THE INTERNATIONAL AWARD-WINNING MAGAZINE For all sports turf professionals in golf, football, rugby, cricket, tennis, horse racing, independent schools, universities and local authorities
July-August 2020 | Â£4.95
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Under the cloud of Covid-19 Industry uses creativity and resilience to get through public health crisis BATTERY POWER PACKS A PUNCH
GRASS SEED THAT YOU CAN RELY ON
DEALING WITH GLOBAL EXTREMES
16 Freedom of going cordless
32 Tried and tested
42 STRI finds solutions
making turf matter
No guarantees on Don’t forget Sport… today’s planet, but…
The last two months have been a nightmare for many people in certain parts of the country and my heart goes out to everyone dealing with Are you ok? the aftermath of unprecedented flooding and devastating erosion. Thenot best case scenario many is months of temporary living. For I ask, just because I’mfor concerned about anyone who has others, lives never return what they contracted thiswill vicious virus, buttobecause thewere. last three months have the fate of sports grounds and golfin clubs beenWhile as strange as anything I’ve experienced overmight half aseem century and inconsequential in the face of such hardship, we at Turf Matters have that can take its toll. a particular empathy with everyone who has seen years of agronomic Those of us who are trying to keep a job going – me with Turf husbandry literally washed away in the space of a few weeks. Matters – you your sports turf or working for, or running, a It must bemaintaining hoped that banks – the financial institutions, not the company withinedge our sector, are rivers doing –sotake with hand tied behind our things which overflown anone understanding approach backs. to sporting facilities which have been unable to service loans as a result of them being and sojobs, unable to bring in revenue. Or worse still. We areunplayable worried that our livelihoods, are more As we than have they seen have with ever the recent Winter sport has such a uncertain been, or in theOlympics, worst case scenario, have galvanising effect on society and can be the catalyst for so much good, simply gone. that itI’d is like imperative sporting facilities are not forgotten when the What to say to you is hang in there, do the hardest thing – get promised assistance is being allocated. out of bed each morning and face the world but – while that does work, On the issue of improving sporting facilities, we have been and has in the invited past, it offers no guarantees today’s planet. by Briggs & Stratton on to become involved in its Pitch What I will say youcompetition, is that I’ve worked in this industry over 25 for toto Win which provides a £3,000 for makeover years and I can say without feartoofbe contradiction isfootball that it ispitch inhabited by what is judged the Under 18s in most need – find out moreand on ingenious pages 16-17. I amtheir on the people who are practical, adaptable, with feetjudging firmly panel and visits will be made to a shortlist of deserving planted on the ground. pitches Weout will be looking notskills so much If there is any group ofsoon. people there with the and at the DESSO but the desperate! determination to make a job work, or create a new job from what’s left On a final note, I am thrilled by the reception that the when this all shakes down, it is you lot. first issue of Turf Matters received. Many people have To answer my time own question. be ok. taken to say howI know much you’ll they liked the look of the magazine and how they enjoyed the articles. We’re all
pleased you found it to your liking and we will work hard Scott MacCallum, Editor to maintain the high standards. Thank you all very much.
Distributed every two months to sports turf professionals, independent schools, universities, local authorities and buyers of turfcare machinery and products. Editor: Scott MacCallum Distributed every two months to sports email@example.com turf professionals, local authorities Design andof Production Editor: Tim and buyers turfcare machinery andMoat firstname.lastname@example.org products. Customer Relations Manager: Editor: Scott MacCallum Sinead Thacker email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Design and Production Editor: Tim Moat Sales Executive: email@example.com Marie Anderson Sales Manager: Pauline Thompson firstname.lastname@example.org
To advertise in Turf Matters, call Pauline onin07720 055676 or To advertise Turf Matters, email email@example.com call Sinead 07841 927500
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All material © Turf Matters magazine 2020. Turf Matters is published by Straight Down TurfMiddle Matters was awarded Best the Communications Ltd. Writing and Best Design in the 2019 Turf & Ornamental All material © TurfAssociation Matters magazine 2014. Communicators (toca) Awards No partFollow of this publication may be us on Twitter reproduced in any form whatsoever, @TurfMatters either for sale or not, without the written permission of publication the publisher. No part of this mayInformation be reproduced contained Turf Matters is published in any formin whatsoever, either for sale or in good faith and every effort has not, without the written permission been of the made to ensure its accuracy. TurfinMatters publisher. Information contained Turf Matters can accept no anyeffort error is published in responsibility good faith and for every or All its liability for loss, hasmisrepresentation. been made to ensure accuracy. Turf disappointment, or other Matters can acceptnegligence no responsibility for any damage caused by reliance information error or misrepresentation. Allon liability for loss, contained in Turfnegligence Matters ororinother the event of disappointment, damage caused by reliance information contained in any bankruptcy or on liquidation or cessation Turftrade Matters or incompany, the eventindividual of any bankruptcy of of any or firm or liquidation or of trade of any company, mentioned is cessation hereby excluded. individual or firm mentioned is hereby excluded. Printed byWarners WarnersMidlands MidlandsPLC. PLC. Printed by
Scott MacCallum, Editor You can follow me on Twitter @TurfMatters
Inside Inside this thisissue issue News..........................................................4-13 News .........................................................4-15 Tea Break Teaser.......................................14 Pitch to Win........................................16-17 Battery power............................................17 Mowing .................................19-22, 24-27 Under theTeaser cloud......................................29 of Covid-19....22-31 Tea Break All in this together...........................26-27 Gleneagles..........................................30-35 Grass review seed...........................................32-35 BTME ......................................36-41 Getting back to play.......................36-37 Diary of a Golfing Nobody.................42 Compact tractors..............................39-41 As seen on Twitter..................................43 Dealing with global extremes....42-45 Buyers’out Guide. ...................................56-57 Check our .website: Check out our website: www.turfmatters.co.uk
www.turfmatters.co.uk The majesty of Gleneagles, pages 30-35 Next magazine distributed 2 May TURF MATTERS: Natural turf construction, pages 46-50 Next magazine distributed August 2020 Subscribe FREE to our e-zine: Details at www.turfmatters.co.uk
Matters| JULY-AUGUST | March-April 2014 TurfTurf Matters 2020| 3 |3
SIGNS OF THE TIMES ARC have created a special signage solution ready for implementation across golf clubs worldwide. This allows businesses, now including golf clubs, to be fully compliant with the UK Government’s safety and social distancing guidelines. “We’re excited to be launching our golf club and industry-specific packages,” said Darren Moorhouse,” Head of Sales UK and Europe for ARC. “It’s imperative that, on golf’s return, staff and golfers across UK clubs are kept safe, and signage solutions are absolutely the key to that. “We’ve already had significant interest in our solutions from clubs, and as a specialist in public safety measures, we have government approval to install immediately – which means we can get a golf club ready in time for full reopening. “It seems likely that social distancing and other measure will be around for a while.” All materials can be tailored exactly to a club’s needs and environment, including bespoke branding. www.e-arc.co.uk
SALTEX reschedules to March next year In light of continued restrictions surrounding mass gatherings, combined with the unprecedented impact on all of us from Covid-19, the Grounds Management Association’s Board of Directors has taken the unanimous decision to move SALTEX to early spring 2021. This outcome has been guided by discussions with key industry bodies, as well as exhibitors. Like everyone else, the GMA has continued to follow Government guidance, and the science involved, to guide its business during this unprecedented time. Despite early optimism, a decision has been made to move the exhibition to March 2021 – taking into account the best interests of all parties involved. By acting now, it gives the sector an opportunity to re-group and recover
ahead of the next trade show. SALTEX will be now held on 3 and 4 March 2021, and the GMA is also realigning the following year so that SALTEX runs in spring 2022. “This has been a difficult decision to make, and I hope all our exhibitors join forces with us to mark a return to more ordinary working conditions in the not too distant future. Professional and personal lives have been placed on hold, and that in turn will have a knock-on effect. We want to help ease that load at the moment,” explained Geoff Webb, GMA CEO. “We’ve seen the grounds community come together and adapt during this challenging period, and we hope that exhibitors help us host something beyond a trade show – a celebration of what our industry can overcome
Attila AH75 offers solution to excessive first cuts The Etesia Attila AH75 brushcutter offers rideon performance in a pedestrian machine and has been designed to work in the toughest of conditions. This powerful workhorse effectively deals with clearing vegetation
from long grass, weeds, bracken and brambles on woodland paths or orchards. Ease of operation and manoeuvrability ensure total efficiency and high output. At a time when many will be facing excessive
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first cuts, green space professionals – particularly at local authorities and landscape contractors – will find the Attila AH75 a cost-effective solution. It is powered by the Honda GXV 390 engine and fitted with a T3
transmission combining differential lock and front wheel locking system with a simple height of cut adjustment from the new handle bar design which allows movement into offset for use on slopes. www.etesia.co.uk
when working together.” The GMA also believes that holding the 75th SALTEX on 3 and 4 March 2021 will help all companies get the respite required to readjust to changing professional and personal circumstances. “Next year, the event will provide a huge opportunity for our sector to regroup, reunite and celebrate. After this difficult period, the show will help to rekindle the economic activity of the industry. Until then, all our thoughts and support are with those facing the challenges posed by the spread of Coronavirus.” GMA has secured the same halls at the NEC to minimise disruption. It is also in the process of contacting exhibitors with new payment terms, with later dates, and it is also working with companies that may require further assistance. SALTEX@thegma.org.uk
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Industry stalwart Jeff bows out after 46 happy years One of the industry’s best known figures, Jeff Anguige, is taking early retirement after 21 years working with Reesink Turfcare and its predecessor Lely UK, and a total of 46 years serving the turfcare industry. Jeff, 63, began working in the industry straight after leaving college, learning the business working at golf and grounds dealerships and turf machinery manufacturers such as Ransomes. In 1999 he joined the then Toro UK distributor Lely UK, as national Toro Sales Manager, responsible for spearheading sales of its golf course and sports turf maintenance machinery.
