The Groundsman May 2019

Page 1



MAY 2019 £4.00




Let there be light

The effects of shade on sports turf ryegrass


The IOG Awards 2019 are now open page 6

IN SAFE HANDS Karl McDermott discusses preparations for his first summer at Lord’s



05 Welcome

It’s nomination time!

Weed and pest control, spraying and grass seed page 33

06 Update

The latest groundskeeping news

11 SALTEX news

New Eco Village for SALTEX 2019

12 GaNTIP update

The benefits of better irrigation at Hanwell Town FC

24 Technical update

Understanding how light works

26 Technical update

Fighting pests with nematodes

29 Award sponsor


Training turf technicians

31 In action

Rigby Taylor and Charterhouse Turf Machinery

33 Product showcase

Weed and pest control, spraying and grass seed

43 In action

Cub Cadet and Sherriff Amenity

45 Tools and guidance

Maintenance tips for June

46 Grow with the IOG

Beversbrook’s Matt Richards



Karl McDermott, head groundsman at Lord’s Cricket Ground

FEATURES 14 Special report

Preparing Lord’s for the busy summer schedule

18 Special report

Multi-use St James’ Park

20 Best practice

The award-winning team at Lingfield Park Racecourse




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



Karen Maxwell Managing editor

It’s nomination time! Bored of Brexit? Want a distraction? Then get your thinking caps on and nominate the great and the good in our industry who deserve recognition, reward and acknowledgement with an IOG Industry Award.

Colin Hoskins Features editor

There are many fantastic individuals and teams across every aspect of our sporting landscape who consistently create the platforms for sporting dramas to be played out on. And the awards are the perfect way to celebrate their professionalism, success and excellence – and that includes the volunteers within your local community.

Chris Bennett SALTEX press officer

Nominations for the award categories are now live on, where we have made it even easier for you to submit names. Simply follow the instructions on the website, or call us on 01908 312511 and we’ll send you a link. Thanks once again to our generous sponsors, we will be revamping this year’s awards ceremony, using a new and modern venue – the Vox in Resorts World at the Birmingham NEC – and instigating a new line-up and format for the event, which will take place on Wednesday 30 October, the evening of the first day of SALTEX, also at the NEC, and be hosted by BBC TV presenter Dan Walker.

Rob Donnelly Regional pitch advisor

Join us on what could be our last evening as a member of the European Union and take time, too, to visit SALTEX, which will showcase the best of our industry, including many new products, while offering boundless networking opportunities. This year’s show will also include some new features, including the Eco Village (see page 11), alongside a host of informative education, tips and hints in the Learning LIVE education programme. The show will also feature the SALTEX College Cup (sponsored by Toro) plus the popular Women in Turf Forum and the Young IOG Board sessions targeted at our young and upcoming professionals.

Glenn Kirby Syngenta Turf UK technical manager

All in all, it is a comprehensive package designed to inform, educate and enthuse; SALTEX and the IOG Industry Awards are the annual focal point for the sports turf industry to showcase its talent and innovation. Put 30-31 October in your diary now! Dr Minshad Ansari Bionema CEO

Geoff Webb Chief Executive The Institute of Groundsmanship Allan Cochran John Deere Apprentice Training Centre manager KEEP IN TOUCH

Institute of Groundsmanship THE GROUNDSMAN 5





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

The IOG Awards evening is always great fun


Recognising excellence in grounds management NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN for the 2019 IOG Industry Awards that recognise the passion, dedication and challenges faced by grounds staff in grassroots and professional sports at clubs of every size from around the UK. This year’s 20 award categories include a new award for an organisation or individual that/who has championed the groundscare industry abroad. Now in their 11th year, the awards will be presented on Wednesday 30 October at The Vox, in Resorts World at the Birmingham NEC, on the evening of the first day of the SALTEX exhibition, and hosted by BBC TV presenter Dan Walker. IOG chief executive Geoff Webb says: “The awards continue to provide the only national stage for the achievements of everyone involved in groundscare across all levels of sport – with every award being judged by high-profile grounds personnel. Please take the time to nominate as you must know many deserving candidates and great examples of sports turf management at every level.” Visit to make your nominations – and to find details of the entry criteria for each award (right).


• IOG Toro Most Promising Sports Turf Student • IOG Rigby Taylor/Top Green Young Grounds Person • IOG Volunteer Sports Grounds Team/ Individual • IOG NGB Community/Grassroots Sports Club Grounds Team/Individual 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 RFU (Rugby Football Union), the RFL (Rugby Football League) and Sport England. • IOG Public Sector Sports Grounds Team • IOG Bowling Grounds Team/Individual • IOG SCH Supplies Best Managed Artificial Surface • IOG Ransomes Environmental and Ecology Strategy • IOG Professional Cricket Grounds Team • IOG Cub Cadet Infinicut Professional Tennis Courts Grounds Team • IOG John Deere Professional Horse Racing Grounds Team • IOG Professional Rugby Football League Grounds Team • IOG Professional Rugby Football Union Grounds Team

• IOG Professional Football Grounds Team For English Leagues 1 & 2, National League, National League North/South, Scottish Championship & Leagues 1 & 2, Ireland & Wales Professional Leagues. • IOG SGL Professional Football Grounds Team For Premier League, Championship and Scottish Premier League. • IOG Redexim Charterhouse/Kubota University/College Grounds Team • IOG Growth Products Independent School Grounds Team • IOG SISGrass International Award • IOG Grassmaster Outstanding Achievement Award. There is one award for which nominations are not sought: the IOG Ransomes/DLF Alex R Millar Award – to the person chosen as the outstanding winner across all award categories. The 2019 IOG Industry Awards are sponsored by the AELTC, Cub Cadet, DLF, ECB, The FA, Grassmaster, Growth Products, John Deere, Kubota, the LTA, the Premier League, Ransomes, Redexim Charterhouse, Rigby Taylor, the RFU, the RFL, SCH Supplies, SGL Lighting, SIS Grass, Sport England, Top Green and Toro.




Delegates learn how pitch data is being used at Real Madrid THE USE OF data in the sports industry to improve pitch and player performance was the focus of this year’s SGL Masterclass. More than 100 grounds managers from 45 clubs based in 16 different countries travelled to the home of Real Madrid to listen to guest speakers, tour the facilities and network. Paul Burgess, director of grounds and environment at Real Madrid, explained how data management and analysis Data improves pitch performance in Madrid

has become a vital part of daily work at Santiago Bernabéu. Pitch conditions are measured and processed with SGL Analysers and a tablet is assigned to every pitch and mounted in every buggy to monitor the conditions and works. Guest speakers included Lee Guerriero, pitch and technology specialist at UEFA, who gave his outlook on pitch standards in Europe and described how UEFA uses data to assess pitches and support grounds personnel. Dr Kate Entwistle, turf disease expert from the UK, and Sabine Braitmaier, turf disease expert from Germany, talked about different turf grass diseases and nematodes, an increasing problem in sports stadia. Delegates also had a tour of the new Wanda Metropolitano, the venue for this year’s Champions League final.


JOHN WRIGHT JOINS IOG YOUNG BOARD John Wright, Southampton FC head groundsman and winner of the 2018 Rigby Taylor/Top Green Young Grounds Person of the Year, has joined the IOG Young Board. John, 23, is a respected groundsman and is looking forward to promoting groundskeeping to young people. This year’s first Young Boardorganised Schools into Stadia event is taking place at Southampton FC in early May. Find out more about John at: whos-who/young-board-directors/ john-wright




Sheldon Bonner obituary by David Robinson, IOG Yorkshire Branch

JOHN HARRIS SOMERSET COUNTY CRICKET Club is mourning the loss of John Harris, who has died at the age of 83. At 16, John was the youngest ever player to appear for the County and he appeared in 15 First Class matches. He was a groundsman and cricket coach at Framlingham College, and played Minor Counties cricket for Suffolk. He moved to Canterbury and became head groundsman at St Edmunds School. He was also head groundsman at the County Ground in Exeter, during which time he started to umpire, eventually becoming one of the most respected umpires on the circuit.

SHELDON BONNER ‘SHED’ BONNER began his career in groundskeeping in Windsor, then moved north to work at Headingley Stadium. From there, he became head groundsman at Leeds Grammar School, then grounds manager at St Peter’s School, York. Alongside his day job, Sheldon was a renowned singer in West Yorkshire clubs and got to boot camp stage on The X Factor. After being diagnosed with a brain tumour, he and his partner Victoria married, travelled and fulfilled a ‘bucket list’ of ambitions. We’ve lost a loved and respected friend and colleague.


