reflected. “However, there is actually nothing to be afraid of, but you must have support from your club and team members, adequate and appropriate training… and an understanding wife,” he once said. Upon retirement in 2012 – the year he received the IOG Lifetime Achievement Award – Eddie intended to ‘occupy’ himself by devoting more time to his roles with Myerscough College (of which he was a fellow) and the Land Drainage Contractors Association (patron), as well as the IOG. He had been an IOG member for more than 50 years and in 2009 was appointed patron and made a fellow member. Sadly, his plans for more extensive activities with these associations were to be thwarted by illness. Rest in peace Eddie. THE GROUNDSMAN 21


From left: Callum McMillan, Jim Dawson, Alex Latto and Joanne Curran




By Greg Rhodes Feature writer


CODE OF CONDUCT Excellence is the only level of provision BT Murrayfield’s IOG award-winning rugby turf care team understands


ilver Saturday at Scottish Rugby’s home, BT Murrayfield stadium, saw the men’s and women’s grassroots game culminate in six finals across its pitches. Testimony to Scottish Rugby’s proud claim to have one of the finest pitches in the UK, the April-end action day was business as usual for head groundsman Jim Dawson and his five-strong team. Everything from grassroots schools rugby through to domestic cup finals and international fixtures were staged at the iconic stadium during the 2017/18 season. Whatever the level of competition though, the groundscare team delivers matchless provision and as proof, three years on from its last IOG award accolade, it is again celebrating the mark of excellence bestowed on it by industry peers – this time the Kubota Professional Rugby Football Union Grounds Team of the Year Award. After landing two IOG awards in 2015 – Jim was named the Alex R Millar Groundsman’s Groundsman of the Year and he and his team also collected the Rugby Union Grounds Team of the Year – was it easier in 2018? “We’re old hands at this,” says Jim, “but were still white as a sheet and terrified on the night as we were up against some tough competition.” The 183 hours of use that the International Desso GrassMaster stadium pitch withstood across amateur, professional and international competitions last season were

“We didn’t need any special pre-match preparations… the pitch is so resilient”

set to rise further, to 235 hours this year, and intensity levels apply ever more pressure to deliver the consistently high quality that players expect. “Silver Saturday was a hectic day, with rugby finals from 10am to 8pm,” says Alex Latto, assistant head groundsman, who’s in charge of the stadium surface, “but we didn’t need any special pre-match preparations – just divoting between games – as the pitch is so resilient.” This month (June) the Spice Girls are due to play there to an audience expected to top 50,000, with 20,000 audience members on the pitch. “The contractor and house staff will strip off the surface and kill the turf to prepare for the decking laid over the pitch, and after the event we will re-sow with diploid seed – overseeding with tetraploid in winter,” Alex explains.


Jim carries the air of unshakeability, a quality vital in this year-round cauldron of activity on- and off-pitch. Probably one of his toughest tasks fell to him in 2016 – recruiting a new groundsperson. The new recruit was Joanne Curran, who arrived from a horticultural position at Edinburgh Zoo. “We had no notion that we wanted to take on a woman,” he remembers, “but now Joanne’s on the team, we can see how her presence improves the dynamic.” She’s not the first female in turf care at BT Murrayfield. Heather McKinnan, who later moved to Edinburgh’s Oriam national performance centre for sport, was there in the 1990s. Jim says that Joanne is the perfect fit and pulls her weight physically: “We share the same humour,” he says. “Joanne does have her own changing room but, apart from that, there’s no concessions. Everyone is equal. We don’t

MACHINERY MATTERS MT Murrayfield turf care equipment includes: • Manitou forklift • Three Dennis G860 mowers • Three Allett RM34 mowers • Ransomes Jacobsen Tri-King ride-on mower • Three Ransomes Jacobsen Parkway ride-on mowers • Ransomes Jacobsen Spider • New Holland Boomer 25 compact tractor • Iseki 325 compact tractor • Iseki 545 tractor • Three Stihl leafblowers • Stihl strimmer • Husqvarna strimmer • Two Ezgo buggies, flatbed buggy and medical buggy (for carrying off injured players) • Cushman blue flatbed buggy • Three Flymos • Hako road sweeper • Raycam UniRake, with four independently controlled wheels • Hardy 6m boom sprayer • Toro ProCore • Aera tractor-mounted seeder • Wiedenmann Terra Spike Testing the pitch with the Clegg Impact Hammer THE GROUNDSMAN 23

Photos: Kenny Scott, facilities manager, BT Murray�eld


Alex Latto with the ProCore

“Sustainability is very much in mind when we fix a fresh programme” even think about it. Joanne shares all the jobs, however physical.” The sixth team member is Patrick Ferrie, head groundsman at Glasgow Warriors’ Scotstoun Stadium (see pages 26-28) and himself an IOG award-winner in 2018. “I interviewed him for the post here but we knew he was perfect for the Scotstoun position,” Alex recalls. “Paddy runs a superdetailed maintenance programme and is pushing the boundaries of artificial turf care.” Jim adds: “He is usually here helping us prepare for international matches.”