At Lely, and latterly Reesink, he has played a leading role in helping develop Toro. “Toro has been the constant in my working life. For over two decades I’ve worked with a brilliant team to help it grow to where it is today – in my view, holding the number one spot for quality with its reputation preceding it,” said Jeff. David Cole, Managing Director at Reesink, paid tribute to Jeff and the role he played with the company. “Jeff has been at the forefront of the Toro equipment success for over 20 years and his focus and dedication will be challenging for the business to replace. I am sure that
the extensive contacts and colleagues Jeff has built up will want to join us at Reesink in wishing him all the very best for a well-earned and enjoyable retirement.” Jeff plans to spend his retirement in his native Yorkshire, with his wife, Julie, enjoying time with his family and grandchildren – and, of course, playing golf! “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working in the industry and am delighted to have been a part of it. It’s a relationship industry and I’ve gained friends for life. I believe it still offers great career opportunities and will watch with interest as the next generation comes through.
“Despite the current difficulties presented by Covid-19, I’m confident that Reesink, Toro and the turfcare industry has an exciting future. I wish it and all my friends and colleagues in the industry every success for the future.”
Delivering a first-class finish
A professional rotary mower which is ideal for sports pitches and lawns.
For more information or a no obligation demonstration call 01332 824777 or visit www.dennisuk.com
Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020 | 5
Pioneering research into wetting agents
ICL and Lancaster University joined forces in 2017 to conduct a first-time research into the effects of wetting agents on plant physiology. PhD researcher Vasileios Giannakopoulos committed himself to the three-year project to find out how wetting agents modify soil and plant relations. The outcomes of Vasileios’ research will be used by ICL as scientific support in the development of wetting agents. “There has been very little similar research, so we have no comparison. It is very exciting,” said Vasileios – also known as Billy. He started his academic career at the Alexander Technological Educational
The involvement of ICL bridged a gap between the industry and academic world. 6 | Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020
Institute of Thessaloniki, Greece, where he received his Bachelor in Agricultural Development and Agribusiness Management. Part of his study was a six month internship at the Nafferton Ecological Farming Group at Newcastle University in the UK. In 2017 where he started as a PhD researcher in Plant Physiology at Lancaster University (Lancaster Environment Centre). “When I returned to Greece and finished my studies, I looked for PhD positions in plant physiology and particularly in plant-water relations. I was interested in Lancaster Environment Centre as it is one of the biggest environment centres in Europe. I applied for this PhD, because the topic of wetting agents on water use efficiency is relatively new and very interesting.” Previous studies on wetting agents mainly focused on how the products mitigate soil water repellency and improve water distribution. But in collaboration with ICL, Vasileios investigated how wetting agents modify the
soil and plant-water relations. It is the first time that such an in-depth research on plant physiology is being conducted. And with growing demand, droughts, and environmental awareness, this research is more relevant than ever. “We are working with ICL’s wetting agents (H2Pro TriSmart, H2Pro AquaSmart, and H2Pro FlowSmart) to look at the effects on water use efficiency and nutrient use efficiency. Wetting agents are now mainly used in the turf industry and are very efficient in fighting soil water repellency and localised dry spots, but with this research we can prove its benefits on a plant physiology level and open doors to other industries as well.” In the past three years many tests were done with wetting agents in the glass house and lab of Lancaster University. Vasileios tested whether wetting agents alter soil water availability, meaning the way water is attached to the soil and the ease with which soil water is extracted. He measured transpiration under elevated evaporative demands conditions – high and low air humidity. He measured root traits – length, surface area and volume and stomatal conductance – the rate of CO2 entering or water vapor exiting the stomata of the leaf. With only six months to go, the research shows promising results. Vasileios found that wetting agents increase root access to water. This could mean that wetting agents optimize drought resilience in plants. If this is scientifically proven, that would be a huge benefit of using wetting agents. Vasileios also found that the stomata of leaves were slightly more open
when a wetting agent was applied. Vasileios: “I noticed that across four different humidities – from high to low – wetting agents increase the transpiration from the leaves of well-watered plants.” Whether wetting agents improve nutrient uptake is not yet scientifically supported, because Vasileios is in the middle of the testing phase. “Apart from the current results, I hope to come with a positive answer on the nutrient uptake soon. When I started this PhD, I didn’t know what to expect as there are no previous studies on this subject, but I am certainly not disappointed with the results.” As a leader in specialty fertilisers, ICL finds it important to invest in research and development and is always eager to gain new knowledge. The outcomes of Vasileios’ research will become important scientific support for the development and responsible use of wetting agents. “ICL is an expert in wetting agents and has a great R&D department. They really know their products and have been very active throughout my research. We have meetings frequently and their advice is an important contribution to my research.” The involvement of ICL bridged a gap between the industry and academic world. Vasileios: “Though I love the lab, this is not the real world. We really benefit from getting input directly from the industry. And it is also good to be reminded of who will benefit from the outcomes of my research: the turf managers, the growers, and the farmers.” www.icl-sf.co.uk
making turf matter
Ten years of Dennis and SISIS seminars Dennis and SISIS are celebrating an impressive decade of groundcare seminars this year. The seminars, are first and foremost, education-based events, supported by expert speakers with both indoor presentations and outdoor practical sessions. The aim is to connect like-minded people where they can find advice, learn new skills and techniques as well as offer fantastic networking opportunities. A large number have significantly benefitted from attending the seminars over the years including volunteers and professionals representing schools, sports clubs, local authorities and contractors. Their humble origins can be traced back long before this ten-year period when both Dennis and SISIS were operating as separate entities and hosted educational groundcare events for their
respective customer bases However, in 2011, SISIS was acquired by the Howardson Group to sit alongside Dennis as a division to provide the groundcare industry with a truly comprehensive range of British manufactured turf maintenance products. This saw a series of seminars addressing a wide range of sports turf topics including a dedicated bowls seminar which took place in North Kessock, Scotland; and a cricket themed seminar which took place at Uxbridge Cricket Club in Middlesex. These early seminars set the precedent and over the years,
they continued to evolve. From winter pitch maintenance, to early spring maintenance; from renovations to soil core clinics – the seminars have, and continue to, offer advice in a number of groundcare aspects. As they grew in stature, support and reputation, so too did the illustrious and extensive list of expert speakers. The expert panel at the most recent seminar held at Durham County Cricket Club’s Emirates Riverside included Vic Demain (Durham CCC), Karl McDermott (MCC, Lord’s), Jim Dawson (BT Murrayfield) and Keith Kent (Head Pitch Advisor to Rugby Groundsmen Connected).
The series of seminars have accumulated some truly astonishing statistics. • 87 venues across the country • 550 hours of education • Expert speakers covering 300 informative sessions • Over 4,800 delegates “I’m extremely proud to be celebrating ten years of groundcare seminars – they have a long history and a great tradition,” said Roger Moore, Sales and Marketing Manager. “The seminars are about attendees getting as much information as they can and making the day enjoyable. They can go away with some excellent knowledge which they can then put into practice on their own sites. Over the years the events have been a tremendous success and I am looking forward to continuing our support for the groundcare community.” www.dennisuk.com www.sisis.com
Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020 | 7
Ninja or Samurai? Agronomic Services has launched new tines which they have imaginatively christened Ninja and Samurai. Named after the Ninja as there is virtually no disturbance to play, as the core diameter is only 4mm. Simply Tine, Blow, Roll and Play can commence, saving time and money. This is a viable alternative to aggressive coring. Machined using a single piece of finest steel which offers reliability, longevity, and strength, just like a Samurai sword. Micro-coring is necessary because it removes organic matter/thatch. This allows the turf to expand, so this creates
aeration into the surface, with all of the benefits of aeration. Micro-coring produces a firm putting surface and also reduces the onset of dry patch. In addition, there is minimal disruption when using a micro core tine such a Ninja or Samurai. Usually micro-coring takes place in Spring and late summer and the specific design of Ninja and Samurai
micro core tines has the advantage of immediate playability, they can be used at any time of the year due to the minimal disruption to the greens. Also, micro core tines are great to use when over seeding. Due to the design and dimensions, Ninja and Samurai tines fit into Toro and John Deere quad
blocks. The aim is to remove the top 20-50mm of organic matter/thatch. The process is very simple, tine, followed by blowing, mowing, rolling and the minimal disruption of the surface ensures players can immediately enjoy the golf greens. Green keeping with the stealth of a Ninja! This is much more efficient, for manpower and due to the quality of the steel typically lasting up to two hectares it is cost effective for the Course Manager. This is a viable alternative to aggressive coring which is much more stressful to the plant and requires a significant recovery time. So, Ninja or Samurai?