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THE IOG RECENTLY delivered a Level 1 Winter Pitches-based course at the National Games Development Centre in Dublin. This course was specifically for Gaelic Athletics Association (GAA) grounds staff. The GAA has a proactive approach to raising standards covering both hurling and Gaelic football and is planning further educational opportunities. The IOG welcomes information regarding potential training venues, whatever the playing surface. Email learning@ if you want to get involved.

Grounds sta� at the GAA training session in Abbotstown, Dublin THE GROUNDSMAN 7



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



DANIEL BRADLEY, FORMERLY assistant head groundsman at Wembley Stadium, has been appointed the Greater London regional pitch advisor for the IOG-led Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme (GaNTIP). Daniel has more than 11 years of groundskeeping and horticultural experience, underpinned by current studies towards his Level 3 Diploma in Horticulture (Sports Turf) and the Level 2 workbased Diploma he gained in 2016. Previous roles include work at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea, and Magdalen College School, Oxford.

MARK BULLINGHAM, THE FA’s chief commercial and football development officer, has been named as its new chief executive. Bullingham joined the organisation in August 2016 and has been credited with a 25 per cent rise in annual revenue. FA chairman Greg Clarke said Bullingham was “undoubtedly the best person” to lead the organisation into an “exciting new era”. No date has yet been set for Bullingham to take up the position, but he said was “delighted” by his appointment.



Daniel Bradley


Nick Pryde

THE ENGLAND AND Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has appointed Nick Pryde as its director of participation and growth. He has been in the role in an interim capacity since July 2018. Nick said: “I am honoured to be appointed into the role of director of participation and growth. As someone who has played cricket my whole life, I am passionate about recreational cricket and its unique ability to unite and inspire communities. I very much look forward to working closely with the entire game to ensure the health and prosperity of cricket over the coming years.”



ICL TURF & LANDSCAPE has appointed Barry Browne as its new landscape & industrial national sales manager. Barry has worked in the industry for a number of years and brings with him a wealth of experience. Prior to joining ICL he spent 14 years working for Green-tech starting as a product specifier and going on to hold the position of team manager. Barry said: “I’m passionate about my work and looking forward to the challenge ahead.”


Mark Bullingham


CONGRATULATIONS TO IOG COURSE GRADUATES We’re pleased to announce that Matthew Richards, Charlie Whitehurst and Damian Buckman have successfully completed their Level 2 Technical Certificate in Turf Surface Maintenance, with Matthew and Charlie gaining a ‘merit’ grade. Well done also to James Wood who also gained a ‘merit’ grade in his Level 4 Professional Certificate in Turf Surface Management.

Barry Browne




A ADVANCE GRASS SOLUTIONS has signed a deal to distribute diagnostic turf grass tools and environmental test equipment from Turf-Tec International. TTI was started by the late Tom Mascaro in 1976, who was best known for his invention of the Aerifier in 1946 and the Verti-Cut in 1955. The firm has developed a line of diagnostic instruments for turf that until now were only available to researchers at universities. For more information on the range call 0118 391 4540 or visit the AGS website:


SOILSCON 2019 SOILSCON, THE landscape industry conference for soilrelated topics, will return to Phyllis Court in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, on 26 September. This year’s event, organised by soil scientist and landscape consultant Tim O’Hare, will include talks from Andy Spetch of British Sugar TOPSOIL and James HewetsonBrown of Wildflower Turf. If you’re interested in attending, please email or call 01491 822653.


S&C SLATTER GIVEN HOCKEY APPROVAL HOCKEY PITCH specialist firm S&C Slatter has been awarded two International Hockey Federation (FIH) certifications. The company, which provides a complete hockey pitch service from design to build completion, has been registered as an FIH Certified Field Builder under the 2019 FIH Quality Programme for Hockey Turf. The pitch it constructed for Royal Holloway University of London has also received an FIH Certificate of Field Performance. Find out more at


The team from Royal Wootton Bassett RFC


Volunteer grounds team hailed by RFU pitch supremo A WILTSHIRE RUGBY club which took a huge step four years ago to keep its five pitches and training areas playable has received a boost from one of the top names in English rugby. In 2015, Royal Wootton Bassett RFC applied for a Rugby Football Foundation (RFF) grant and sought funds from a Sport England grant for grounds maintenance equipment. After receiving expert advice from Keith Kent, Twickenham’s head groundsman through the RFU’s Groundsman

Connected scheme, it chose a Terra Spike XF6 refurbished through Wiedenmann UK’s own workshops. On his return to the club this year, Keith Kent celebrated the efforts of the dedicated volunteer grounds team. “What a transformation. What a club house. What a team of great volunteers that represent this great club. “Well done to the club. They had the foresight to build for the future and that included the groundsman, his team and his equipment.”


BLUE PLAQUE FOR HAYTER DOUGLAS HAYTER, THE engineer, visionary and founder of lawnmower manufacturing business Hayter, has been awarded a blue plaque in recognition of his contributions to Bishop’s Stortford. Douglas Hayter was born in the town in 1914 and set up his business there in 1937. His venture into grass cutting machinery began in the 1940s when he was cutting grass around his drying timber stacks. He borrowed a cutter bar mower from a friend, but found the process frustrating and slow. To make the experience easier, he combined the functionality of the historical horsedrawn rotary mower with the power of a two-stroke engine – the birth of the first Hayter Motor Scythe. The

Institute of Groundsmanship

invention quickly gained admiration and Douglas started receiving requests for more machines. In 1946, the Motor Scythe went into full production and Hayter became a limited company. In the years that followed, the business developed professional and domestic mowers such as the Hayterette and the Hayter Harrier rear-roller striping mower, today synonymous with the Hayter brand. In 1960, Hayter received the Royal Warrant for the supply of machinery to HM Queen Elizabeth II – an honour retained to this day. Douglas also expanded the business internationally. Douglas Hayter remained a significant influence in Bishop’s Stortford until his death in 2000. THE GROUNDSMAN 9



Find out about weed and pest control as well as grass seed on page 33

A new Combiseeder, robotic mowers and tracking for undulating grounds

The new models are accurate and can cover large areas


The machine helps with even sowing


THE GKB COMBISEEDER is a fast and efficient way to seed or overseed your sports pitch, as well as seed multiple types of grass. Its two spiked rollers open up the soil and accurately spread seed across the full width of the machine, in and around the holes, while two drag brushes incorporate the seed into the holes. Bancroft Amenities, a specialist sports ground contracting company based in Greater Manchester, has


recently added a GKB Combiseeder to its fleet. “We like the fact it is a dimple seeder, so it gives a lot of holes per square metre, and the use of the machine for the operator is very simple,” explains Stuart Thompson, director of Bancroft Amenities, which maintains both natural and artificial sports surfaces. “We also like the machine’s compact size and its ability to seed at low rates.”


CUB CADET HAS launched a range of robotic mowers, the XR Enduro Series. The new robots – XR1, XR2 and XR3 – mow up to 10 per cent faster than similar models on the market due to the new blade technology and strong mowing system, producing a perfectly trimmed lawn in no time. The XR1 500 features a floating, self-cleaning mowing deck that handles challenging terrain with accuracy and produces clippings fine enough to mulch into the soil. The XR2 and XR3 robots can trim right up to the edge of the lawn thanks to the patented steel blades which cut beyond the wheelbase. Grounds keepers will be able to use a smartphone or PC to view reports and change mowing schedules. Some models come with Bluetooth remote control capability and GPS. The XR mowers are equipped with Smart Mow which, instead of stopping and turning when the robot reaches the perimeter wire, turns in a smooth arc, saving time and ensuring a better-quality cut. The robots can be programmed to run at any time of the day, even when the user is away.


GREENMECH’S SURE-TRAK 19-28 is now available as a standalone model. For occasions where operators encounter either challenging ground undulations, or where levels differ significantly between the two tracks, GreenMech’s new SURE-Trak 19-28 model safely overcomes both challenges. The independent pivoting track assemblies allow each track to maintain contact with the ground while following the contours, to provide improved stability.


The patent-pending pivoting track system allows safe traversing and climbing of slopes of more than 35 degrees. Its assistance in keeping the body of the machine level also protects the engine by keeping it within approved manufacturer tilt levels. GreenMech’s machines come with a three-year, no-quibble warranty, the support of GreenMech’s UK dealer network and a variety of flexible GreenMech Finance options.

The SURE-Trak system keeps the unit level



By Chris Bennett

The 2019 show will feature a new area dedicated to the latest green technology and environmentally friendly products


HE TREND TOWARDS sustainable and environmentally friendly practices in groundscare is gathering pace as more grounds personnel, greenkeepers, landscapers and contractors are looking for products that can deliver quality results but also help them to reduce their carbon footprints. Although more than 80 per cent of visitors to SALTEX 2018 rated their overall show experience as excellent,

“It makes sense to launch a new area at SALTEX that focuses on green technologies”

the post-show survey also revealed that visitors thought the exhibition could be even better if it featured a wider choice of eco-friendly products and services.