The three washed-fibresand back pitches behind the stadium bowl take the bulk of training. Pitches 1 and 2, which host elite platforms, were stripped off several years ago. Pitch 3 is dedicated to community rugby, as is the 10-year-old 3G area. The grass pitches also serve as the team’s test lab. “Alex is passionate about new products and practices, and is keen to try new things,” Jim explains. “I’m from the old school, but know that we have to keep advancing as science takes a greater role.” Have the years since their last IOG honour seen many changes in turf care? “Loss of many fungicides is probably the biggest one,” Jim says, “and the drive to sustainability. Traditional resources such as sand and fertilisers will not last forever.” Alex adds: “We adopt a more biological approach now. Reducing fungicides use will be forced 24 THE GROUNDSMAN June 2019

MEET THE TEAM Jim Dawson, 47, in post eight-and-a-half years. Head groundsman at Falkirk FC for over 16 years before that, and a greenkeeper on the Isle of Bute. Alex Latto, 35, in post sevenand-a-half years. Formerly Raith Rovers FC’s head groundsman, then selfemployed. “I wanted to do something for myself so bought a domestic lawncare franchise. I also helped Jim pre-matches, before coming here in 2011.”

on us eventually so we’ve addressed the issue. Training pitches 1, 2 and 3 have been fungicide-free for four years now.” Fertiliser applications have also dropped dramatically – from eight, to six to three annually, “and we’re going for zero,” Jim confirms. “Sustainability is very much in mind when we fix a fresh maintenance programme.” The team applies compost teas monthly across the BT Murrayfield estate using a proprietary programme. The training ground mainstay for four years, Alex was looking for a move up. “Taking control of the stadium surface was the only way I could give him more responsibility,” Jim explains. Alex adds: “Yes, I’m ambitious but happy in my job.”

Callum McMillan, 25, joined straight from school and attended college to gain turf care qualifications. Joanne Curran, 31, has been in post for three years. Previously part of Edinburgh Zoo’s maintenance team. Jason Tilford, 47, (not pictured) has spent 19 years as a BT Murrayfield groundsman, before that he worked in the stadium’s security gatehouse.


Communicating with club coaches and the national ones helping Scotland prepare for the three national fixtures staged at the bowl can prove a tad prickly, Jim admits. “I’m the big bad bear who has to ensure we maintain a balance of wear across the pitch. ‘Use all the surface for the captain’s runs on Fridays before games, not just a bit of it’, I tell them.” Speaking of change, Edinburgh Rugby’s 7,800-capacity ‘mini-Murrayfield’, due to rise around a new 3G pitch behind the bowl for this coming season, will give the Pro 14 club its own identity and home, after years of using temporary sites, including Meadowbank Stadium and Myreside. High-profile clashes will still be staged in the 1995 original stadium, reportedly, but one of the training pitches will make way for the fresh facility, with grass pitches at nearby Roseburn Park planned to be upgraded. Enjoying a 10-year partnership with a major machinery supplier would suggest the groundscare team is on easy street when seeking turf maintenance money. Not

necessarily, Jim counters. “True, we don’t get rebuffed on much but we may be the victim of our own success. If you’re doing this well without something, why do you need to buy it? “We have a highly skilled team here with plenty of practical experience,” Jim says, “but we’re always looking for that 100 per cent result.” Alex adds: “Perfection is a bus you’ll never catch. That’s groundsmen: never truly happy – always trying to improve and meet fresh challenges.” Turn to page 26 for an insight into artificial pitch maintenance at Scotstoun Stadium



Paddy brushes the pitch after every 15 to 20 hours’ play, usually spending up to three hours moving across the pitch in di�erent directions


By Greg Rhodes Feature writer

RAISING THE BAR IOG award-winning Patrick ‘Paddy’ Ferrie is taking artificial turf maintenance to new heights at the Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow





reenkeeper Paddy Ferrie had been in post at Bishopbriggs Golf Club, Glasgow, for just a month before receiving the phone call that changed his career. “I’d been interviewed for a groundsman’s position at BT Murrayfield,” recalls the 29-year-old, “but just missed out. A fortnight later, Garry Blackadder, head of stadium and estates at BT Murrayfield, called to say I’d landed the Glasgow Scotstoun Stadium job.” The decision proved to be a decisive one for Paddy, and for the BT Murrayfield team, which also runs the turf care contract for Scotstoun. In September 2016, just before Paddy arrived, the stadium had installed a GreenFields MX Trimension 3G pitch for rugby union Glasgow Warriors to train and compete on. (The Warriors is one of two professional rugby teams in Scotland and is owned by Scottish Rugby, the country’s governing body for the sport.) Two years later, Paddy was standing in front of his peers at the IOG Awards, receiving the accolade of the SCH (Supplies) Best Managed Artificial Surface of the Year. His journey from stadium new boy to peerless provider of a supreme 3G sports surface is one of a man made for the role. Surrounded by an eight-lane athletics track used constantly by local clubs, the stadium pitch is maintained solely for Warriors’ rugby training and competitive games. Paddy works closely with Glasgow Life – the sport and leisure arm of site owner Glasgow City Council – to manage the relationship between the Warriors and the athletics clubs which use the track and adjoining facilities. “I put in plenty of hours trying to ensure everything runs smoothly,” he says. “I do the hours the job demands. Early starts and late finishes are par for the course when you


work at a facility this size, but I enjoy every minute of it. I usually arrive at 7am to brush the pitch before the training schedule begins around 9.45am. Between 5pm and 9pm, the stadium is full of athletes.”