The worker is king with the GKB Ecodresser GKBâ€™s Ecodresser provides the user with the ability to dress natural grass sports pitches in a cost effective manner GKB Machines produces machinery which is sustainable, reliable and robust maintenance machinery for natural, synthetic and hybrid turf. Sports pitches often need increased aeration, especially when wanting to create the best seeding conditions. Combining multiple operations into one, the GKB Ecodresser is the ultimate machine for the maintenance of sport pitches and golf courses. With the combination of cutting discs, coulters and fixed tines, turf is intensively aerated while dressing is applied to the 8 | Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020
upper layer and sub layer. Developed in the 1990s with the Council of Rotterdam, the GKB Ecodresser also removes the need to purchase and spread dressing. Extracting the desired dressing soil from the existing upper level, the robust machines uses the dressing soil from the sports pitch to bring the overall cost down. Providing the ability to level imperfections, this impressive machine also carries recycled dressing onto the conveyer belt and scatters it on the desired place. Ultimately, this creates excellent seeding conditions,
improves the drainage conditions and enhances rooting. Equipped with a cutting roller, the GKB Ecodresser also ensures minimal operating damage
to the turf. These adjustable blade rotors extract soil from the upper layer and the heavy-duty rotor is protective with slipping clutches on each blade flang.
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‘Game changer’ at La Grande Mare Campey Turf Care Systems’ Air2G2 GT Air Inject has played a significant role in transforming the greens at the La Grande Mare Golf Club, in Guernsey. When he arrived at his new job two-years ago, Course Manager, Rick Hamilton, spoke to the members about their main concerns and the quality and playability of the greens was top of the list. Because the course is built on marshland, the soil is very silty heavy clay, making it a problematic soil profile to produce a healthy root zone. The dense profile was causing the greens to hold moisture in the winter and hardpan in the summer, meaning there was little control of how they performed throughout the year. From his previous experience in Asia, Rick knew the Air2G2 was precisely what was needed to open up the soil profile and bring life back into the greens. “When I first analysed the greens, I knew we had to take action. It was at the point that when we tried to change the holes, we would sometimes snap the blades in the hole cutter because the greens were that hard,” revealed Rick. “The greens are old, they are 25 to
30-year-old push-up greens, so there is no drainage, and the soil type doesn’t help with that. “For me, the Air2G2 is a game changer. Every now and then over the years, different machines come into the industry, and I would say it is one of those game changing machines. “I brought it over on hire from a dealer in Jersey and went out, and I could hardly get the probes to inject at first because the surface was that hard. But I managed to do it with the deep probe and close spacing to really get through into the greens and loosen them up to get water and wetting agent in,” he explained. “The first afternoon after we did it, the members came out and played and couldn’t believe there was no disruption to the surface at all, and they were surprised with how clean it was. A few weeks later, we had a bit of rain, and we had a competition and the good golfers couldn’t believe how receptive the greens were with the ball holding. “The difference in the greens is massive in terms of playability, root development, the health in the root zone and getting the water to penetrate. And in the winter
when it’s a bit wetter and softer, it helps to release some of the water and get the greens to drain.” For Rick, the impact of the Air2G2 was immediate, and after using his own machine for a year, the difference is obvious for everyone who plays La Grande Mare. Because of the course construction and location, there is an extensive aeration programme in place that sees the Air2G2 used regularly along with needle tining, a combination that has made members the happiest they’ve ever been with the greens.
Every now and then over the years, different machines come into the industry, and I would say it is one of those game changing machines. Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020 | 9
Football is now scheduled to re-start but pitches throughout the country will have received only the
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necessary maintenance to ensure the turf surface is regularly cut and kept in as healthy condition as possible
under the circumstances.. However, one regular inseason practice that has not been required over this period is the marking out of pitches. In such a situation, many of the lines will have been lost and require initial remarking. This practice when undertaken in the traditional way requires at least two grounds staff stringing out and laying down the initial markings. Help however is available through the use of GPS line marking technology with the introduction of the TinyLineMarker Pro, Rigby Taylorâ€™s most technologically advanced line marking robot. It gives sports clubs and
stadia grounds managers major time savings which are achieved with just one operator who undertakes the initial markings of a pitch just as quickly as remarkings. Lightweight and easy to transport, the TLM is particularly beneficial for clubs with a high number of sports pitches, including training grounds and academies, also contractors marking local authority playing fields and schools that have multiple sports played on their surfaces throughout the year. Once the pitch markings have been placed on the tablets map and stored, they are saved for future use and
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Don’t forget your lines Why GPS line marking technology is saving time and is more efficient always ready for remarking; even if the lines disappear from the grass if a pitch has not been used for any length of time. All the lines on the pitch are marked, including for football, all perimeter lines, penalty boxes, the ‘D’, centre circle, corner angles and even the penalty spot…. all with a click on the tablet. Even pitches with fixed posts and sockets can be marked. TLM can mark almost any sports surface including football (all pitch sizes), rugby (both codes), multi- lane running tracks, lacrosse, tennis and American football. All templates are downloaded and stored on the supplied tablet.
Any dimension or regulation changes by international/national/ regional sporting can be updated as required In addition, custom shaped logos and even car parks templates are available. Most recently, templates for the NHS tributes were recently released and used to great visual affect throughout the country. An additional template is now available that features a programme for social distancing. The TLM is 100% autonomous and uses the latest GPS Technology ensure the consistent accuracy of the lines. The TLM when arriving on site can start marking
new pitches right away, both standard and customised and, when partnered with Rigby Taylor’s awarding winning Impact ready to use paint, will produce the brightest, whitest lines. The robot needs no extra equipment and the included control tablet connects, through satellite directly to the machine,allowing grounds managers to position, edit and paint pitches instantly from the tablet. The robot weighs just 35 kg and can be transported by one person. Manual and automatic driving
mode gives the user full control when using the robot. The impact paint used for the line markings is supplied in 10 litre drums and a flow tube is simply plugged in and marking can begin. firstname.lastname@example.org
Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020 | 11
making turf matter NEWS
Multi-seeder boosts efficiency A BLEC Multi-Seeder has improved both the speed and accuracy of overseeding at Kelso Golf Club, in the Scottish Borders. With just Head Greenkeeper James Balmbro and an apprentice to maintain the 18-hole parkland course, the Multi-Seeder has improved the efficiency of their greens seeding programme, with a noticeable improvement in results. Situated within the confines of Kelso racecourse, overseeding is traditionally carried out twice a year across all of the club’s 18 greens. “Our manpower and available budget mean we focus on overseeding following both the spring and autumn renovation season” explained James, who has been at Kelso GC for five years. “Previously, we would simply broadcast seed by hand, or with a spreader, so it was important for us to find a way of making the process and end result more effective, to deliver
the results we wanted to achieve.” The BLEC Multi-Seeder features two, spiked ring rollers to saturate fine turf and amenity type areas with up to 1500 holes per square metre, ready to accept the seed. Re-engineered under the guidance of Redexim, it features a new seed ratio and seed feed system that offers the user incredibly accurate distribution for all seed types. “We’ve used some ultra-fine dwarf ryegrass in the latest operation, but have also had bent and fescue seed running through the Multi-Seeder without a problem. Within seven to 10 days, you can see the seed germinating from the dimple holes – the difference in the uptake we’ve achieved has been massive,” said James. “It’s a fantastic piece of kit that’s super easy to set up and adjust; so userfriendly in fact I’ve had our apprentice out there using it and he loves it! For us as a small greens team, operations all
come down to time so the fact we can attach the unit straight to the tractor’s 3-point linkage and go, is great. We can get all of the greens done in one day with the Multi-Seeder and all without causing any disruption to the surface.”
Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020 | 13
TEA BREAK TEASER
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Tea Break Teaser 1. oilman whistle, 2014 2. pines scanner, 1971 3. bees knots, 2019
Sports Personality of the Year â€“ anagrams!