The all-new Eco Village at SALTEX will feature a programme of daily demonstrations of cutting-edge, sustainable technology – offering visitors an opportunity to see a number of products in action. Furthermore, industry experts within the village will offer advice on green technology and explain how it could benefit current working practices. Commenting on the Eco Village, SALTEX event director Matthew Knight said: “Each year we listen to every single piece of feedback and implement tangible changes that will make the SALTEX experience even better for our visitors.


SALTEX press officer

“It is great to see groundscare manufacturers committed to reducing their environmental footprints and, with the increasing demand for batterypowered products, it makes sense to launch a new area at SALTEX that solely focuses on these technologies. “There has been a huge amount of interest from companies that are looking to participate and we are expecting to stage a fascinating and varied demonstration programme.” SALTEX 2019 takes place at the NEC, Birmingham on 30-31 October. For more information visit Follow SALTEX on Twitter @IOG_SALTEX and Facebook


The pitch before (right) and after the drainage and irrigation works

SLICK WORK AT HANWELL TOWN FC Hanwell Town FC’s investment in new pitch drainage and an irrigation system has led to a significant upgrade to the Powerday Stadium’s playing surface and reduced winter cancellations

T By Rob Donnelly Regional pitch advisor

he improvements at the Greenfordbased club, which competes in the Bostik League South Central Division at Step 4, has not only had a positive impact on the players – the upgraded pitch will support the development of the first team as well as the under-18 side, which plays in the Allied Counties Youth Football League East Division – but the grounds staff now also have a pitch that is ‘easier’ to keep in optimum condition all year round. The project was made possible by a £73,580 Premier League grant delivered through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), the sister organisation to the Football Foundation. The club had previously received two other FSIF grants, totalling £17,115, towards upgrades to the site. After tough weather conditions towards the end of last season, the club committed to significantly upgrading the pitch and contacted Middlesex FA. As a result, I visited the ground and provided advice and support on pitch quality improvements. The

“It means we can now water the pitch at night in just 78 minutes instead of having sprinklers running 24/7” 12 THE GROUNDSMAN May 2019

FA’s Pitch Improvement Programme provided the framework for advice, support and access to funding streams. More than 3,000m of drainage has been installed (lateral drains spaced every 3m), after which the pitch was fraise mowed to remove the top layer, followed by topdressing with 120 tonnes of sand and re-seeding. A state-of-the-art, fully automated Rain Bird pop-up irrigation system was also installed. The trenches for the irrigation also act as additional drains.


Commenting that the works represented a major investment for a club at this level, head groundsman Tom Duffy – who is accredited to Level 3 in Sports Turf Management and is a pitch advisor for Middlesex FA – said the work will transform the pitch for years to come. In addition to aiding post-season grass restoration “it means we can now water the pitch at night in just 78 minutes instead of having sprinklers running 24/7”, he said. “On match days we can slick up the surface in just 12 minutes simply by using an app on my phone.”


For more details of GaNTIP, visit



EVOLUTION NOT REVOLUTION As Lord’s Cricket Ground embarks on what many would argue will be its busiest summer of first-class cricket, newly-appointed head groundsman Karl McDermott takes time out to explain his approach to the job at the Home of Cricket

K By Colin Hoskins Features editor


arl McDermott is the first to admit that as he enters his first season as head groundsman at Lord’s Cricket Club, he will not act like a bull in a china shop. “We’ve got a very busy summer of cricket here,” says the 43-year-old Irishman, “and I will initially be studying everything that’s going on with the pitch as the season progresses, letting the playing surface – and my role – gradually evolve as the season goes on. My aim is to produce wickets that offer something for everyone, batsmen and bowlers alike.” There is, he says, no need to come into the job and make instant changes simply for the

sake of it: “There’s no need for a ‘new broom’ attitude towards a pitch and an established grounds team that has historically continued to deliver first-class cricket.” Joining the Home of Cricket on 1 December 2018, after nine years at Hampshire Cricket Club, Karl spent his first month overlapping with the retiring Mick Hunt, who had headed the team caring for the surface in St John’s Wood, London, for 49 years.


“That time spent with Mick was invaluable. He pointed out every idiosyncrasy and the potential problems of a pitch that has been built on London



Karl McDermott, head groundsman at Lord’s Cricket Ground

Photos: MCC


clay – especially the square, the differences in each wicket and how they can be affected by the weather and especially the drop in the outfield that falls 8ft 6in from the square, which itself isn’t completely level. We discussed every aspect of how he and the grounds team ensure the pitch, which includes a hybrid strip, consistently meets the aspirations of the players and of the worldwide audiences that, courtesy of high-definition TV, can scrutinise every ball and, seemingly, every blade of grass.” That inside knowledge, complemented by the expertise of “a very experienced and able grounds team of five full-timers, who are immediately proving to be a great asset to me (plus three summer casuals),” will undoubtedly stand Karl in good stead as Lord’s enters an intense programme of cricket. It will also be underpinned by his almost 30 years of hands-on cricket

After he was officially introduced by Marylebone Cricket Club to the national press a few weeks ago, Karl commented, tongue-in-cheek, to one visiting journalist that “I hope you’ll be writing nice things about me” and, in answer, the journalist said: “That depends on how good the pitch is.” Karl’s response was emphatic: “Oh, that’s okay then, because the pitch will be good!”

groundsmanship experience, which began as a 14-year-old schoolboy in Dublin. “My maths teacher was also the volunteer head groundsman at the local cricket club, Clontarf in Dublin, and he was looking for help. I ended up at the ground for three summers. It was a good, well-run club which, despite being relatively small with limited resources, has been used as a training venue for international touring teams (Australia and the West Indies) as well as staging County games on a regular basis. “I became hooked on groundscare; the groundsman was very fastidious and had an incredible eye for detail, and my time there gave me a real appetite to maintain a cricket pitch to the highest possible standard. Indeed, my experience at Clontarf ingrained in me that attention to detail really counts.”

“The groundsman was very fastidious and had an incredible eye for detail. My experience at Clontarf ingrained in me that attention to detail really counts”

His role at the club soon also led to him becoming a player – “I can still count some of my former teammates as among my best friends” – and Karl says he jumped at the opportunity to work there full-time, after leaving school and completing college. It was while there that he won the Cricket World Groundscare Award in 2007. The resulting presentation took him to Lord’s for the first time, spending a day admiring the ground, the facilities and the overall operation… Little did he know what would transpire 11 years later. “It was in 1999, however, as I prepared the pitch and helped ‘convert’ the Clontarf stadium to host a World Cup game, that the bug really bit – I got a taste for the big game and I knew then that being part of regular County, and perhaps even Test cricket was what I wanted.”


Using Clontarf’s wide network of contacts, Karl spent the next three winters (19992001) in various groundscare roles in South Africa and Australia, countries where he gained “some great work and life experiences” to add to his CV, which was continually being strengthened by Clontarf’s busy schedule. THE GROUNDSMAN 15



Preparations are well underway for the busy summer ahead

“I will take what has happened, and what now happens as the season progresses, and perhaps put my own subtle twist on things” In 2008, he joined the grounds team at Worcestershire County Cricket Club and spent a year at the New Road ground – “it only flooded three times that year (!) and I must say that head groundsman Tim Packwood and his team do a fantastic job there” – before becoming deputy head groundsman at Hampshire County Cricket Club. He spent 10 seasons at Southampton’s Rose Bowl before joining Lord’s.


He says he couldn’t have asked for a better welcome as he moved to London. “Everyone here has been so helpful and friendly,” he says. “I’ve effectively been given a blank canvas. But I can already see that there’s no need for massive change. I will take what has happened, and what now happens as the season progresses, and perhaps (naturally) put my own subtle twist on things. We have our schedule of games (with such a busy programme that was an interesting task in itself) but I know we’ve arrived at a plan 16 THE GROUNDSMAN May 2019

that will suit the programme; we know which squares will be used and when. “It’s early days, but at this stage I will not be changing things wholesale – for example, I may or may not roll a strip more in my usual 10-14 days preparation for each major game – it will be a case of watching how each wicket reacts to each game and to the weather, then fitting in our preparations around the schedule and the weather. “The outfield drains very well [since the installation of a new outfield and drainage in 2003], so no doubt that will be hungrier and thirstier than any I’ve encountered before. Every day will be a learning day – it always is at every ground – and while I want to be proactive, the nature of the job is also to be reactive.” To see a recent interview with Karl, conducted by Cricket World, visit


Karl McDermott says he lives for major matches, and his first season at Lord’s will truly test his stamina. With a full programme of MCC and County cricket, which started in April, Karl and company also face a series of World Cup games, including the final in July, and Tests (England versus Ireland and the England versus Australia Ashes game) plus the Specsavers County Championship (Division 2), the Royal London One-Day Cup (final in May) and T20 – Vitality Blast games. Commenting on the host of one-day games, Karl says: “One-day cricket is all about the batsmen, and I will strive for wickets that have a bit of pace and carry well.” The one-day ICC Cricket World Cup matches start later this month. Lord’s will host five games and other games are scheduled for Edgbaston (Birmingham), Bristol, Sophia Gardens (Cardiff), Riverside (Durham), Headingley (Leeds), The Oval (London), Old Trafford (Manchester), Trent Bridge (Nottingham), the Rose Bowl (Southampton) and Taunton.

BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE The MCC unveiled its masterplan for the redevelopment of Lord’s in 2013. The plan sets out to improve facilities through phases, while allowing the ground to continue to be operational. The first phase was completed in 2017 with the construction of the new Warner Stand. The next step is to redevelop the Compton and Edrich Stands, to create two new three-tier stands. Construction is scheduled to start in late August this year and be completed for the 2021 season.


St James’ Park set up for Premier League football…


CHANGING PLACES The expertise of the facilities and grounds teams at St James’ Park will be tested to the limit this month as it prepares to host two major rugby league finals in 24 hours, less than a week after the club’s final Premier League home game of the season

A By Colin Hoskins Features editor

tried-and-tested pitch preparation routine will, says Eddie Rutherford, ensure that every player at ‘Europe’s festival of world-class rugby’ enjoys a superb playing surface when Newcastle United FC’s St James’ Park stadium hosts the finals for the European Rugby Challenge Cup and the European Rugby Champions

Heineken Cup this month, just a few days after the club’s final Premier League home game of the season. As head of facilities management, Eddie, along with the stadium’s head groundsman, Andy Tully, will instigate a well-proven pitch management regime, ‘converting’ the playing surface from hosting football to best-in-class rugby union games in less than a week.

HISTORIC MULTI-USE Home to Newcastle United FC, St James’ Park Stadium has been used for football since 1880 (12 years before NUFC was officially formed). It has also hosted Olympic football (2012), has been the venue for the rugby league Super League Magic Weekends in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, and staged 2015 rugby union Rugby World Cup games. It has hosted an England Test match and regularly accommodates charity football events and music concerts, as well as being used as a set for film and reality television.



“As well as presenting a superb playing surface for football, the SIS hybrid pitch stands up well to the rigours of rugby” A FINE ART

It’s a process that has served them well, after being instigated a few seasons ago when the stadium staged rugby league Super League Magic Weekends and Rugby World Cup games and, most recently, last month when the Newcastle Falcons played Sale Sharks in what is widely recognised as the rugby union Gallagher Premiership’s ‘The Big One’. This time round, two major finals will be played within 24 hours (May 10 and 11),

when not only the players but also a total of 85,000 spectators as well as the TV cameras will be able to see for themselves how Eddie and Andy have managed to get pitch changeover – and presentation – down to a fine art. “Immediately after the final whistle of the Premier League game against Liverpool on May 4, we’ll divot, scarify and water the surface, as well as ‘green out’ the football goal lines, 12-yard boxes and centre circle,” Eddie explains. “From the Monday onwards, we’ll start with the process of locating the [rugby goalpost] sockets, which are 12 inches beneath the surface, then we’ll cut the squares of turf.” The squares will be put into a container and watered, so that they are kept in pristine condition for when the posts come out.


“The pitch will initially be cut in three directions – up and down and crossways, to achieve the desired pattern – then we’ll mark out,” he says. The pitch will be cut again on the Friday, the day of the first final, usually to just a couple of millimetres higher than the 23mm used


for football. At this time of the year, he says, it is unlikely that the lighting rigs will be needed. Explaining that the initial overmark with green paint may seem a little early in the pitch preparation cycle, Eddie says they’ve found this to be the best method for presentation “because the colour seems to blend in much better”. Rigby Taylor’s water-based Impact XP paint is used for the overmarking so that the lines can be easily ‘mopped’ away. A well-thought-out pitch maintenance regime will ensure the surface is in good shape for the two finals (and, indeed, stays that way all year round), complemented by Andy’s experience of 17 years at the stadium. Eddie adds that the new SIS hybrid pitch has also made a big difference to playability and presentation: “As well as presenting a superb playing surface for football, the pitch stands up well to the rigours of rugby so the grounds team doesn’t need to spend time repairing the surface after every scrum.”


For more information about St James’ Park, visit

…and rugby THE GROUNDSMAN 19

Photos: Speedmediaone





By Colin Hoskins


Features editor

LINGFIELD TEAM GALLOPS AHEAD The ‘can-do’ attitude of the award-winning grounds team at Lingfield Park Racecourse is “remarkable”, according to clerk of the course George Hill, and “everyone seems to be growing in knowledge and ability every day”


ast year’s weather extremes – the cold and snow of the Beast from the East followed by the hottest summer since 1976 – certainly challenged grounds people of all disciplines and none more so than the seven-strong team at Lingfield Park Racecourse who worked diligently and at all hours to ensure racing went ahead at the Surrey venue. “Extremely low temperatures, in particular the Beast’s wind chill, made track preparation very difficult and did cost us one meeting,” says clerk of the course George Hill. “While we had minimal snow, the moisture from the flurries meant it simply froze into the surface. Doncaster and Newbury abandoned their events and ITV Racing’s only hope of airtime was to broadcast our Spring Cup meeting. The race was on to save the fixture. “We tried every piece of equipment to break down the ice particles. It was only due to the grounds team working through the night using our Salford cultivator, combined with a slight improvement in the weather, that the meeting went ahead – watched by Lingfield’s largest ever TV

audience. The cultivator’s 6m pull-type ‘duck’s foot’ meant we could hydraulically angle the frame to bite into the surface and break up the material.” A few months later, Lingfield was in the grip of a heatwave, and with 11 hectares of turfed surface to prepare for flat racing, the grounds team once again met the daunting task head-on. “Watering 17 hours a day across two shifts and having two team members on each shift, we were able to make up time on the changeovers at each water hydrant – saving over two hours per day,” says George. “We put out 10mm of irrigation in 21 hours. “Our new fertiliser programme to increase magnesium and potassium levels – using Rigby Taylor’s Convert Gold Range – and used in conjunction with Rigby Taylor’s Sports Renovation seed mix, helped us produce tremendous results in very challenging conditions,” he adds. Weather extremes aside, it was the year-round achievements of George and his team at a racecourse that stages 81 race-day meetings a year – making it the UK’s busiest track – that secured them the

“Last year the team had everything thrown at it weather-wise but everyone worked to ensure meetings took place and the site was presented to an exceptionally high standard”

2018 IOG John Deere Professional Horse Racing Grounds Team of the Year award. Lingfield’s all-weather track, which accommodates 54 meetings, plays a key role in ensuring events continue uninterrupted during the winter. The site also stages 18 flat turf meetings from May to September and there’s a ninefixture national hunt (jumps) season that runs from November to March. It is the only course in the UK to stage all three types of events. “The grounds team works unbelievably hard and last year it had everything thrown at it weather-wise,” says George. “Not only did the team overcome these challenges, but everyone worked to ensure meetings took place and the site was presented to an exceptionally high standard.“


Visiting Lingfield a year on from the Beast, the course is looking resplendent in bright, warm sunshine. While George highlights the team’s “remarkable can-do attitude,” he also pinpoints effective communication as critical to the smooth running of the entire operation as well as time spent developing a relationship with each staff member and conducting annual appraisals to identify training needs. As clerk of the course, he works closely with all departments at the 450-acre Lingfield Park Resort site, which also has an 18-hole golf course and a four-star spa hotel. Email is the preferred communication method for THE GROUNDSMAN 21



A DREAM JOB George Hill, 31, has been clerk of the course at Lingfield since November 2017 and the role indulges his love of horses while also making use of his business degree. “I’ve always been around horses. As a youngster at home in Ireland I was keen on eventing and hunting, and I continue to ride today,” he says. After completing his degree, George spent time in New Zealand and Kentucky, learning about horse breeding. He moved back to the UK in 2011, working at Brighton and Fontwell, Lingfield’s sister courses. He started his clerk of the course training in 2015, which includes IOG training courses and visits to racetracks all over the country. “I’m responsible for everything here from a racing point of view, from producing the tracks and organising races to setting budgets and HR. But I have a great team who all know what they’re doing.”