Working such long days, it’s a wonder that Paddy doesn’t get lonely, but when asked, he replies: “I never have time. There’s too much to do – always plenty going on every day. The Warriors backroom team, who are based at the stadium, are a friendly bunch. I’m also very fortunate to be able to tap into the knowledge of our pitch consultant Bill Gillespie (Professional Sportsturf Design) and Ian Maclachlan (Fairways), whose knowledge was a massive help to me in the early part of my time here,” he says. Absence of community use gives Paddy an added advantage in minimising wear of the 3G system, however patterns of play and training regimes do present issues. “Coaches and athletes have their preferred area for setting up drills (usually the area closest to the tunnel entrance) causing fibres to flatten and fold over, making them shiny. These are the areas that sometimes need extra work to bring the fibres upright again.”

Paddy began working life at Westerwood Golf Club, Cumbernauld, where he completed his greenkeeping apprenticeship before becomming assistant. This was followed by a two-and-a-half-year spell as assistant (and deputy for the last six months). In his hometown of Glasgow, living with partner Stephanie and their three children, Paddy worked for Amey, which held the Scottish schools grounds maintenance contract. Then he moved to Bishopbriggs Golf Club, and got that all-important phone call...

“Data on crumb temperature and the level of infill is also gathered and shared with the five rugby coaches” The Clegg hammer impact reader comes out three times a week to assess surface firmness – “not commonly applied to these pitches but it works well for us,” says Paddy. “We can pass on the data gathered to our strength and conditioning team and avoid training in areas where it may be too firm at the time of the reading.” Data on crumb temperature and the level of infill is also gathered and shared with the five rugby coaches and the three physiotherapists. “The freezing cold weather of last year’s Beast from the East was new to us (as it was for others). The day before the heavy snow, I had used the harrow to keep the crumb loose. Next day, myself and the BT Murrayfield team removed eight tonnes of frozen crumb (which found a new application at local golf courses) in time for the morning training session after we topped up the layer with fresh material.” Paddy brushes after every 15 to 20 hours’ play, usually spending up to three hours moving across the pitch in different directions “as pile could become unidirectional. Of the 60mm total pile height, some 38mm is the rubber crumb layer, leaving 22mm free pile, so that could well occur”. He adds: “I work to a pattern, in the way greenkeepers mow greens: up, down, left and right, corner to corner.” THE GROUNDSMAN 27


Getting the best out of these surfaces is about maintaining them thoroughly and professionally

“Post-match litter can be an issue, particularly the black tape TV crews use to join cables together. It blows all over the stadium” When conditions dictate, the VertiClean and power brush comes out to sweep up rubber crumb dust into a dimple tray, sieve then collect it for disposal. “Lower-intensity use during the week doesn’t warrant me running the machine more than monthly,” he says. A local contractor (Malcolm Group) deep-cleans the pitch during end-of-season renovations. Post-match litter can be an issue though, “particularly the black tape TV crews use to join cables together. It blows all over the stadium.”


The pitch has a Perrot Rain Cannon irrigation network of six heads, two in each touchline and one at the back of each dead ball area, controlled with a receiver attached to the side of the pipework. “I used to water 90 minutes before a game, especially in warm weather,” Paddy recalls, “as the rubber crumb can heat up and become uncomfortable to fall on. Our equipment recorded 55°C in the surface on one of the hottest days last year so we now have a programme in place, from 6am onwards, to water every hour up to 90 minutes before kick-off to minimise risk of abrasion.” As more rugby clubs – such as Saracens, Newcastle Falcons, Cardiff Blues and Munster – commit to 3G, those without them strive to ensure they are not compromised by an unfamiliar playing 28 THE GROUNDSMAN June 2019

surface, Paddy points out. “Players can take a while to grow used to ball bounce, for example, and some reports of abrasion make them aware of potential outcomes. That said though, rugby does not want a wet pitch.” Commercial requirements sometimes prevent irrigation, whatever the temperature. “As tournament sponsor, Guinness wanted its Pro 14 logo painted onto the centre of the pitch. It’s big, 10-12ft in diameter, and can make the surface dry, like sandpaper. I couldn’t water, though, as the paint would have run.” Pitch hygiene is another vital element of Paddy’s turf care programme. “It’s a contact sport that can create, blood, sweat and spit, and we see plenty of foxes, pigeons and seagulls, so I disinfect the surface once a month with Artisan, applied with the 300l boom sprayer kept at BT Murrayfield.” Given the lighter use the surface enjoys compared with many a community-based equivalent, and the rigorous maintenance regime he rolls out, Paddy expects up to 15 years from the pitch in his care. But he stresses: “Getting the best out of these surfaces is about maintaining them thoroughly and professionally. You get out of it what you put into it.” Nominations are now open for this year’s IOG Industry Awards. Visit


MACHINERY MATTERS Paddy Ferrie’s must-have equipment includes: • Ransomes Jacobsen TR3 diesel ride-on mower • Iseki TXR237 diesel compact tractor • Wiedenmann Terra Brush • Cushman 4x4 diesel utility vehicle • Charterhouse VertiClean • Stihl backpack leaf blower • Spring tine rake.

PADDY’S TOP TIPS FOR ARTIFICIAL TURF CARE Regular brushing in different directions Daily surface inspections to check seams, etc Regular use of the harrow to reduce compaction Get to know the surface that works for you Ask lots of questions and tap into industry experts’ knowledge to develop yourself Educate users on the work involved in presenting the surface to help them respect it


Forest Green Rovers’ The New Lawn stadium

GREEN, GREEN GRASS The war on waste is intensifying as turf professionals and suppliers engage with global issues

C By Greg Rhodes Feature writer

limate change, sustainability, carbon neutrality and the circular society are issues hitting the headlines. The challenge is to nail down the point at which we engage with them – as organisations and as individuals. The turf care sector is no exception. Development of cultural practices and efforts to limit waste and deal with it sustainably certainly signal engagement, as do advances among manufacturers and suppliers to create and sell products ticking the boxes of a broader lifecycle context. “The sector has to confront some serious issues in the next 10 years,” says soil scientist Alex Vickers, a consultant to the IOG.