4. may run yard, 2013, 2014, 2015 5. clam log zinc, 1991 6. choir shy, 2008 7. jets unhorse, 1959 8. baronial shotgun, 1962 9. absorbent fern, 1974 10. dates levied, 1975 11. landlord native, 1984 12. diva earwig in, 1977 13. are jaws ticket, 1973 14. con hero prey, 1967 15. leaning smell, 1986, 1992 Answers on page 57
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RENEWABLE ENERGY BATTERIES
High performance for larger grass cutting jobs For groundskeepers and landscapers looking for a high-performance battery-powered mower, STIHLâ€™s RMA 765 V is the ideal professional solution designed to tackle larger grass cutting jobs. The RMA 765 V is powered by 36V high capacity Lithium-Ion batteries from the STIHL AP system, making it ideal for working in noise-sensitive areas. In addition to this, battery powered tools also offer huge maintenance benefits, removing the possibility of significant machine downtime that can occur on petrol or diesel engines through potential mechanical faults or general wear and tear. As one of the latest additions to STIHLâ€™s range of battery powered mowers, the RMA 765 V boasts an innovative five-speed control panel, featuring an eco-mode and a battery power level indicator to ensure professional users have full sight of the performance of the machine at a quick glance. Designed with strength, weight and protection in mind, the aluminium and polymer hybrid housing features front, side and gearbox protection, as well as the polymer inner housing being impact and abrasion resistant. In addition, the 63cm cutting deck utilises synchronised multi-blades that lift the grass, cut it efficiently and blow the grass cuttings into the grass catcher bag. Additionally, there is the option to retrofit the mower with a mulching kit accessory. Thanks to the optimised design shape and air guide, the 80 litre bag can be 100% filled, while the combination of tear resistant fabric, polymer base and steel frame ensure the catcher box is hard wearing. www.stihl.co.uk
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Pellenc launch latest battery technolgy Extra thin, compact and lightweight, the Pellenc ULiB 750 battery revises all ergonomic standards with an unequalled power to weight ratio. Developed to work with all Pellenc battery tools in the range, the ULiB 750 has a sleek and compact design, weighing less than 4.5kg, making this backpack battery the ideal power source for tree surgeons as well as grounds maintenance professionals. It has a full LCD display on the front of the battery which allows the operator to see power consumed, cost of fuel saved in terms of petrol, the tools that have been used and a battery life indicator. The new battery is also IP54 water-proof rated, meaning that the worry some users have of working in the rain with a battery-powered product is no longer an issue. It also comes complete with the new battery harness designed around user comfort which allows the battery to stand upright when taken off of the operator. Another new feature is that it can be fitted in either direction on to the operator allowing the cable to come out of the top or bottom depending on the type of machine being used. www.pellencuk.com
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New lawns shown
Scott MacCallum gets to grips with EGO’s battery powered mower
s a journalist, I am far more adept at writing about things than actually doing them. A theatre critic cannot be expected to deliver an emotion drenched soliloquy, nor could you rely on a sports writer to produce a smooth Cruyff turn. And so we come to me and lawn mowers. I must admit I’m what Capability Brown would be to feature writing, or Shakespeare to designing a Chelsea Garden. Not the best. However, we have three lawns on our recently-acquired home and, once there is a little heat in the air, that grass does grow. So, I was delighted when EGO asked me to road test their latest battery powered mower – the 42cm cordless self propelled mower – which joined the EGO stable earlier this year. The excitement when the delivery van dropped off the large box was palpable, and, I’ll admit it now, tinged with a little apprehension. How easy would it be to transform the contents of the box into a working lawnmower? The answer? Simple! Even a man of my limited practical means had it up and running in 15 minutes – a more proficient human being would have achieved the same feat in five, but I still saw it as both a feather in my cap and that of the EGO. The mower is beautifully powerful and given that not only was it my first outing with the mower, it was my first attempt at circumnavigating our new lawns. Now I can tell you that while the intricate scallops and dainty satellite flower beds looked absolutely superb on the Estate Agent particulars, when it comes to lawns, I’d far rather have straight up and down squares and rectangles. So much easier. However, we are where we are and
while my first two cuts saw a degree of trial and error on the part of the driver, by the third cut I considered myself to be pretty capable. Those early attempts were characterised by my efforts to control the throttle. The self-propelled element is absolutely wonderful, but a brain has to become acquainted with the fact that the mower won’t stop until you released the handles on the top of the steering console. I haven’t told my wife yet, but the odd area of the border where the shrubs and flowers are a little more dishevelled and scruffy – I’d be inclined to use the word “gouged” – are not the legacy of the previous owners, or next door’s dog, but my failure to adapt quickly enough to the self-propelled nature of the EGO. It can run away with you a little and if one of the wheels slips off the side of the lawn it can leave an impact, in most parts negative, on the vegetation. But once I had mastered both the mower and the lawn I truly was poetry in motion. The speed is controlled by a very simple dial in the middle of the console and this can be ramped up on a straight run – our lawns do possess a few – and reduced when it comes to the more twisty bits. At 42 cm wide it is a nice balance of wide enough to reduce your mowing mileage and narrow enough to negotiate tighter spaces. The grass box, part hard plastic, part fabric, is easily accessible and roomy – is that a word you can use for a grass box? A full box roughly fills a standard black bin bag and it is extremely simple to remove and reattach. All that power I mentioned takes a little bit or servicing and I was pleased that I had been sent an additional 56 volt 5ah battery to complement the 2.5ah battery which came with the mower. Our grass takes around 40 minutes to cut and that would account for the entire life of the smaller battery or around three fifths of the larger – the battery indicator is split into well illuminated fifths so you can see how much you have left – so having a spare battery, which you can have charged and ready
to step in, is extremely useful. I have now used the mower for around half a dozen cuts and it has not caused me a single problem. I’d go so far as to say that it has made cutting the grass a real pleasure and I’ve not gone looking for an excuse for not mowing the lawn – a weather forecast showing even a slight chance of rain would previously have been enough for me to shelve the idea. I’m certainly sold on battery power. My previous mower was a fine electric powered model and unwrapping from clothes poles and deciding which was the better option – a left or right turn to avoid running over the cable were all part of the experience. So, I might not be the finest lawn mower man in the country but, at least, I’ve been able to come to some sort of definitive conclusion as a lawn mower tester! egopowerplus.co.uk Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020 | 17
RENEWABLE ENERGY BATTERIES
Honda in the electric, cordless H
onda remains a force in the UK lawn and garden marketplace, leaning on its global reputation for reliability and quality across a broad spread of products. Much of Honda’s success can be laid at the door of its engines, which are produced in greater volumes than by any other manufacturer globally; powering not just Hondas, but also products of many other manufacturers. Honda is now dedicated to developing equally capable, electrified energy solutions in the face of ever-increasing environmental, regulatory and consumer demands for cleaner products. Responding to these calls in 2012, Honda launched two battery-powered, robot lawnmowers and product development continued at pace. Come 2020, Honda has ten battery-powered products including pedestrian lawnmowers, handheld power tools and robot lawnmowers.
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With more electrified products on the horizon, it’s important to understand Honda’s electrification journey. Clearly, battery power is on the rise with robot lawnmowers being a key driver, as sales of them increased 25% year on year between 2014 and 2018. This trend has seen Honda build up its robot lawnmower range to five models under the Miimo nameplate. Honda’s wave of cordless models has undergone the same strict testing regime as their petrol counterparts, so buyers can be sure battery-powered products deliver the sustained, high performance and robust build quality and durability expected of Hondas. Furthermore, to make good on the perceived benefits of electric power, the cordless products must also be quiet and smooth; run at a lower cost to the user and environment while also offering class-leading features and technology. Delivering battery-powered products
to meet such high standards has seen Honda take a two-pronged approach: • Apply best practice from petrol products • Benchmark against our current petrol products or best-in-class competitors to ensure a premium design is realised. This approach was clear in the development of the izy-ON HRG 466 XB cordless lawnmower, for example. While its high-quality steel, powder coated deck and cutting blade are carried over wholesale from the equivalent IZY petrol model, its battery-and-motor system is all-new. A 1.8Kwh brushless motor of a fanless design ensures current is directed to the blade as opposed to a power-sapping fan, which helps to reduce operating noise, too. Intelligent Hall-sensing technology governs performance to maintain the cutting blade RPM in various conditions. For example, under higher loads, encountered in taller grass, the motor will draw more energy from
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and robot marketplace
the battery to maintain a constant cutting speed, necessary for the best lawn finish. The izy-ON’s batteries – 4Ah, 6Ah or 9Ah capacity – are designed to cope in variable conditions, too. The largest battery, likely the default choice of commercial users, is built for extreme continuous current requirements and can cover up to 730m2 on one full charge, with a recharge time of 77 minutes. The 4Ah, 6Ah and 9Ah batteries makeup the power-supply element of Honda’s Universal Battery System. Each battery can be easily swapped between all of Honda’s cordless, handheld power tools and pedestrian lawnmowers, providing users
with flexibility and practicality benefits. Honda’s range of battery-powered product now extends to two pedestrian lawnmowers (izy-ON), three handheld power tools as well as five robot lawnmowers, all under the Miimo name. Honda has three cordless handheld power tools – a brushcutter (HHT 36), leaf blower (HHB 36) and hedgetrimmer (HHH 36). The leaf blower’s nose-down balance and soft-grip touchpoints help operators to easily and accurately direct the airflow free of the battery. Similarly, the powerful cordless brush cutter comes with a harness, while the hedge trimmer has
a rotating rear handle accommodating natural movements as well as a swiss-made, hardened-steel blade. Two derivatives of the izy-ON lawnmower are available: 41cm and 46cm cutting blades. The latter variant boasts on-off mulching and self-drive for comfortable, smooth and effortless operation. Honda also offers five robotic lawnmowers in the Miimo family, with Small Miimo (HRM 40) and Small Miimo Live (HRM 40 Live) being the most junior members. Combining real time weather data with a grass growth algorithm (based on academic research), Small Miimo Live automatically generates the optimised cutting schedule to manage lawns up to 400m2 in size. Better still, it’ll charge itself and respond to remote control via a smartphone application, in which schedule and status information can be found. Crowning the Miimo range is the HRM 3000. Individually, the robot lawnmower can tackle spaces up to 4000m2 , however the new Multi Miimo systems mean teams of HRM 3000s can be setup to tackle areas as large as three football pitches combined. Honda will continue to diversify its portfolio of battery-powered products. Extensive research has already been carried out into every single petrol product Honda manufacturers to determine the viability of a battery-powered alternative. honda.co.uk
Cordless outdoor kit choices Mark Earles, Business Development Manager at Makita, discusses key factors to consider when selecting outdoor power equipment and introduces the latest products in the Makita OPE range.
ith large spaces and different terrain to maintain and care for, sometimes with restricted access or under time constraints, it is essential that equipment offers flexibility, reliability and productivity. Advances in battery technology mean that today’s cordless machines should form an integral feature of your groundscare equipment, with power that can match petrol alternatives and a wide array of additional benefits.