George i

he tea at ing e d ar a e ourse ith their G a ard

most departments, but with no access to Lingfield’s email network, George relays information to the estates team, including all grounds staff, via Campaign Manager, a texting software service that keeps everyone informed about the day’s events. The messaging includes details of each race timing so that everyone on the team knows exactly when the 30-minute slots are available for getting the tractors out, or when stalls/rails need to be moved. George and estates manager Jon Harris also meet with the grounds team every morning to discuss what is planned for the day, who is doing what and if there are any suggestions or concerns. Each team member also has a mobile phone and is armed with a radio on event days.


While the all-weather track sees frequent use throughout the winter, there are also 18 flat turf meetings from May to September. These include ‘mixed card’ events where, for example, four races are on the straight turf track and three on the all-weather, allowing the round course to rest. The nine-fixture national hunt season runs from November to March. Then it is all systems go to get the estate looking its 22



May 2019

best for the Good Friday £1m All-Weather Championships Finals Day. Lingfield’s hurdle track is effectively the flat track on the round course and this needs to be repaired and ready for Lingfield’s most prestigious and valuable flat turf race of the season, the Derby Trial, which takes place in May. The flat turf season finishes in mid-September when the team converts the turf track back to a national hunt set up and ensures all chase fences and hurdles are re-birched and prepared. The site is open every day for gallopers on the all-weather surface and usually stages nine barrier trial days (educational races) each year, too. The ‘going’ of the racing surface is very consistent throughout the flat season – a ‘safe’ ground and no quicker than the optimum ‘good to firm’ – and, as a result, field sizes have increased to an average of 8.7 horses per race. Lingfield has also generated growth in its barrier trials with an average of 47 horses each day compared to 22 in 2017. George highlights how the parade ring is the central attraction for many of the raceday visitors, and with heavy use the turf can be damaged, especially during the winter months. So, a regime of regular scarifying,

topdressing and overseeding helps keep the area looking like a sports surface. “Importantly, we’ve instigated a regime where grounds staff are gaining the skillsets for greenkeeping, and vice versa,” says George. “In addition to regular training, including IOG/RCA events, I will be taking my grounds teams to other tracks, so they can see how they are set up and discuss maintenance regimes. It’s vital for the ongoing development of the team. “Complementary to personal skills, the guys have all the necessary maintenance machinery to hand,” he adds. “The grounds and greenkeeping teams do often share machines – for example, the golf team’s verti-drainer is regularly in action on the take-offs and landings on the chase fences and on the polytrack road crossings. “Every member of the grounds team seems to be growing in knowledge and ability every day – which is fantastic. The future here is very bright and I am immensely proud of what we have achieved in such a short space of time, and also very excited about our plans for the future.”


For more information about Lingfield, visit


Extended lighting may help in areas shaded by stands



Syngenta trials at STRI provide an insight into the effects of shade on sports turf ryegrass, and those results can now be used alongside our knowledge of the potential impact of too much light to create the optimum integrated management plan for playing surfaces

A By Glenn Kirby Syngenta Turf UK technical manager


better understanding of how light works and how plants utilise light will enable you to get the best from lighting, whether that’s high-tech light rigs, controlled-environment tents or the sun. Studies have shown that once light levels exceed 600-700 micromoles per m2/sec (determined using a light meter to record Photosynthetically Active Radiation, or PAR), the turf plant’s ability to photosynthesise and convert light energy into carbohydrate plateaus. At best, light in excess of 600 micromoles is simply unutilised by the plant. But if there are any other limiting factors or stresses on the plant, such as nutrient or moisture deficiency or compaction, the effect of excess light can be even more damaging. The implication is that light units can be highly beneficial to supplement light levels when they are low, but it could be important not to oversaturate plants with too much light.

Light readings in stadium shade have shown intensity can be reduced by 85 per cent; even dappled shade, from fences, structures or trees surrounding training grounds and pitches, for example, typically excludes around 40 per cent of light on turf areas.


Measuring light during short season days, from late autumn through to early spring, means we can understand the severe restrictions it creates in trying to manage turf grass. However, studies of the daily light fluctuations have shown that, even where the total light measured would indicate sufficient is available, if the plant has been unable to fully utilise the high peaks through the middle of the day then there could be a serious shortfall of the plant’s requirement. On a bright early-spring day, turf surfaces in southern England, for example (see graph), would appear to get good levels of sunlight,



Researchers are trying to understand what impact light levels have on turf growth and health



A 1000



800 600




400 200


micromoles per hour

Daily Light Integral (DLI)


0 Total DLI


9.00 8.00

11.00 10.00

13.00 12.00

15.00 14.00

17.00 16.00

19.00 18.00

Greenwich Mean Time ■ Utilised DLI

■ Unutilised DLI

Source: GreenCast background source weather data

A 1000



800 600




400 200


micromoles per hour

Daily Light Integral (DLI)


0 Total DLI


9.00 8.00

11.00 10.00

13.00 12.00

15.00 14.00

17.00 16.00

19.00 18.00

Greenwich Mean Time ■ Utilised DLI

■ Unutilised DLI

approaching the required 23 Daily Light Integral (DLI). However, when periods of unutilised light intensity above 600, in red, are excluded, the actual useable light DLI is far lower, at less than 20. With a partially shaded area, intercepting perhaps 40 per cent of light, that would fall to about 10 – the very minimum ryegrass needs to grow. This really highlighted the potential value of lighting to supplement the intensity of sunlight in the periods when it is not reaching 600 micromoles – in this case before 10am and after 4pm. The requirement for supplementary light when natural light is already sufficient would be questionable. However, there could be times, such as during heavy cloud

Source: GreenCast background source weather data

cover or areas of prolonged stand shade, where extended lighting may help. Next we will look at how the total day length of light at the optimal 600 micromoles can be used by turf to maximise plant health and strength; different varieties of ryegrass, or varying management conditions, could optimise at different light levels. US research has indicated that ryegrass requires a DLI of about 23 to maintain optimum healthy turf quality. In the UK, research has demonstrated that ryegrass will survive at a DLI as low as 10. However, should it come under any stress or be subjected to normal pitch wear and tear, the opportunity for recovery could be severely compromised by the low light.

During the trials, Dr Tom Young reported plots of perennial ryegrass were treated with Primo Maxx II for a period of six weeks before a shade cover, initially blocking about 40 per cent light, was applied to the whole area (early September). This was replaced with a thick shade cover in early October, which blocked about 80 per cent of light. The increase in shade, along with the reduced light intensity and day length in October, resulted in the DLI on the side of the trial without supplementary HPS (High Pressure Sodium) lighting dropping below the 10 micromoles per m2 day 1 minimum value required for perennial ryegrass. This strongly correlated with a sudden drop in turf quality and cover in late October and early November on the trial area which did not receive supplementary HPS lighting. After a two- to three-week lag, for the impact of low light to take effect, the drop off in turf health was drastic. Where additional light was provided, in conjunction with Primo Maxx II, the DLI levels remained higher, and the corresponding turf health and quality significantly better.

STRI technology anager r o oung





By Dr Minshad Ansari CEO Bionema


With many chemicals now removed from the groundsman’s armoury, nature has its own answers to combat chafer grubs and leatherjackets – solutions that are equally effective, greener and cheaper


roundskeepers rightly consider chafer grubs and leatherjackets as major pests. Damage to grass roots caused by their larval feeding is most severe during autumn and again in the spring, as soil temperatures rise. Agriculture and environmental consultancy ADAS suggests that lost income on a racecourse affected by the pests’ damage could amount to £605,000.

But products using beneficial insectparasitic nematodes (roundworms), which are completely harmless to humans and the environment, can be an effective alternative and, in many cases, do show increased kill rates over ‘traditional’ pesticides. These nematodes have been commercialised to control various insect pests currently affecting the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors, and are now available to support the turf and amenity market. After a Bionema programme of chafer grub control at The Grove hotel and golf resort in Hertfordshire, golf course and estate manager Phil Chiverton said: “We saw a more than 80 per cent reduction in chafer grubs in the first year and further improvements in year two, while at the same time doing less harm to the environment and saving money compared with chemical applications.”


An infestation of chafer grubs


Nematodes actively search for insect larvae within soil and growing media. They enter the insect via natural openings and release friendly lethal bacteria, which kill the insect within 24-48 hours, depending on host species. Then they reproduce; within two weeks, approximately 50,000-100,000 new



Nematodes (top right) enter insect larvae in the soil and release a lethal bacteria

“We saw a more than 80 per cent reduction in chafer grubs in the first year”

nematodes to reach their prey but the use of compatible surfactants (wetting agents, soil conditioners) will improve the way water moves across the soil profile and increase water efficiency, by managing water repellency and homogenous distribution, and provide 20-30 per cent higher efficacy.

infective nematodes are produced, which move out of the dead larva and go in search of healthy larvae.