“The club works with its supply chain to bulk purchase wherever possible to reduce incoming packaging” 30 THE GROUNDSMAN June 2019

Environmentally sound disposal of general plastic waste, such as old artificial sports carpets, is just one of them, as Alex believes repurposing it for golf club applications is probably a saturated market. “Filtration systems below pitches will be required to catch microplastic particulate matter before it reaches water courses,” he adds. Addressing sustainability, Alex says: “Grasslands typically contain 10-14 per cent carbon in their soils, in contrast to cultivated sites, with 3-4 per cent, so there is a role for grasslands, such as sports pitches, in carbon sequestration. I’d like to see a new, independent lifecycle analysis to give us the big picture.” The natural turf sector has its own issues, he adds, but is changing on sustainability, with “cultural rather than chemical-based practices coming in, alongside use of organic fertilisers”. Washdown areas, for instance, are improving, with excellent examples of pollution prevention systems built in, he notes. “Alongside on-site composting of clippings, and systems to use composting leachate as liquid fertilisers, waste


reduction and reuse of valuable nutrients under this approach offer significant opportunities to increase sustainability of turf management. “Grounds professionals are becoming more aware of the environmental impact of the waste they generate on site and creating inventive, imaginative methods to tackle it,” Alex concludes.


FIFA’s ‘greenest football club in the world’, Forest Green Rovers FC, continues to launch initiatives to keep it at the leading edge of environmental management.

Forest Green Rovers – the ‘greenest’ football club in the world

The world’s first vegan club is awaiting planning permission for its new Eco Park stadium. Made almost entirely from wood, the 5,000-capacity stadium will be in parkland, alongside 500 trees and 1.8km of hedgerows. Head groundsman Adam Witchell is integral to the club’s environmental delivery. Three years in post, the 37-year-old explains how he manages the recycling function: “The stadium and academy pitches generate grass clippings during the season and pitch arisings – clippings and other debris and organic matter that may have collected on the turf – at the end,” he explains. “Typically


we send 11-12 tonnes a year for commercial composting. We are committed to continual improvement and always looking at how our operations impact on the environment.” The organic pitch is made up of grass free from pesticides and herbicides. “We cut with a GPS-directed electric mow-bot lawnmower, powered by solar energy, and try to run as much equipment and machinery on electric from 100 per cent green energy supplier Ecotricity. Turf machinery with recycled components and parts would certainly play a part in future purchases,” he stresses, “if the rest of it is environmentally friendly and safe to use.” Rainwater collected from beneath the pitch is used to irrigate the surface. Adam also collects nettles and comfrey from around the ground and brews it into a ‘tea’ using recycled rainwater before placing the liquor in the brewer to run air through it and spraying onto the pitches as liquid feed. Forest Green is the only club to be certified carbon neutral by the UN, achieving that status based on Scope 1 and 2 emissions. These cover carbon released directly from energy use, such as gas for heating and diesel for team transport, plus grid average data for its electricity. “We actually use a 100 per cent renewable tariff and calculate using methodology from BEIS, which doesn’t account for renewable tariffs,” Adam explains. Unavoidable emissions are offset via UN-based carbon credits. THE GROUNDSMAN 31



sustainability through communications, advocacy and industry projects,” he says. Plastics form a key component of the machinery, helping deliver lighter kit which, in turn, “can reduce fuel consumption and increase payloads or capacity. They can improve durability of exteriors, corrosion and wear applications, while reducing component costs and environmental impact by eliminating paint through moulded-in colour.”


Left: John Deere is using more sustainable materials. Right: Knapsack sprayers are re-used in training

“Filtration systems below pitches will be required to catch microplastic particulate matter before it reaches water courses” “We would like to start incorporating more Scope 3 emissions into our reporting, to take account of areas such as waste management and supply chain-related emissions.” The club is well advanced in reducing its consumption of virgin and single-use materials. “We bulk purchase wherever possible to reduce incoming packaging, and recycling facilities for glass, metal, paper, cardboard, plastic containers and wrap are included at the ground. All our food packaging and disposable cutlery is made from plant-based material, and cooking oil is taken away and converted into biodiesel.” The club, which switched to paper straws in the 2017/2018 season, is also seeking ways to reduce single-use plastic bottles, while waste operator and club partner Grundon is playing its part in helping Forest Green recycle 100 per cent of its waste.


Plastics don’t all have to find their way into waste for reprocessing when their primary use is finished. Take knapsack sprayers: Hozelock’s national account manager Allan Wainwright repurposes old Berthoud and Cooper Pegler ones as training aids when he’s presenting to turf professionals. “I cut away the front of the plastic enclosure to reveal the inner workings,” he explains, “then use the modified units as an educational tool. They also come in handy in our permanent corporate displays.” Allan provides the modified units to pesticide (PA1/PA6A) application 32 THE GROUNDSMAN June 2019

training providers, and recently gained these certificates himself. “If owners and operators understand how knapsack sprayers work, they are better aware of what can go wrong if they do not maintain sprayers regularly and correctly.”