Why opt for cordless? Opting to use machines that use battery power as fuel completely eliminates the need to transport and handle petrol and
no fumes are omitted during operation making cordless machines a much safer option for operators. Furthermore, zero gas emissions and reduced noise levels will please those demanding a cleaner and quieter alternative to petrol-powered tools. The leading cordless models of today are powered by lithium-ion batteries. Their high energy density means that lithium-ion batteries will work for long periods of time without needing to be charged, affording users with equipment that can reliably cover large areas for longer periods. Lithium-ion batteries can be charged at any time, as they don’t need to be drained down completely beforehand and they do not self-discharge, making it easy to keep track of how much charge your batteries have between use. Equipment can be stored for long periods and will be ready to use at the next session, without delay. Makita has developed lithium-ion
technology further, as part of its LXT platform, to optimise battery efficiency and performance. Makita LXT batteries are able to communicate with the charger via CPU. The charger can identify any issues with the battery, to control current, voltage and temperature and take appropriate action to prevent any damage. For example, if the battery has overheated, the charger will work to cool it down before charging. This optimised process also significantly improves charge times and, subsequently, productivity on site as downtime is reduced. An 18V LXT battery can be charged in as little as 22 minutes (for 3.Ah batteries), and up to 55 minutes (for 6.0Ah batteries). For even more power and run time, Makita has developed Twin 18V LXT technology. Twin } Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020 | 19
RENEWABLE ENERGY BATTERIES
...increased run times and charge times with no petrol or cord needed, keeping you working disruption free for longer. } 18V machines utilise two 18V LXT
batteries in series to supply energy to the powerful 36V DC motor drive system.
Brushless Lawn Mowers The latest additions include one new aluminium deck (DLM533) and three new steel deck models (DLM462, DLM530, DLM532) offering cordless solutions capable of cutting up to 2,300m2 area depending on the model. The new machines provide different cutting width options of 460mm and 530mm and all feature 10-step height adjustments between 20mm-100mm for different turf applications. They also feature a built in mulching option and a large grass collection bag with a useful indicator. The new mowers have been designed with durability and productivity in mind. The models are all powered by Makita’s Twin 18V LXT battery technology and to
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extend run times further, these machines can be fitted with four batteries. Once one set of batteries has discharged, the manual battery selection allows you to change over to the second set simply by flicking a switch.
Brushless Hedge Trimmers With a single sided blade, the 18V DUH604S and DUH754S high-power single sided hedge trimmers provide the user with safer application, and the inclusion of automatic shut off (if the machine is not operated for 60 seconds after being turned on) ensures additional protection. These machines can easily tackle mature growth, thick branches and hedges and the blade profile design offers smoother cutting. The new hedge trimmers also include three speed settings and a reverse switch and are supplied with swarf plate as standard to prevent clippings dropping into the hedge.
Brushless Linetrimmers and Brush Cutters The new Twin 18V Linetrimmer (DUR369L)
and Brush Cutter (DUR369A) are both powerful machines. They operate using a 1kW motor - equivalent to a 33cc 2-stroke engine machine and include Makita’s Automatic Torque Drive Technology (ADT), which adjusts the RPM according to the density of the weeds and Active Feedback Sensing Technology (AFT), that shuts down the tool to protect the user if the rotation speed suddenly slows down. Alternatively, when working across large areas, the UR101CZ and UR201CZ are ideal, as these can be used with Makita’s PDC01 portable power backpack. The PDC01 can hold up to four 18V batteries, to double or even quadruple run times depending on the tool being used. The batteries are also interchangeable, allowing you to replace discharged batteries and continue working. With Makita’s LXT range of cordless machines, you can rely on increased run times and charge times with no petrol or cord needed, keeping you working disruption free for longer. www.makitauk.com
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Overton in touch with the times T
he start to the 2020 grass cutting season will go down as one of the most difficult on record, following on from possibly the wettest autumn and winter we have ever experienced, Covid-19 appeared bringing lockdown and supply issues. Despite all of this, Overton (UK) have had a positive start to the season with their range of Mean Green Electric Mowers. During this wet period Overton were able to conduct demonstrations on the sodden ground due to the low ground pressure and weight of the Mean Green mowers – an advantage over conventional fuelled mowers. These benefits were taken into consideration and helped Overton win orders for use in some prestigious local authority contracts. There are many advantages – the lack of noise being the most noticeable, followed by minimal servicing, very low HAVs and WBVs and zero emissions. When you start looking at the figures and actual costings, this is where you really see the difference. Initially the Mean Green Mowers seem more expensive but it has to be taken into consideration that as they
come with batteries, this is your “fuel” that you are purchasing up front. In the long run you can recoup the additional cost in quite a short time, followed by ongoing savings. There is also the savings to be considered in terms of maintenance as the electric commercial mowers don’t have any belts. The Mean Green Mowers also have the added bonus of long working times – up to seven-hours per charge, optional frontend blower, Tweels and road light kit. Overton (UK) have appointed a number of long established and forward-thinking dealers in the groundcare sector; however, several more interested dealers have put on hold moving forward until the current situation improves. It is very encouraging that the groundcare dealers and contractors are now seeing the benefits the Mean Green range of electric mowers and it will be interesting to see how the reduction in noise and pollution, witnessed during the pandemic, will affect future decisions of councils and businesses in the future. With the new normal coming into effect we are finding an increased interest in our range of lithium-ion battery powered
vacuum litter collectors. It is now simply unacceptable for a cleaning operative to walk around picking up cigarette ends and broken glass with a litter stick – fast, clean and efficient methods are needed and as the public start to congregate more and more, these solutions need to be in place. www.overtonukltd.com
CXR with front blower
COVID-19 TURF MAINTENANCE NATURAL
The last three months have been traumatic and many of us will have lost relatives, loved ones, friends and colleagues to the awful Covid 19. We are far from out of the woods, and may even have to endure a second wave, but there does seem to be some light at the end of the tunnel. What has been super to see during it all has been the manner in which our industry sector has adapted. Over the last six weeks Turf Matters has conducted a series of Zoom interviews with people across all facets on the industry and what has come across has been the professionalism and desire to ensure the best outcomes for staff and whatever their day job entails. To see the interviews in full, visit the Turf Matters YouTube channel.
James Pope, Grounds Manager St Paul’s School, London (Just appointed Grounds Manager Charterhouse School) April 27 Central London, where we are based, is the epicentre of the virus. It is surreal. As we speak, we should be right in the middle of the cricket term. We’d 1,400 boys here in full flow. It’s a busy site. 45 acres of sports turf, but the boys aren’t here, the teachers aren’t here. The school is on a skeleton staff. It has given us the chance to get on with our work without time frames and limits, which is nice. But for what purpose, or what end goal? We have a staff of seven for the grounds and gardens and we are continuing to carry out essential work with three on one day and four the next and alternating. Obviously, we are not sure when the boys are due back or what sport they are going to be playing when they do get back. It is difficult for us as our winter 22 | Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020
sports pitches overlap our summer pitches. We can’t start preparing for football and keep cricket operational. So, we are a little in limbo. We are just keeping up the essential maintenance, cutting, and using a lot of Primo Maxx just to slow the growth down. We have put ourselves forward to do a lot of the clear-up work after the completion of a big building project at the school. Lawn reinstatement and everything associated with it, plus a new artificial pathway outside one of the pavilions, will save the school some costs and keep us busy. Everyone is on a rota. If anyone was to contract Covid the chances are that we’d all get it as we work in close proximity – tea breaks are shared and there is added pressure to make sure we are sanitising everything and not working too closely together. It is a different scenario for us and really management of turf has to be put on the back burner in favour of people’s health and well-being. Staff welfare is number one priority. If schools do come back before the
end of the academic year, I can’t see us competing with other schools visiting schools in the local area. I think that view is echoed by senior management here. The risk is not worth taking.