The nematodes can be applied using soil injection, hollow core tine equipment or via a vehicle-mounted boom sprayer, provided there is first thatch penetration (eg by slitter). Timing is also critical, along with understanding the lifecycle of the target pest. The most susceptible stages of the insects are early instars and pupae in the soil. This is when the insects are at their most vulnerable to attack from nematodes, providing there is enough moisture available in the soil to establish nematode population and temperatures are at an optimum level. Soil moisture does influence the survival, persistence and efficacy of nematodes. Water repellency makes it difficult for the

Nematodes are susceptible to ultraviolet light and desiccation, so apply during early morning or late evening. Avoid application in bright sunlight. Apply when you expect the soil or growing media temperature to be more than 12°C for at least three to four hours a day. Do not use a filter in the nozzle, to avoid blockages, and avoid excessive irrigation just after treatment. Nematodes cannot be seen with the naked eye, so it is important to check their activity with a microscope or magnifying lance. It is recommended that spot samples are taken and inspected before spraying to check nematode activity prior to application. Bionema is hosting an Emergency Chafer Grub Summit at Burton Albion FC on 9 May. For more information, visit


DR MINSHAD ANSARI Biopesticide expert Dr Minshad Ansari has more than 20 years’ experience in biopesticide development with a proven track record of delivering integrated pest management strategies. He is a qualified BASIS advisor in Crop Protection (Commercial Horticulture), and the founder and CEO of biopesticide provider Bionema, based at Swansea University. For more details and information about the company’s NemaTrident Tri-Component system, a combined solution that combines nematodes with an optimised wetting agent and tailored application advice for biological pest control, visit • Rigby Taylor is the distributor for Bionema nematode solutions: page 37 THE GROUNDSMAN 27


TRAINING OUR FUTURE TURF TECHNICIANS John Deere’s Ag, Parts and Turf Tech advanced apprenticeship programmes are run in partnership with national training provider ProVQ at its purpose-built Apprentice Training Centre in Nottinghamshire

J By Allan Cochran John Deere Apprentice Training Centre manager

ohn Deere led the way in dealer apprentice block-release training when it launched its National Training Award-winning Ag Tech programme in 1992. The Turf Tech programme was launched in 2002 to assist John Deere dealers and their service departments in the recruitment, training and retention of suitably skilled turf technicians. This turf engineering apprenticeship develops the same skills as its agricultural equivalent, but with the focus more on machines used by golf courses, sports grounds, racecourses, local authorities, landscapers and country estates. Technicians are trained in engineering, electronics, hydraulics, diagnostics, communication skills, computing, sales and marketing. Many of John Deere’s professional turf equipment dealers have put their new apprentices through the scheme. The course is designed to develop technicians’ ability and skills far better than if they never left the dealer workshop. With a land-based engineering qualification at the end of three years, it’s extremely valuable as a training resource for the dealer network’s young technicians and a great foundation for their future career development.

“Students get hands-on experience with machines and the latest technology”

In addition to the course, students get hands-on experience with John Deere machines and the latest technology. They are also encouraged to help and train each other, sharing experiences from their own workshops, and identifying problems and the different solutions they might come up with. Many apprentices also have the satisfaction of knowing they’re working on machines belonging to high-profile customers such as top sports stadia and major golf venues.


Qualified technicians can achieve the industry’s Landbased Training Accreditation Intermediate Level at the end of their fourth year of employment, by attending additional training at John Deere’s UK headquarters in Langar, Nottingham. This sets them on a career path that can ultimately lead to the highest possible LTA Master Technician accreditation. New Turf Tech student intakes are in September each year. Apprentices need to be resident in the UK, sponsored by a John Deere dealer and aged 16 or over. The standard three-year programme covers all the normal engineering principles and systems, and it includes on-the-job training and assessment as well as eight weeks each year at the John Deere Apprentice Training Centre.


For further details, visit THE GROUNDSMAN 29


A CUT ABOVE FOR THE BLADES The pitch maintenance programme at Sheffield United FC is paying dividends Sheffield United FC head groundsman Glenn Nortcliffe is celebrating 30 years at the club this year. During his time at Bramall Lane, he has worked closely with Rigby Taylor’s technical representative Mike Brear, and together they have formulated an annual maintenance programme that clearly keeps the pitch in pristine condition. “On Mike’s recommendation we now overseed with a mixture of R140 and R14 perennial ryegrasses,” explains Glenn. “This means we are applying seven different cultivars, including

G enn ort i�e head groundsman at he e d nited

the all-important tetraploids in R140 (Fabian and Tetragreen), which sees us making the most of rapid establishment, wear and excellent tolerance to cold and shade, for example, in conjunction with the grow lights.” A new Desso surface laid four seasons ago has made a massive difference, not only in terms of drainage, but also in providing a fantastic level of stability. Every pitch characteristic is recorded, with Clegg hammer readings (hardness levels) and moisture content managed accordingly. “The ProCore is

probably our most important machine, and we use this when the Clegg readings start to creep up,” says Glenn. Construction changes to the stadium have created an environment where there is little air movement over the pitch and for three months of the year the pitch doesn’t get any sun at all. But Glenn and his team overcome all obstacles with a mix of amenity products, grow lights and expert groundsmanship.


For more information, visit

Scotstoun head groundsman Paddy Ferrie

CLEAN SWEEP AT SCOTSTOUN Paddy Ferrie knows how to keep his artificial surfaces looking pristine When it comes to cleaning an artificial sur a e an tur anagers ha e found the little and often approach to e the ost e e ti e The Verti-Clean from Charterhouse Turf Machinery will pick up surface debris with a rotating brush, powered by ground wheels, and throw it onto a vibrating sieve. The sieve filters any infill material back on to the playing surface, while retaining the debris and collecting it in a lightweight hopper, that can easily be removed for emptying. The finish is a

revitalised surface with clean infill. A Verti-Clean 1500 has been used as part of the maintenance routine at Scotstoun Stadium since September 2017. The hard work of Paddy Ferrie, head groundsman, was rewarded as he was crowned the 2018 IOG Industry Awards winner of the SCH Supplies Best Maintained Artificial Surface. “I conduct regular brushing to stand the fibres up, redistribute the crumb and improve the appearance of the pitch prior to matches,” explains Paddy, who

has been at Scotstoun for two years. “Because of the pitch’s surroundings, at certain times of year we get a lot of leaf-fall and debris on the surface, for which I needed something that would conduct a more thorough clean. With this machine I can work at a nice, steady pace, collecting any leaves or debris before they become embedded into the pile.”


For more information, visit THE GROUNDSMAN 31

Product showcase


IOG NEWS UPDATES Go to the IOG website




Durham CCC mid-renovation


Bowled over by results of seed switch

VIC DEMAIN AND the team at Durham CCC kickstarted their groundworks for what promises to be a massive year for cricket with a switch to Johnsons Sports Seed J Premier Wicket mixture for their autumn renovations. Johnsons J Premier Wicket contains four top-rated cultivars to deliver rapid establishment, high disease resistance and class-leading wear tolerance under close-mown conditions. A new formulation for 2019, J Premier Wicket can also be specified with DLF’s ProNitro seed coating. The strong germination achieved over winter leaves Vic confident of delivering camera-ready surfaces.

“We’ve come through the winter with strong, consistent coverage”


The Emirates Riverside ground will be the home to three games in the space of five days, a full-on schedule when you factor in 20 days of practice matches, together with Durham’s regular fixtures. “With the cricket season extending at both ends, we are constantly reviewing the products and techniques we’re using to try and upgrade the playing facilities we offer and deliver these results in an ever-decreasing timeframe,” explains Vic. Vic applied J Premier Wicket at the beginning of October and, despite the season’s late finish, achieved fantastic germination on both the wicket and outfields. “We’ve come through the winter with strong, consistent coverage and look forward to the busy season ahead knowing we’ve had a top-quality start,” he says.