Turf machinery manufacturers are finding novel ways to use recycled materials in new kit and electrical manufacturers are increasingly including recycled material in their products, such as in cable ducting. Last November, John Deere introduced its 2022 sustainability goals. “The goal is to reduce environmental impact, including CO2 emissions, on 90 per cent of new products,” says Jason Wattonville, manager of product sustainability and energy technology. “We also aim to increase our use of sustainable materials by growing remanufactured and rebuild sales by 30 per cent, and by increasing recyclable, renewable and recycled content.” As a member of industry and academic groups such as the Centre for Bioplastics and Biocomposites – a National Science Foundation Industry & University Cooperative Research Centre that focuses on developing high-value biobased products from agricultural and forestry feedstocks – the company is seeking to advance more sustainable materials for use in its products, Jason notes. “Our membership of the Plastics Industry Association sees us working with the full supply chain to drive

Plastics that John Deere uses include polypropylene (PP) polyethylene, polyurethane and sheet-moulded compounds incorporating soy-based resins, nylon, polycarbonate and polyesters. ”We already include recycled plastics in headliners and grilles – for example, the headliners in the new Gator cab (the XUV R Series released in 2018) are made from recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) that originate from recycled soft drink bottles. And the front grill skeletons of our Greeneville product line (including the 100 Series lawn tractors and residential ZTrak mowers) come in a post-industrial PP glass/ talc-filled material, while the hood-hinge part originates from reprocessed nylon.” Meanwhile, the company requires its steel suppliers to include post-consumer recycled content in the product it buys from them. “Steel is used in a high percentage by weight of our machines, resulting in recycled content in most of our products,” he adds.


As recycling and re-use seeps into mainstream practices, the importance of training rises up the agenda. Indeed, the IOG has introduced a Waste Minimisation module as part of its Level 4 qualification. “The 20-hour module is a way to get people to think about resources on site,” explains Chris Gray, IOG learning programme architect, who designs and creates online learning packages. “The idea is to introduce them to waste management and encourage them to question and challenge their own practices.” The module is not merely an end in itself but is intended to act as “a trigger to learn more”, Chris says, while other standalone qualifications are available that focus on engaging with sustainable turf management and adopting a holistic approach to embrace environmental, social and financial factors. For more information about the IOG’s Waste Minimisation training module, email



SCH provides cutting-edge rakes and brushes for sports surface maintenance

ENSURING REAL REWARDS FROM SYNTHETICS Synthetic sports surfaces need regular care and attention using the appropriate maintenance equipment and processes to ensure they stay fit for purpose

A By Ian Holder Director, SCH Supplies

synthetic sports surface can be a challenge to keep in perfect condition. The surface needs to remain level and have a consistent texture to facilitate a true and predictable game. Water has to be able to drain freely, which requires infill materials to be routinely decompacted and evenly distributed. A decompaction rake is designed to carry out routine maintenance on surfaces with a sand- or crumb-filled base. Spring rake tines tease through the surface to remove heavy surface compaction and aid drainage. This is usually followed by a nylon brush, which helps to level and groom the area. Leaves, tree flowers, pine needles and any other debris rapidly rot down forming a drainage-inhibiting ‘skin’ in the surface, which is ideal for growing algae and moss. Keeping debris off the surface is especially crucial during autumn and winter months, as damp conditions exacerbate the problem. A wide brush or a powered sweeper with a collector is essential for keeping this debris at bay.

“Powered brushes significantly reduce the time it takes to maintain a surface”

Powered brushes significantly reduce the time it takes to maintain a surface, and can provide results unachievable with simple manual methods. If a powered brush with a debris collector is used on synthetic surfaces with an infill, a fine mesh grate in the collector is essential. The mesh allows the sand or rubber crumb fill to return to the surface, while catching unwanted debris.


Apply a chemical spray periodically to the surface to help prevent moss, lichen and algae from causing damage. If left to grow, the algae and moss can cause the surface to become slippery, especially when wet. A thorough pressure wash of a hard surface is the most effective method of removing dirt and debris and is essential before a repaint or any repairs. Once the grime has been removed, the surface will provide much better grip.


For more information on SCH Supplies, which manufactures a wide range of artificial surface and natural grass-care systems for pitches and budgets of every size, visit the website at or for a free brochure, email or call 01473 328272. THE GROUNDSMAN 35


New research and development centres will help accelerate Kubota’s product development

STAYING AHEAD OF THE GAME Kubota UK’s Adrian Langmead discusses staying on top of customer demands and apprenticeship schemes


ver the past few years we have seen increasing use, integration and deployment of technology as businesses endeavour to keep ahead of the game in a time of constant change. But how can organisations in the groundscare sector make sure they are adequately supporting their customers’ needs? Two key factors to consider are: future-proofing businesses by focusing on educating the next generation; and impressing new and existing customers with innovative technology and services.


At Kubota, we have identified apprenticeship schemes as a valuable investment. We have been working in partnership with Myerscough College to develop an industryapproved training course to nurture young

groundscare engineers. The end goal is to progress them into positions in UK Kubota dealerships and strengthen the business. The schemes also have a halo effect, creating brand advocates who will always remember where they learnt their skills, knowledge and behaviours.