Graeme Beatt, Course Manager Royal Portrush GC, April 30 On our side of things we are managing OK. There are seven of us at the moment, plus a part-timer. Members and visitors are completely gone for this year. We were fully booked or the year and the members were looking forward to the season too. It is only golf and there are a lot more serious things going on at the moment, but the golf course and a game of golf is something people look forward to all week and that has been taken away. We are managing to keep the course tidy and have replaced a lot of pedestrian mowing with ride-ons and replaced lightweight fairway mowers. Previously it was five people out
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Under the of Covid-19 mowing one course. That’s a one man job now with a larger, heavier machine. We have lost a little bit of quality, but we will get that back before the golfers return. At this time of year we’d be doing a lot of overseeding and top dressing but that eats up staff – five or six people – so all that has just gone by the wayside. It will be the autumn before we can do any work like that. We did get most of our winter projects completed and it is just a case of keeping things ticking over. We were quite quick to put policies in place with lunch breaks, lots of hand sanitiser; wiping down equipment before they used it; wiping down lunch room after every use etc. Because we have quite a big team we split them up so we had five different lunch rooms, so we could manage better. We had the old greenkeeping sheds for half the staff and the new sheds for the other half. It was actually a relief when some of the staff went off on furlough. Some had health issues, so it worked well for them. I chatted with staff and some asked if they could go off and the ones who are here volunteered to be here because they didn’t have family members with any issues. The more people you have the more vulnerable everyone is. Now there is just a few of us, we can social distance more easily. We are not taking lunch or tea breaks, just having shorter days. Everyone meets in the sheds in the morning and are issued with jobs and everyone is keeping the same equipment. Each member of staff will have two or three
different jobs on two or three machines and no-one else would be on those machines. Feels strange, but we are managing. We were talking to other clubs about government guidelines, while our General Manager has been very good at keeping us updated. We wracked our brains to work out how best we could do it and we were on it from the start.
Helen Griffiths, CEO Fields in Trust, April 27 We are based in London so we see first-hand the exceptional times and importance of open spaces and park and the valuable nature of it. Also, perhaps a little bit of trepidation about number of people using them when perhaps they shouldn’t be. We do have split feelings. It has reinforced just how valuable parks and greens spaces are the health and well-being of communities. They are so important to the health of the nation. We are not all experiencing this crisis in exactly the same way, so if you are living in a very dense urban area and don’t have any private outdoor space, then the parks and greens spaces are even more crucial than for those of us who are fortunate enough to have some green space of our own that we can use without the
restrictions. Without question, parks and green spaces are hugely valuable to all of us. We are all realising just how important they are and how much of the current commentary is around parks and green spaces and ensuring that people still have access to them. In the main, local authorities have done a really good job in ensuring that these valuable community assets do stay open. Not everyone is observing social distancing when they are using the spaces. They are spending more time in them than they should, but it is an incredibly difficult balance to strike. We are currently completing a survey to understand park usage – are people using parks more as a result of the pandemic, perhaps unable to go anywhere else, whereas previously they might have gone swimming or used gyms? For others used to using a park multiple times a day, perhaps people with small children, we are seeing a decline. We are trying to establish what the trends are. It might be a positive message out of a very difficult }
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We are preparing a course, but no-one is going to turn up and that’s tough to get your head around. } situation. We must recalibrate
what our expectations are for parks and green spaces when thinking about budgets being directed to health and social services. We have got to see parks and green spaces as part of the overall health service and unless we give them that sort of priority, we are going to continue to be very challenged. As a non-statutory service, we are at the bottom of the pile when it comes to a share of the very competitive funding. What we have got to recognise is that we have been making the argument not to limit parks and green spaces just to be part of the parks and green spaces department, but we need to see them as absolutely pivotal to a whole range of other, really significant, public service agendas. Parks and green spaces can play a really valuable role in offsetting some of that drawn further upstream.
Lee Marshallsay, Grounds Manager Charterhouse School (Just appointed Grounds Manager Eton School), April 28 The school is closed to pupils on site, but still very much open for on-line teaching to our pupils across the world. It would be easy just to do nothing, but we are working with a living plant which does need work and if we don’t do something it is going to possibly be more costly and take more manpower to get it back to how it should be. We’ve got a reduced team of people in each day, staggering start and finish times. We plan what we are going to do on our 250 acre site – various outfields, football pitches, and so on, as well as a golf course. We have taken the normal plans and just reduced what we are doing on a day-to-day basis. We are still cutting greens every day, but when it comes to outfields, it is once a week, perhaps twice, depending on growth. We have gardens as well and what we are trying to do is pick areas to work on, where teams can work in a safe environment. Just trying to do the minimal maintenance that can keep us going and get us through and so that we can get back to where we need to be. For example, we have raised our 24 | Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020
height of cut from where we usually are. We had a couple of football pitch renovations to finish off, which we have done. I’m very lucky here as the team have a sense of pride and whatever job they are doing they want to carry it out was well as possible. Even if we are only cutting once a week, they want to make sure that it is striped up. We are not preparing cricket wickets for boys and girls to be playing every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday for example. Preparing a golf course, but no-one coming out to play. We are not changing tee and pin positions, we are just cutting greens, tees as they are and fairways – rough isn’t being cut every week, it’s been cut every two or three. We are preparing a course, but no-one is going to turn up and that’s tough to get your head around. You are taking your time a little bit more because you are not having to rush around to get things done. Safety of staff has always been paramount at all times, but Covid-19 is an extra bit to think about. We’ve put in place limited staff each day. All staff have to wear disposable gloves; all equipment is wiped down with Dettol each day and after each use; we’ve got hand gel all around; reduced the number of people in the tea room at any one time and there are other areas they can use. Most people, if they are on a machine, will be on that machine for the whole day therefore movement is limited. So, we’ve put everything in place that we can to create a safe environment. To make sure our staff are safe, but if they do have any concerns we hopefully have already addressed them but if we haven’t, we need to act on those concerns as well. Very little has come back from the team. They believe that they are safe and I don’t think there is anything more we can do as a school. A lot of the rest is common sense, social distancing two metres apart and that is what we are doing. I’ve told the team that if they feel people are getting too close, just ask them to take a step back. We are all going to reflect on how we worked before and how we work going forward. I think hand gel will stay, whether disposable gloves will stay I’m not sure. Keeping people on certain machines. I just think the
whole world is going to be a little bit different and who knows what the new normal is going to be like?
Chris Clarke, Chairman of Rigby Taylor, May 6 We’ve adapted to the current environment, and we will adapt again as it relaxes, no doubt. It is difficult and trading is difficult. That’s the case for everyone in the industry, both on the supply side and for our customers, so we have adapted by putting in safety procedures – distancing for example. We’ve furloughed staff to reduce our resources to match the demand. We are still taking what I consider to be a reasonable number of orders, which is good. It is about doing the right thing. We are protecting our employees, we are protecting the community at large and we are meeting the needs of our customers as well. The furloughing scheme has certainly helped us along. It’s not the full answer by any manner of means, but it is a really big help and allows us to flex and do what it is meant to do and that is preserve employment for the future. We will be here in the future, without a doubt. Many of our customers are key workers. We are still fully operational in our factories, so from our customer point of view it is business as usual, the delivery system works fairly well, carriers are still active. Some things we can’t get but anything that is made in our factories is very much available. We’d all like to be back to normal and relaxation might be just around the corner in a couple of weeks. Maybe golf will come back on soon, but distancing is still going to be key to that to avoid a second spike. Business is not going to just spring back to normal. It is going to be a long road out. Probably looking to nine to 12 months before we are away from this, if indeed it ever does return to normal We have a senior management team which looks at things on an on-going fashion. We are looking at controls we can put in place for better protection, expanding our
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operations while keeping the safety as a paramount goal. We work at that all the time. Video conferencing has become a big part and we probably meet more now than we did before, ironically, because it is so easy to do. We can be quite nimble, which is key in this environment. With budgets inevitably reduced it will impact on everybody’s profitability, stability and sustainability going forward. Some businesses and customers’ businesses may not make it. We’ve got to be real about that. It is going to be a fact of life. It is going to be difficult from a trading point of view going forward.
David Withers, Managing Director of Iseki UK, MAY 7 None of us have ever lived through anything like this, so it is new for all of us. March 23 was a turning point. The first eight to 10 weeks of the year were slow but vaguely normal, but when lockdown came into play it was like flicking a switch and the market, fundamentally, just stopped for a while. It has been difficult, it has been challenging, but it has been an opportunity for us to try new things. There are some paddocks near where we live and we’ve being doing virtual demos, which a member of my household films on an iPhone. We edit them and put them online and we are getting thousands of views and we’ve even had half a dozen people buy machines off the back of it. We are obeying all the rules, keeping the workforce safe, encouraging our dealers to keep their workforces safe, but at the same time trying to keep some sort of contact with people and try something new. Those big traditional companies with huge balance sheets can afford to live through a long period of disruption and losses. The smaller companies are potentially more nimble, but less strong on the balance sheet, trading for less period of time with reserves built up over many years. There are plusses and minuses to both, but take as an example the demos we’ve done. You’d never have been able to do that at one of the big companies, because legal would have to be involved, HR would have to be involved and the results would not be professional or good enough for them. But for us, as small company, we can adapt quickly. We decide if it’s good enough. If it is, that’s fine, we go with it. We have an experienced
management team with a breadth of knowledge as well as a depth. With the bigger companies you often have a lot of depth, but not much breadth. You have people who know a lot about a little, but what we have, our guys are very experienced and have been in the industry for a long time who all know about the product, the business, distribution, sales, marketing. While I have furloughed people off, the people who are still here have got that breadth to keep things going. We are all just mucking in. I was actually picking parts earlier in the week. The government’s messaging is mixed. You hear “Stay at home, Protect the NHS, Save lives” about 150 times an hour, but periodically you also hear them say if you can’t work from home, you can go to work. There were certain prescribed industries told to close – retail, pubs, clubs, restaurants but actually dealerships were told to shut showrooms, but allowed to keep workshops open because people need machinery fixed. We support some of the big infrastructure companies who cut the trees and shrubs, which keep the power lines clear. Food and dairy production buy our tractors, so surely we want these guys to keep going. We were not one of those who were told to close so we did find ourselves in those first three weeks thinking we need to do as little as we can, stay home etc, and over these last few weeks we felt that if people did need parts from us, we should be able to provide them. Personally, I think we will be under some degree of restrictions right the way through this year. That has been our take on life. Once we got our heads round the idea that it wasn’t going to be a three-week thing and then everyone back to normal, the V shape that they talked about then, you have to say this is the ‘new normal’. How can we serve our customers and give them the support and service they require in this new normal? I’ve written our new guidelines as to how we do demonstrations and deliveries going forward. There is a way of delivering and demoing machinery which hits all the protocols but allows the machines to be delivered and installed. Our Japanese owners are really good. Their main priority is safety of employees. They actually sent us a lot of PPE – gloves, masks etc – from Japan without being asked. We are working with them on the financial
implications as we are definitely selling a lot less than we planned, and so have a lot more inventory that we planned. They’re working with us on how we manage that. I think this will be a sea change for the industry. It will be years before the industry gets back to the levels of activity that they were prior to this. People have learned that they can get by with less, whether that be less staff, less machines, less whatever. You always find at these times what is nice to have and what is absolutely essential. The same happened during last recession. People learned they could run machines for longer and manage with fewer of them.