Institute of Groundsmanship

GERMINAL HAS UPDATED its sports pitch seeding and renovation mixture, A20 Premier Ryesport, with the introduction of the UK’s top-rated perennial ryegrass cultivar, Europitch. Europitch (20 per cent) joins the A20 team alongside Eurocordus (20 per cent), Eurosport (20 per cent) and Carnac (40 per cent), giving users of the revised seed mixture access to three of the BSPB’s top four perennial ryegrass cultivars for sports use. The standard A20 Premier Ryesport seed mixture can also be customised to include a selection of alternative cultivars from Germinal’s extensive seed portfolio, with grounds staff able to create their own, fully bespoke mixture to suit their ground’s requirements. For more information about A20 Premier Ryesport, contact Germinal on 01522 868714 or visit

Germinal’s updated A20 Premier Ryesport seed mixture can be customised to create bespoke mixes THE GROUNDSMAN 33





The pristine pitches at Witham Hall in Lincolnshire


THE HEAD GROUNDSMAN at Witham Hall in Lincolnshire claims he hasn’t looked back since using a range of grass seed from Limagrain UK. Witham Hall is a boarding and day school for boys and girls aged 4-13. Sport is a fundamental part of the curriculum and the children can enjoy rugby, football, hockey, cricket, netball and rounders. Throughout his tenure at Witham Hall, Alex Exton has relied on Limagrain’s MM50 for the cricket squares and Action Replay for all of the outfields, which includes the rugby, hockey and football pitches. MM50 is ideal for cricket squares: the hard-wearing mix has rapid germination, very fine-leaved appearance, high shoot density and, as

well as having high disease resistance, is tolerant to very close mowing. Limagrain’s Action Replay belongs to the company’s Designer range of amenity grass seed and is ideal for renovating winter sports pitches. It will establish very quickly producing a dense, hard-wearing sward for all heavy-duty sports areas. According to Alex, both of these products provide him with everything he is looking for in a grass seed. “The MM50 is excellent for the cricket – it stands the mowing and heavy rolling and recovers incredibly well. In fact, both products perform consistently and I never have any problems. It’s as simple as that really – they are good, solid products.”




HELPING TO SOW THE SEEDS OF SUCCESS WHEN YOU’VE DECIDED on the right seed mix, you need a machine to spread it with. The TBS100 broadcaster spreader has wide-profile wheels for superior grip to drive the all-metal gearbox, which in turn drives the spreading disc. The spreader can be fitted with a guard to help control the spread of grass seed. The spread width (2-6 metres) is determined by the forward speed of the towing vehicle (max 10mph). An adjuster lever is set to meter the correct amount of product to be broadcasted. A heavy-duty sieve is fixed into the hopper, and a powerful agitator keeps the grass seed flowing freely. The drive mechanism can be

The TBS100 broadcaster spreader

disengaged to allow the unit to be towed to the spreading area. A ball or towing clevis can be fitted as required.

“A sieve is fixed into the hopper and a powerful agitator keeps the grass seed flowing freely” THE GROUNDSMAN 35




Dr Colin Mumford


Fungicide strengthens plants before disease strikes A PREVENTATIVE APPROACH, which incorporates cultural and biological practices with chemical solutions, is key to producing healthy, stressfree turf and limiting the severity of disease outbreaks later in the season, according to Dr Colin Mumford, Bayer’s technical manager. “When taking a preventative approach to disease control, it’s important not to overlook the importance of enhancing plant health and integrated disease management (IDM),” he says. “Healthy stress-free turf will be


• Targeted Microdochium prevention • Flexible water volumes • Plant health benefits • Quick dry time and absorption • Resistance management • Reduces damage from harmful UV radiation • Provides biotic and abiotic stress reduction


less susceptible to problematic diseases such as Microdochium patch later in the year. “Additionally, with limited active ingredients on the market and the possibility of further withdrawals of curative fungicides, preventative disease management could soon be the only option,” he adds. Exteris Stressgard is a preventative and early curative fungicide that helps control Microdochium patch. “It helps with disease and stress management due to the unique Stressgard Formulation Technology, which enhances plant health allowing superior disease management and visibly healthier turf,” he says. “Stressgard Formulation Technology not only helps with disease management but also improves turf colour and quality, as well as offering drought stress reduction and selective radiation management,” adds Colin. “Prevention will soon be the only cure. Therefore it’s important to implement an IDM programme focusing on a preventative approach, where late post-disease emergence applications are only used as a last resort,” he concludes.

Institute of Groundsmanship

RIGBY TAYLOR HAS been appointed as the exclusive distributor in the UK turf and amenity sector for Bionema’s NemaTrident nematode solutions for the control of chafer grubs and leatherjackets larvae. NemaTrident is a tricomponent solution incorporating a range of highly virulent insectparasitic nematodes within the Heterorhabditis and Steinernema genera. The nematodes attack and destroy the larvae of the insect pests thus preventing future pests from developing. The product is safe, non-toxic to users and consumers, decomposes rapidly and can be targeted at specific pests to avoid harming beneficial insects – providing 70-100 per cent success rates in combating the pests. Environmental consultancy ADAS has calculated that the economic cost of chafer grubs alone is up to £85m a year for UK golf courses. It also highlighted that, on the 40 per cent of racecourses affected by the pest’s damage, lost income could amount to up to £605,000 per course. Technical update: pages 26-27

Chafer grubs can cause huge amounts of damage THE GROUNDSMAN 37


Toro’s Multi Pro 5800-D


TORO’S TURFSPRAYING TRIO OFFERS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE TORO’S RANGE OF turf sprayers ticks all the boxes for groundscare professionals. The Multi Pro 5800-D has an oversized pump – an industry exclusive – to satisfy the highest spray rates, a 300-gallon tank ready for the long haul and a powerful Kubota 36.5hp engine to give the power to perform in the most demanding conditions. If you’re looking for something smaller, the Multi Pro 1750 is one of the most advanced 175-gallon dedicated vehicle sprayers on the market. Every element from the


intuitive control, industry-leading mixing and hill-assist traction is engineered to enhance the vehicle performance and the precision and control of the spray system. Completing the range is the bedmounted Multi Pro WM advanced spray system for Toro’s Workman HDX utility vehicle. It leverages the spray system capability of the Multi Pro 5800, but with a 300-gallon tank. An official UK Toro distributor, Reesink’s Level One Sprayer

Technician Calibration training is perfect for grounds personnel or local authority operators who need to get to grips with the fundamentals of using Toro’s sprayers, covering operation and calibration including controllers, monitors, troubleshooting, routine servicing and maintenance, plus operating sonic booms and agitation nozzles. Further information on Reesink’s training can be found at




Nutrigem 20-20-20 is a mix of seaweed, trace elements and fertiliser

NOW IS THE ideal time to be considering an initial feed. A foliar or soluble nutritional product such as Nutrigem 20-20-20 offers quick results and is also tank mixable with iron, growth regulator or any other early season products. You also have the ability to cherry-pick exact nutrients or trace elements as many of the products are in a mixture of straights or co-forms. Both foliar and soluble feeds are taken up directly through the leaf and will show results within a week, even during cooler spring nights. Nutrigem 20-20-20 contains a unique package of NPK, trace elements and 30 per cent Kelpak seaweed. Nutrigem is ideal as a

standalone fertiliser and has a proven track record of superior stress relief and plant health promotion in lawns and grassland.

The Headland approach... ...not all plant health and nutrition companies are the same

The first step to solving any turfgrass problem is to identify the issues affecting it. Next, it’s essential to understand your needs and requirements before giving any advice and support. Then, and only then, can a structured plan be built to improve plant health and turf quality. But that’s not the end. Our support continues with weather information via ‘weathercheck’ - a forecasting package tailored for the turf industry and mapped to your specific location.



Wetting Agents






Adjuvants & Spraying Aids THE GROUNDSMAN 39



KEEP WEEDS AT BAY WITH SELECTIVE HERBICIDE A A selective herbicide tank mix, which contains T2 Green Pro, Depitox and Duplosan KV, is a tried-and-tested solution when it comes to effective weed control.

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A selective herbicide product will control a range of different weeds, depending on the quantity and type of active ingredients it contains. Each active component contained in the product will control certain weeds but not all. Each has its strengths and weaknesses because differences in the chemical structure give rise to variances in the spectrum of weeds controlled. By carefully formulating products with two or more active ingredients, manufacturers are able to extend the range of weeds controlled.

Sherriff Amenity can widen the range even further to include the majority of species commonly found in turf by using a three-way tank mix of T2 Green Pro, Depitox and Duplosan KV. Each of these components has its own benefits and takes various actions on a wide array of different weed species. T2 Green Pro is formulated from Mecoprop-P, which provides excellent control of clover, and MCPA, which controls weeds with deeper roots such as dandelion and cat’s ear. Depitox, containing 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, tackles common broad-leaved and rosette-forming turf weeds, and Duplosan KV comprises additional Mecoprop-P to help improve the effective management of key annual and perennial broad-leaved weeds.



SIMPLE SOLUTION GROUNDSKEEPERS looking for a solution to combat several common turf weeds in one go could try Redeem, from Headland Amenity, which has gained registration renewal. The triple-active formulation contains Clopyralid, 2,4-D and MCPA, and is effective against many common turf weeds including daisy, clover and plantains. The product works with low application rates, so that low levels of the active ingredients are needed to maintain control of problem weeds. Each three-litre container will treat a hectare of turf, and grass areas can be re-seeded six weeks after application.