With new technologies evolving at a rapid pace, it is important for companies to deliver new forms of added value for customers that use artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies in order to accelerate the creation of new business, products and services. Pursuing partnerships in other industries, universities and research institutes helps meet these needs. At present, Kubota is developing and strengthening its research and development resources, both in Japan and internationally,

By Adrian Langmead Business development manager, tractor and groundcare, Kubota UK

to respond to business globalisation and product line expansion in agriculture and construction. Our new innovation centres will allow us to advance our development abilities and respond to changing customer needs and arising issues, such as sustainability. Our first innovation centres will be up and running in June in Japan, and in July in Europe. We also have plans to establish more centres in new regions. Companies will need to pay much closer attention to their customers’ needs to ensure they are keeping up to speed with the changing demands of the industry and future-proofing their business model. It is fundamental that groundscare businesses expand their offerings and are considered as innovators and industry leaders.


Find out more about Kubota at THE GROUNDSMAN 37

The INFINICUT® line of precision mowers was designed to be user-adjustable to match the conditions of any given day. From the dynamic return floating head mechanism to the variable clip speed, height of cut adjustment, moveable bedknife and swappable dual power source, the INFINICUT® provides more functionality than any other pitch mower. Combine that with today’s highly technical approach to pitch construction and unpredictable microclimates, the INFINICUT® ensures a healthy turf while providing an unrivalled quality of cut. Introducing a new Fixed Head option Engineered for flat surfaces, the new fixed head mower provides the same cut quality without sacrificing precision, all at an unmatched value.

Find out more at: @Infinicut

Product showcase


IOG NEWS UPDATES Go to the IOG website



THE PERFECT PAIR c ines n nd eno tor



Superb solutions for synthetic turf GKB MACHINES’ Renovator is adaptable for scarifying hybrid and natural turf pitches. It has five interlocking brushes that can easily be removed and replaced with a set of rotating spring tines. Available in 1.6m and 2m working widths, the circular oscillating movement of the tines removes unwanted material from around plastic fibresh. The GKB Infiller has the ability to efficiently apply several types of infill material – including sand, SBR

rubber, TPE rubber and cork – in two directions and it can be driven in both directions. The Infiller has a precision control valve that can be set from 0-100mm to determine how much material is sprinkled. The flap in the front of the bunker gives you the ability to regulate the amount of sand that is distributed, and there are specially designed agitators in the bunker to break up rubber crumb infill, guaranteeing an even spread pattern.

FOR GROUNDS KEEPERS with a busy schedule and multiple sites to care for, finding multi-purpose machines for turf maintenance can save hours of work. The Multitiner and the Quadraplay from SISIS do just that. The Quadraplay can perform a number of tasks in one pass, with a frame that fits up to four tools such as grooming rakes, slitters, rollers and brushes, which can be fitted in any order. “The Quadraplay is essential for us,” said Cameron Flitter, head groundsman at De Montfort University’s Beaumont Park in Leicester. “You can carry out a number of tasks in just one sweep which saves so much time.” His team also uses a Multitiner, a drum aerator with interchangeable tines to a maximum depth of 100mm. “It only takes an hour to go over the whole pitch, so it’s incredibly quick,” he added.



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o s c

CHARTERHOUSE TURF MACHINERY has a range of units to help grounds staff keep turf in top condition. The Graden CSI enables simultaneous scarifying and backfilling of sand-based grounds

to help manage moisture in the soil, combating moisture and therefore disease. Graham Wallace, of Bransford Golf Club, has recently cut down on fungicide use and has purchased a CSI to take

Institute of Groundsmanship

a proactive approach to managing disease. Where compaction is a problem, the Verti-Quake 2516 can be used with the Verti-Drain. www.charter THE GROUNDSMAN 39




CLEAN SWEEP THE ARTIFICIAL SURFACE Power Brush is a compact walk-behind sweeper suitable for year-round use. Highly manoeuvrable, the sweeper provides quick and effective cleaning wherever it’s needed. The high brush speed and dense quantity of nylon threads makes this machine ideal for artificial and hard surface play areas such as tennis courts. The brush is supplied complete with a collection box. As an optional extra, the collection box can be supplied with a mesh base and removable solid


plate – meaning that the mesh can be utilised when the user wants sand/fill to return to the surface, efficiently ‘sieving’ the debris out.

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Remove stubborn stains with Bourne’s washer service


UNDER PRESSURE DELIVERING 60L OF water per minute at up to 5,000psi and fitted to a 55hp compact tractor, Bourne Amenity’s washer – manned by two operators – promises to remove the most stubborn of stains from any bound or polymeric surface. A high-pressure vacuum pump then sucks the detritus off the surface, separating out the solids from the dirty water. If you have moss on a surface, Bourne will include an application of moss killer, two weeks in advance. With two hand lances fitted to the machine, side rails and corners can be treated with the same pressure as the main track. Washer and vacuum units can also be removed from the machine to treat small areas.





H&I KELLY LANDSCAPE has high profile customers including professional football and rugby clubs, sports arenas, schools and commercial facilities across Dorset, Hampshire and parts of Wiltshire. When the time came to look for a new mower to manage its grass maintenance programme, it reviewed the market to see what existed and kept coming back to MAJOR. “We were looking for longevity, reliability and quality of finish,” explained Chris Kelly. “Our dealer EG Coles, confirmed our gut feel that the MAJOR brand was as good as it gets. It was also well priced and good value for money. We decided on the MAJOR Swift 2.4m

The MAJOR Swift 2.4m mower

model which comes with full-length rollers, front and rear. We took delivery last October and are really impressed. The finish is equal to any cylinder mower – it’s incredible.” The MAJOR Swifts are made of high-performance Strenx 700MC steel and hot-dipped galvanised for increased lifespan. Four rotors with eight blades that overlap by 60cm deliver accurate cutting across the entire width of the machine.