Les Malin, Managing Director of Etesia UK and President Elect of the AEA, May 15 With the reduction in staff at the moment I’m finding that I’m doing 90% of everyone else’s job! It could be parts, it could be forklifting, it could be invoicing. You need to be a Jack of all trades. Having European owners of the business, as well as colleagues down in the south with Pellenc, we encountered some of the issues fairly early on as France was struck by the virus earlier than here in the UK. They are still in a lockdown situation in France, regardless of what you hear with a reduced working relationship. The majority of the Etesia and the Pellenc staff are still furloughed – or the French equivalent of furlough – which is even more strict than ours. When working from home they have set times when you can and can’t do anything. For example, you can work on a Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, but not allowed to do anything for the rest of the week. So, it is challenging when you are trying to work with people. I had to look at which staff can come in and which staff were needed to service the dealers and where there were dealers to be serviced. In the first two or three weeks there were very few people open or expecting us to be open. I was sitting in the office }PAGE 28
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THE INDUSTRY STANDS TOGETHER
CONTROL THE VIRUS
CORONA We at Turf Matters are well aware of the impact Coronavirus Covid-19 is having on every aspect of our lives. It is something that has not been faced by any of us in our lifetimes. We are all trying to get through the next few weeks and months as best as we can. Keeping working, if we are at all able to, helps retain some sort of normality in what are anything but normal times. We are a small, close-knit industry which is good in so many ways. We always have someone to call on while help is always there when needed. In other ways it is not so good, however. Being small makes us more vulnerable and we can lack the resources which help bigger industries cushion themselves through hard times. It can be a hand to mouth existence, something weâ€™ve seen when weather extremes have impacted on various elements of our industry.
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AVIRUS It all means we must stick together wherever possible. For that reason we at Turf Matters are giving a shout out to all our partnering companies. We wish you all well over the difficult times ahead. You can be assured that Turf Matters will be with you, side by side, through it all. We not only have our health to protect but our futures and we will provide all the help we can to showcase the work you continue to do and perhaps shine a light on the wonderful, often behind the scenes acts of kindness, for which our great industry is known. Let’s take care, let’s stay well, let’s stick together, let’s get through this. Scott MacCallum Editor
Turf Matters | MAY-JUNE 2020 | 27
I think the biggest problem is gauging when the time is right when many people are still dying. PAGE 25
} with no calls coming in from one
day to the next. In fact, the majority of calls I had early on were from end users struggling to find dealerships open because when people rang the numbers and they were open, the telephone message was telling them that they were closed. I’ve had four containers arrive from France in the last four weeks and everything has gone out the door which I was very pleased about because, I must admit, when the lockdown started I really expected a lot of orders from local authorities to be cancelled. Usually if an order is not with them by March, with April budget-setting you often see a cancellation. And not a single order has been cancelled. Grass cutting is not seen as the most important thing to do and workers who normally cut the grass have been taken away to do other jobs. In a lot of cases, the grass is not considered a priority, but as the weeks have gone it has had to be tackled again and they have had to adapt to how they need to do it. So that’s been good news for us. From the Etesia point of view, I think everything will have to change in the way we operate, both from the manufacturing side in France and the way we operate in the UK. I don’t believe things will go back to how we saw as normal for at least this year and even into next year. And I don’t see it happening as we did things in the past. From a manufacturing perspective we’ve run the “just in time” manufacturing process, but we’ve found issues where everything comes to a complete stop if we can’t get components from a supplier. A lot of suppliers, who we rely on, are not in business at the moment, or have shut the doors completely. We may have to look for new suppliers. So, I can see the supply chain becoming a lot slower for the next six, nine months, perhaps even a year. On the AEA, I’m probably the first President-Elect to come into the role with so many
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Gary Barwell, Head Groundssman at Edgbaston, May 26 Last year was an amazing summer for English cricket. England won the World Cup and we had an Ashes Tour. Then we had a very wet winter and we were all worried, then we started hearing the news about coronavirus and it wasn’t good. Then it got worse. A lot of people up and down the land are making decisions that are a lot more complex than mine, but
we are trying to do our bit in really trying circumstances. It is a special team here at Edgbaston. There are nine of us on the ground staff and Warwickshire have been absolutely outstanding in keeping us informed every step of the way. We took the decision that the ground was going to be shut down, which meant my team of nine basically went down to a team of two, including me. It was the best solution for the club and for the safety of the staff. Since then we have just cracked on, like a lot of grounds up and down the country. We’ve all been doing our bit. I was on my own here for five weeks, which was very different and took me back a long time, to when I used to work at a club cricket ground in Leicestershire, at Hinckley. In a strange way, you know, you fall back in love with what you do. It was a strange distraction in a very serious situation for the country. Then after about five weeks it became evident that it was quite hard work on my own, so I mentioned to the club that I’d quite like my deputy back. That was about two or three weeks ago. We then got the news that the bowlers were coming come back into training. I didn’t think I’d ever really hear myself saying it, but that was great news as it meant a little bit of normality. It’s a very different work environment. My deputy and I are never together, we chat from a distance and the measures we can take here are in place so it’s a different world and different time. Starting cricket again divides opinion across the country and that’s for other people to discuss. I think the biggest problem is gauging when the time is right when many people are still dying. The ECB have been very good at taking their time and looking at the schedules. It was originally to be 1 June, but then they realised that wasn’t realistic and it got pushed back another month. They weren’t bombarding you with silly data, they were just explaining what they hoped to do. I do hope we see some cricket. I don’t know what that will look like, but it would be a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel With no players around, it’s probably the best the square has ever looked. This morning we’ve groomed out and verticut. I’ve cut the square and my deputy has cut the outfield.
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If you’d asked me what Zoom was before I’d have said that it was a lollipop, but it’s very easy. Once a week have a drop in. Half an hour on a Wednesday the team has a chat. We go around the windows and we all just say what we have been up to. We’re all people in the same boat and we’ve constantly stayed in touch. Mental health awareness is a big issue at the moment and actually, what it’s all about is having a chat, talking rubbish and putting the world to rights.