“It is effective against many common turf weeds including clover and plantains”

Redeem helps to combat daisies

Redeem can be used in knapsack sprayers and boom-mounted units. It can be mixed with Headland Amenity’s Elevate Fe and Xtend Soluble to control weeds while treating turf with iron and nitrogen. Elevate Fe is one of the few liquid-applied iron products that mixes successfully with herbicides, while Xtend Soluble offers a stabilised, slowrelease nitrogen fertiliser. THE GROUNDSMAN 41



o ad ertise in the assi ed section of The Groundsman please contact: Lee Morris T: 0203 859 7097 E: lee.morris@



0203 859 7097


NEW MOWER MAKES ITS MARK Grounds manager is particularly impressed with the quality of the cut Home to Ik Oddevold and Rössö IF, Sweden’s Rimnersvallen Stadium has recently purchased a Cub Cadet Infinicut 34in mower, and grounds manager Robert Adamsson has been particularly impressed with the improvement in the quality of cut and the turf’s appearance. The battery-powered mower was delivered last spring and the quiet operation of the Infinicut means that

Grounds manager Robert Adamsson

mowing can take place at any time, including when the facilities, which feature an athletics track in addition to the main pitch, are in use by children from the local school. “The whole team has been impressed with how easy it is to use and how simple it is to adjust the cutting position,” says Robert. “The quality of the cut it produces has dramatically improved the appearance

of the pitch, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by the players and the fans.” The Cub Cadet Infinicut has been designed to offer the operator the ability to alter geometry and working parameters to ensure sward consistency is retained, regardless of the time of year or the conditions.


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MARATHON EFFORT SAVES FIELDS Fertilisers help groundsman keep his sports fields green and healthy during drought The sports field groundsman at Beaudesert Park School in Stroud is convinced that Sherriff Amenity’s Marathon fertilisers helped his turf withstand last year’s droughts. The school in Minchinhampton has excellent sports facilities, which include

herri� A enit s arathon erti isers helped to beat last year’s drought

15 acres of beautiful playing fields, and Tim Attwood is in charge of maintaining them all. “I’ve used Marathon fertilisers before and they’ve always worked. They are also semi-organic which ticks a nice big box for me,” he says. The range of Marathon fertilisers features a patented organic complex base that provides the extended release characteristics needed to give gentle root development without producing excessive top growth. The slow-release mechanism avoids soft growth that is more susceptible to disease attack, while the high potassium content helps to harden turf against fungal pathogens and low temperature stress. The analysis has been further amended with ingredients to supply the correct balance of nutrients required by the turf.

Tim incorporates three Marathon fertilisers into a year-round maintenance programme. Applying the product using a spreader behind a compact tractor, and at a rate of 25g/m2, Tim firstly uses Marathon Sport Spring 16.4.8, typically at the end of March. In the midst of a warm July, he will then apply Marathon Sport Summer 10.0.15, followed by the Autumn mixture 7.0.21 in October. “This programme keeps the pitches ticking over nicely throughout the year,” he says. “It greens up nicely, the sward seems to thicken and it lasts for a long time. Even throughout last summer, which was incredibly challenging with the weather, my sports field maintained its health and colour.”


For more information, visit THE GROUNDSMAN 43





0203 859 7097



Grow with the IOG page 46


By now the greens should be producing a very good playing surface. Verticut and groom regularly to help control annual meadow grass seed head production and to produce a more upright growing grass sward. This will also help provide a slightly faster surface without the need to reduce the height of cut. Maintain growth at 5mm, typically mowing four or five times per week. Localised Dry Patch may start to appear this month, however, this condition should not be confused with a poorly developed root system which will also produce a rapid browning and drying of the surface. Aeration should not be neglected.


Use the verticutter and scarifier to continue in thatch removal and prevention of thatch build-up. Weed growth may be a problem due to the weather in May, so consider a selective herbicide application. A light nitrogen fertiliser application may be required towards the end of the month. Immediately a game is finished, try and carry out any minor repairs.


This should be mowed on a regular basis with a ride-on/

pedestrian cylinder mower if possible. Clippings should be collected and removed. Check outfield for broad/narrow-leaved weeds and control if required using an approved selective herbicide. This must be carried out when active growth is present and ground/ climatic conditions are favourable. Repair any worn/damaged areas as soon as possible.


Make sure any end-of-season renovation work is properly maintained. Important maintenance to be undertaken will include: – Regular irrigation; – A light nitrogen fertiliser application; – Oversowing of any areas which look like they aren’t thickening up; – Mow regularly to prevent perennial ryegrass flower stalks from initiating, otherwise this will lead to a thinning of the sward; – Lightly topdress any uneven areas; Try to keep people and animals off the renovated areas.


Now golf is screened on television, golfers now expect greens to be above the normal standards. Consider including a ‘greens’ report indicating improvements that might like to be considered.

Mowing may well be the main task this month, but don’t forget other tasks such as: – Divoting of a couple of fairways; – Regular raking of bunkers; – Divoting of tees and regular moving of the tee blocks/boxes; – Herbicide application to fairways if weed growth is a problem; don’t wait until the soil is too dry.


Routine maintenance work over the summer months will include the following: – Frequent artificial irrigation to produce a suitable firmness of ground for race meetings; – A liquid nitrogen fertiliser may be considered in June for the home straight, show paddock and ornamental lawns around the grandstand area. Alternatively, the whole racecourse might be treated to a light nitrogen application; – Continue to divot and repair after each meeting; – Weed control may be required, especially if none was carried out in May. Continue to mow regularly. Do not neglect mowing on courses that are rested over the summer.


re-firm contact between newly germinated and establishing seeds and the soil profile; – ‘Keep off the grass’ signs for both players and the public!


Constant cutting is advised to thicken up the sward and create effect, also generally cut no lower than 20-25mm so as to create cover for play. Irrigate if possible. 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 for full aesthetic effect. Spray for weeds if required. On the amateur side, if a renovation was completed then a light topping off of the sward may be needed.


The end-of-season renovation should ideally have been completed by now. Post-renovation work will include: – Artificial irrigation, if inadequate rainfall occurs, to aid grass seed growth and establishment; – A light topping of the new sward, being careful not to cut too closely; – A light rolling of some areas to

Roll if there is still a suitable amount of moisture within the soil profile. Avoid rolling if there has been a prolonged dry spell, because there's a good chance the soil surface will crack and crumble. Check nets and winding gears are in good condition. If there are any special events held during June then additional brushing and mowing may be carried out. Verticut and groom regularly, take care around renovated areas, with the blades probably needing to be raised over these areas. THE GROUNDSMAN 45



LEARNING ON THE JOB Matt Richards joined the grounds team at Beversbrook Sports & Community Facility from college and says the IOG’s training courses have helped him to find his feet

By Karen Maxwell Managing editor

Why did you embark on a career in groundsmanship? I hadn’t intended to join a grounds team but when I was at Wiltshire College in Chippenham, I played sport at Beversbrook Sports & Community Facility in Calne, and I got to know the grounds guys really well. When an opportunity came up to join the team, I grabbed it with both hands. What is your working remit at the site? I help to look after 14 football pitches (various sizes), a cricket outfield, a 3G sports pitch and any other outside area requiring maintenance. What’s been your career path so far? When I started my career, I had no qualifications in groundsmanship, but since then I’ve completed a Level 1 training course and a Level 2 qualification in Turf Maintenance and a training course in maintaining 3G pitches, as well as my PA1 and PA6 spraying courses. I joined Beversbrook in August 2015, as part of a three-man team with one head groundsman. When I joined, I was a complete

“I chose the IOG course because it’s really flexible and can be completed at home or at work” KEEP IN TOUCH

Matt Richards


novice and learning the ropes, whereas now I’d like to think I’m more experienced in what I am doing. Why did you choose IOG training? I chose the IOG course because it’s really flexible and can be completed at home or at work. Also, the IOG has a high profile for industry training and is a recognised organisation in this sector, so it’s good to have something like that on my CV. What did you enjoy about the Level 2 Technical Certificate in Turf Surface Maintenance? I enjoyed the fact that the course could be done when I had the time, rather than being set to a fixed timetable. I worked well with my bosses at work and we allocated a couple of days a week. How did you find the course? I enjoyed it a lot, and it was easy to follow with all the help online. I would definitely recommend it to anyone thinking about doing it. The tutors are a great help and respond promptly to emails. What’s your next step with regards to education? I’d like to do Level 3 at some point in the near future, but for now I want to keep building my knowledge and keep doing what I enjoy.


To request your personal copy of the 2019/2020 Learning Prospectus, email and we’ll put one in the post

Institute of Groundsmanship

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