“We look after the pitch for Poole Town FC and the directors have said how good the playing surface is since we began using the MAJOR Swift,” said Chris. “Chelsea FC trained on the pitch before their game with Bournemouth. Some of their team representatives even thought that the grass pitch looked like a 3G surface – that’s an amazing compliment,” he concluded. THE GROUNDSMAN 41





FLEET LINE MARKERS has launched a new eco line-marking machine. The new COG Aline Marker has been designed to be environmentally friendly and eliminate paint wastage. Its bespoke drums can be used repeatedly, saving money and helping the environment by preventing waste. When the drums do eventually reach the end of their reusable life, Fleet will recycle them. The drums’ unique shape and design also means that, during shipping, they are completely stable – with no more than one strap to hold them, this eliminates single-use wrapping and/or plastic pallet covers. Once fitted on the COG Aline Machine, a single COG drum is enough to mark up to six soccer pitches. When the COG drums are empty, Fleet will arrange collection, at no further charge. As well as being environmentally friendly, the COG Line Marking System is an extremely clean and convenient system to use. The COG drum is attached to the COG Aline with ease, making spillages a thing of the past. www.fleetline

Rigby Taylor’s GPSequipped TinyLineMarker


On your marks… LIGHTWEIGHT AND EASY to transport, Rigby Taylor’s TinyLineMarker uses the latest GPS technology with RTK receiver and antenna to connect to global satellites and mobile network connections. It takes pitch-line dimensions from an app and repositions them to best fit a selected site using Google Maps. Once stored, the lines are never lost, even if a pitch is not used for a long period of time. Initial marking of a standard-size football pitch takes less than 20

minutes, including all perimeter lines, penalty boxes, the ‘D’, centre circle, corner angles and penalty spot, and it’s all done with just one touch on the tablet control. Even pitches with fixed post sockets can be marked. Rigby Taylor’s TinyLineMarker can be used to mark football pitches of any length or width, and rugby union and league pitches as well as multi-lane athletic tracks, tennis, lacrosse and American football pitches.


ROYAL RECOGNITION MARKING machinery and equipment manufacturer, Pitchmark, has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade 2019. Pitchmark manufactures and supplies a complete range of line-marking paints, machinery and equipment for all kinds of sports and surfaces.


Line marking is often a strenuous task and the company has shown a winning formula in making the job easier through innovation and solving customer pain points. A GPS line-marking system is a good example of the company’s offerings. “We as a company are very proud to receive the Queen’s Award

for Enterprise,” said founder Mark Rodman. “It is the pinnacle of our achievements and puts the focus on what a small business can achieve in worldwide markets. It also recognises the contribution of our team at Pitchmark and the efforts of our key partners in each overseas territory.”

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Pitchmark’s line-marking equipment in action THE GROUNDSMAN 43





Concentrate Grass Line Marker is extra durable

“The durable paint gives a brilliant white finish and is very water resistant” Transfer Wheel Marking Compound, which produces long-lasting, brilliantwhite lines. The water-resistant formula has high viscosity to help with paint transference and surface adhesion, and can be bought in bulk for better value for money.

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Synthetic Surfaces

MARK HARROD, supplier of sports field equipment, has a range of linemarking paints designed to stand out on any field of play. Concentrate Grass Line Marker is a value-for-money paint that has been formulated for pitches that need frequent remarking. The durable paint gives a brilliant white finish and is very water resistant, so won’t wash off in poor conditions. It can be used in any spray or wheel transfer machine and the operator simply needs to use a different mix depending on the application: for initial pitch marking, a 3:1 ratio of water to paint is used, while for overmarking, a 7:1 ratio is perfect. For grounds teams in a hurry, Mark Harrod also has Ready-To-Use

Synthetic Solutions

Brushing | Cleaning | Decompacting | Regeneration | 01428 661222 44 THE GROUNDSMAN May 2019





GRASSLINE’S TITAN SPRAY line marker has been designed in consultation with professional groundsmen to create a robust, well-balanced machine that offers economical performance and marks even, smooth and consistent lines on turf and hard surfaces. The Titan features twin spray heads so the operator can choose to use single-spray delivery – for a standard, economical finish – or both in one pass. Line width can be adjusted to 50mm, 75mm or 100mm. The 30-litre tank contains an integral mixing system, which means that pre-mixed paint will continue to be mixed before spraying and during breaks in the operation, ensuring an even finish. Pressure can be fine-tuned

The Titan spray line marker from Grassline

“A robust, well-balanced machine that offers economical performance and marks even lines” using the valve to deliver different volumes of paint to the spray head so that, for example, the volume of paint delivered can be reduced for marking hard sports surfaces, playgrounds or car parks. The unit’s pump has a long battery life,

offering a full day of spraying from a single charge, and the battery can be charged either in position or away from the machine. Other features include a galvanised adjustable handle, pneumatic tyres on roller bearing wheels, heavy duty battery, battery charger, 115mm filling filter, and stainless steel spray heads with inline anti-dribble valves and removable nozzles. THE GROUNDSMAN 45



Keep on top of the latest sustainable initiatives page 30


To assist in irrigation management, consider doing a soil moisture deficit chart, combined with your observations of the sward and dryness of the soil profile. This will act as a useful guide and can help towards reducing the costs of water used. Ensure that rink usage is spread sideways on a regular basis and the rinks are also turned 90° daily. Failure to do so will result in ‘runs’ developing, with bowls following the line of the run. Continue to mow regularly and be prepared to raise the height of cut to 6mm, especially in dry weather with strong winds on coastal areas. A good, dry sward of fescue/bent grasses will produce a faster surface when mown at this height, than an annual meadow grass, thatchy sward when mown at 4.5mm. Be careful when scarifying and verticutting at this time of year, as you do not want to stress the plant, reducing its ability to withstand wear.


Besides the continuing preparation of wickets to meet user demands, the square is typically mown twice a week and the outfield once a week. Wickets that had been used and renovated earlier in the season might be able to be re-used again

if they have recovered adequately. If not carried out at the end of June, then July is a good time for a light nitrogen-only fertiliser application to the whole square, as this will help maintain sward strength without encouraging unwanted excessive growth.


If herbicide was applied to control broad/narrow leaved weeds, this should have cleared up the problem. Continue to mow outfield with a cylinder mower at approximately 12mm in height.


The football pitch is mostly establishing itself following the end of season renovation. However, there are a number of tasks that will need attending to. Any thin areas will probably require a light topdressing, of about 1-2kg/m2. Continue mowing regularly. A light nitrogen, usually liquid, fertiliser application may be considered to encourage growth. This fertiliser application would only be given if soil moisture was adequate and there was a suitable means of artificial irrigation.


A very light, fine topdressing to the greens may be considered to maintain even putting surfaces. Disease might be a problem,

especially red thread. Consider a light nitrogen application or a fungicide application. Bunker raking will most likely be on a daily basis. The mowing of fairways may be reduced during the dry summer months as growth slows.


the spring fertiliser application. This may have resulted in nitrogen having been fully utilised by the sward, or even leached away.


Routine maintenance work over the summer months will include: - artificial irrigation will be more frequent to produce a suitable firmness of ground for the day of a race meeting, - a liquid nitrogen fertiliser may be considered for the home straight, show paddock and ornamental lawns around the grandstand area. Alternatively, the whole of the racecourse might be treated to a light nitrogen application, - continue to divot and repair after each meeting, - weed control may be required. Continue to mow regularly, with this operation forming a significant part of total work. Do not neglect mowing on courses rested over the summer.


The pitch establishment should be coming along nicely. Besides artificial irrigation, if required, and light topping of the sward, some additional works may be required, for example: - If any areas did not establish as well as expected then a further overseeding may be required, - A light nitrogen fertiliser application, possibly as a liquid feed, may also be considered. This may be especially prevalent if the weather has been wet since

Constant cutting is advised to thicken up the sward and create effect, also generally cut no lower than 20-25mm as to create cover for play. Irrigate if possible. A fertiliser may be required. For growth and greening up effect, then a 12-0-9 should be used. A longer-lasting but more expensive option is to use a slow release such as 18-5-18+2MgO. Scarify in numerous directions to help remove the poa annua. Overseeding may be required. Try not to cut corners with cost as this will affect the percentage of germination. Make sure markings are bright and consistent. Spray for weeds if required. On the amateur side if a renovation was completed, a light overseed or fertilisation may be needed.


Artificial irrigation will probably be the norm for now, so ensure application is carried out evenly. Check for any blocked or damaged sprinkler heads. Rolling will probably cease, or if rainfall has been fairly regular then it will continue to aid in firming the surface. Continue to use a spiked roller. Consider the use of a water injected aeration machine during the summer. THE GROUNDSMAN 47



o d ertise in t e c ssi ed section of The Groundsman please contact: Lee Morris T: 0203 859 7097 E: lee.morris@



0203 859 7097 THE GROUNDSMAN 49


Young Board members at the event included Anthony Facey from Colchester United, Connor Collins from Swindon Town, and John Wright and Matt Jenkins from Southampton



By Karen Maxwell Managing editor

Year 9 students from schools across Southampton were given practical lessons in groundsmanship during a Schools into Stadia event at Southampton FC last month


rganised by the IOG Young Board of Directors, with invaluable assistance from Saints FC’s grounds manager Andy Gray and stadium head groundsman John Wright, more than 50 students attended the day-long introduction to groundsmanship. The event included knowledge-sharing stations and practical demonstrations both indoors and pitch side, which covered mower maintenance, grass seed varieties, the effects of fertilising, line marking and how stadium lighting rigs encourage grass growth.



The organisers engaged with Saints Foundation community champions who work with the local community, and on this occasion invited students from Cantell School, Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill, Oasis Academy Mayfield, Redbridge Community School, St George’s Catholic School and Woodlands Community College. According to community champion co-ordinator Ben Keen, the event was extremely well received by students and the accompanying champions – most of whom didn’t have any prior knowledge of the skillsets required within sports turf management. “Student feedback was really positive,” said Ben. “They were impressed with the interactive approach, which included hands-on practical opportunities, the references between grounds skills and the school curriculum, and the grounds team members’ relaxed engagement with pupils on each station. “Pupils also had the chance to paint the pitch lines and they loved the experience, particularly as they were given

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“The students were impressed with the interactive approach” responsibility to do this at the stadium before a Premier League fixture. A couple of students are already asking about volunteering opportunities. “We’d love to do this again, maybe with Year 11 pupils next time, as they will be looking at career opportunities after formal education,” he added. IOG Young Board chair Anthony Facey said board members really enjoyed helping Southampton FC pull off a very successful event and wanted to thank Andy Gray for the opportunity. “There are plans afoot to host more of these educational opportunities and we’d love to hear from sporting venues out there that would like to get involved,” he said.


For more information, email Anthony at

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