Geoff Webb, CEO GMA, May 19 On the day the GMA announced it was moving Saltex to March 3 and 4, 2021, Turf Matters was joined by Geoff Webb, CEO of GMA to discuss the move. Turf Matters: We’d all hoped that at the beginning of November, things would be better and the NEC would no longer be used as a Nightingale hospital – but the GMA couldn’t really take the risk, so now you’ve given everybody a little bit of certainty by moving to the new dates at the beginning of March next year. Is that fair assessment? A very accurate assessment. If we go back in time, to the end of February, we weren’t even contemplating a move from November, or anything to do with having to move SALTEX. We were actually enjoying the bounce of 2019. It was our most successful sign up since we moved to the NEC. So, what has transpired in the last two months has just turned the entire industry on its head. Like everybody else, we were waiting and hoping for some positive news from the prime minister a few weeks ago. But for large scale events like Saltex there wasn’t any movement and no real clarity about when the lockdown would relax. There was literally nothing there that we felt was positive enough to be able to continue. We took some soundings just to really get a flavour for what the mood was. Even in the past few weeks the mood has shifted significantly and we just felt that it was really the safest move to make in terms of making sure that everybody feels safe and confident that they can go out and thoroughly enjoy a trade show. People need to feel that they are
getting value whether they are visitor or the exhibitor market, so we took the decision to move to the spring dates. We went to the NEC and negotiated what we hope is a good deal for everybody. The Board and I haven’t sat in the room together since the February board meeting. We’re about to have our next board meeting tomorrow which will be by Zoom. Everything’s being done remotely. In terms of making that decision, we just wanted to act responsibly and with clarity. Everybody can see what’s happening. At the moment there is a Nightingale hospital in the NEC which is part of the national network, and we will obviously support that network to keep people safe but I think really it was becoming the common sense option. It will stretch us financially, because we are literally moving our cash flow by four full months. It probably wasn’t the accountant’s preferred decision, but we feel it’s a responsible decision for the industry. We did look at the November date line for coming back into line in 2021, but we ruled that out for really obvious reason that it would be irresponsible for us to ask the market to put their hands into the pockets twice in one calendar year. We just didn’t feel that was right, so that’s why we’ve secured 2022 dates as well. We see the spring dateline as working well as you get the transition across for winter and summer sports. It doesn’t come without risk, but we feel that this is a responsible course of action to take and we hope both visitors and exhibitors will see the merits. We’ve been calling every exhibitor on our list during the course of today and the reaction has been positive. With other shows in the early part of the year in the UK and in the States, part of the reason we moved to the March date was that, in effect, we’ve moved as far away from that calendar date line as we think is possible
and feasible to still run a successful domestic show in the UK. One of the options we did have was earlier in February, but we ruled that out because we felt it was too close to the other shows If there are companies for whom the new dates don’t work, we will work closely with them to come up with some sort of arrangement. We have a list of FAQs and if companies do feel that it may be a struggle, I’d ask them to talk to us. We will look at each company on a case by case basis. I can only say that that we’ve been on calls all day today and overwhelmingly the response of being positive Beyond 2021, the honest answer is that we will review, and talk to the marketplace before making an informed decision based on how March goes. We felt that it’s the right thing to do to give the clarity needed as I said earlier we didn’t feel it right to get two bites of the cherry in one year given the impact on the entire industry and the sector so, about 2022, we know the dates – beyond that it’s probably another negotiation with the NEC and we’ll see where we get to at that point. }
it’s a responsible decision for the industry. Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020 | 29
starting A new business and everything that goes with it has been an emotional rollercoaster anyway. James Buckholt, BMS Products Managing Director, May 22
The Contactless Ball Extractor is an ingenious device with helps resolve one of golf’s Covid-19 problems – what to do with the one thing every golfer touches during the course of a round – the flagstick. Its inventor is James Buckholt. It’s a device which slides over the top of the flagstick to allow the golf ball to be extracted from the hole without touching the flag. You lift the device up using your putter head, the ball drops out of the cup onto the green and the player can pick it up safely well away from the hole. The inspiration came not only from Covid-19, but also from the recent rule changes which allows the flagstick to remain in the hole while players putt out. Since the change there’s been several other companies that have created devices for lifting the flag steps with your hand so he can retrieve the golf ball around waist height not having to bend down and pick it up from inside the golf hole. We hadn’t done anything ourselves up until that point but we were contacted by a couple of local golf courses who know what we do in so far as product design and production, who asked if we could come up with something that was similar, but allowed the member to retrieve the golf ball without touching anything. We are fortunate that we do cover R&D and engineering in-house, so taking an idea from paper through to finished product is something that we’re quite proud of. We don’t rely on any other third party, but a small team of around 25, including a selection of engineers. So the two or three of us that were floating around during the start of the
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Corona lockdown got down to work. We did some drawings and some CAD modelling which were turned into machinable parts on our lathe milling machine. We built a prototype and took it to our friends at Woburn Golf Club. The first versions didn’t work as well as hoped so we went back to the drawing board, literally that same day. Then the following day there was another version. Within the space of two or three days, we’d gone from concept to finished product. We’re proud of the fact that we brought a lot of the manufacturing back in house for British manufacturing companies – we haven’t got to rely on some far eastern production facility. We’ve been in touch with the R&A and there have been discussions around the implementation of temporary provisions for rule changes and things that allow people to make local rules based on similar devices. We’ve tried to create something that can comply with the rules as near as possible. It includes elements like the ball drop distance being over three inches from surface, so it falls into the hole correctly, and also the distance of three inches above the surface this complies with that. It’s also just below 90 millimetres in diameter, so it still complies with the diameter of the flagstick rules, and it’s made from a material that does not absorb the full impact and doesn’t provide cushioning. We’ve gone through all the little details like that, to try and comply as best as possible. We’ve received a lot of positive comments and people saying that it looks like a great gadget and an ideal way to get the game going again. We’ve had to bring in additional staff that may have been furloughed and we’ve even been splitting the shift and doing 12 to 14 hour days, just simply to keep up with demand. I’m looking at secondary machinery and equipment – we’ve got raw material suppliers on board that are fairly local so to try and combine all of the logistics of production from raw
material through to getting into our house building, which has equally been challenging. We shared thoughts on WhatsApp on what we should call it and Contactless Ball Extractor came out top of the list but if anybody wants to think of a better name for it I’m always ready to listen – Editor’s suggestion “The Buckholt”.
Reece Watson, Founder and Chief Technical Officer of RAW Stadia, May 29 It’s very hard to plan for a pandemic in a financial crisis, but starting the new business and everything that goes with it has been an emotional rollercoaster anyway. So this is just part of another bit of that emotional rollercoaster. It’s been an enjoyable first year and we’ve been able to focus on the successes that we’ve had and I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve pushed myself. We’ve got a great team and we are doing some great things so I’m very proud of where we are at the minute, pandemic or not. It is what it is, but we would just like to carry on. The established model has been that pitches would be tested four times a year, or a maximum of once a month, whereas we’re focusing on a model of providing the equipment and the training to test, so the staff can do it themselves. We have the software platform which backs up all data and we can also carry out remote consultancy. We see data as being a crucial part and we show customers how to monitor that data correctly and use it in the right way. RAW has a strong continental European flavour. I like to network and share ideas and that’s exactly what we are talking about. We don’t want to be a kind of company that sends an Englishman into these other countries that doesn’t know their situation, doesn’t know that climate so that’s why we offer more of a process where we provide the training so they can do then do it themselves – and gain knowledge themselves.
making turf matter
We give that helping hand and have people who can talk their own languages so we can communicate better. What we’re not trying to do is replace the touchy-feely element of groundsmanship, but teach people what they’re seeing, what they’re feeling and what it actually means. In the long run you still need the elements of feeling – you always will – but often the collecting the data is not carried out in the right way. We’re trying to make the data actionable because often when people are taking data they brush it aside because they don’t really understand it and they can’t really use it in the right way so that’s what we’re really focussed upon to make it actionable. To make it actionable you need it to be visual and equal to easily understand it. If you’re presenting to management and present them with a 10-page report with loads of Excel numbers they won’t look at it. It’s not because they’re not interested, it’s just they don’t love what we do, They need to understand it in a couple of minutes to make a decision
on it and move on to the next thing. That’s what we focus on – trying to bring that data to life. I think you’ve seen a real movement in the last 10 years, probably maybe 15, with the introduction of hybrid pitches, artificial lighting, all the technologies going into products and see production now and, you know, I think clubs invest a lot of money. What we’re trying to say is make informed decisions. If you’re buying new machinery, have you really thought about what that machinery does? Is that the best type of machinery? Have you got data to prove to the management that you need that investment for that machinery? Management have other things that they need to spend on, so we need to prove why we need that investment. I think aesthetically a lot of clubs are very close to perfection, especially in the Premier League and leagues around Europe. That’s because we’ve focused on the stadium lights and the pitch construction using technology. But my feeling is that groundsmen
still don’t really know how to produce pitches for the players. We now know that the surface affects the players, but the performance staff don’t really take in the data. They don’t have much knowledge on the surface, so we really need to bring them together and show the effects on the player and what you need to improve it. Clubs are much more likely to agree to investment if a surface can been demonstrated to cut a player injury percentage down by 3% or 10%, for example. It can then be seen as having a beneficial impact on the whole budget.
We see data as being a crucial part and we show customers how to monitor that data correctly and use it in the right way.
Steps and wheelchair access ramps
• Bowls Ditch Units • Bowls Protection Grass • Installation service available in some regions • Ditch Liners • Rink & Distance Markers • Greenkeepers’ Equipment
Sportsmark offer a wide variety of greenkeeping equipment such as spiking rollers, dew switches, drag mats and brushes. We also offer pre-formed concrete ditches
Telephone: 0800 0197733 Email: email@example.com Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020 | 31
Rapid establishment and A
fter switching to Johnsons Sports Seed four years ago, the grounds team at Norwich City Football Club haven’t looked back. The combination of Johnsons J Pitch, and J Premier Pitch, have been used at the Carrow Road stadium and across the surfaces at the club’s training ground. While delivering improved disease resistance and great wear tolerance, it’s the speed of establishment that has really impressed Grounds Manager, Gary Kemp. “One of the main issues we have is the very short turnover period between the end of the season and the start of the next” explained Gary, who leads a team of nine grounds staff. “With concerts and other events we often have just a few weeks to complete our renovations.” With the advice of his DLF Seeds Regional Technical Manager Craig Spooner and external contractors, this is now possible. “As our window of opportunity reduced, we trialled various seed
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mixtures and found that Johnsons delivered the quickest and strongest germination and establishment.” Now solely using the Johnsons J
Premier Pitch and J Pitch mixtures, Gary has been very happy with the results across the two facilities. “Year on year it helps us deliver our
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renovations on time, giving great wear tolerance and great colour which is particularly important for our stadium
pitch. This last year has also been one of the best years we’ve had in terms of disease occurrence, despite peaks and troughs with temperatures and rainfall. We think we’ve saved close to £10,000 in fungicide applications and this is only going to become more important moving forward.” “With Johnsons, you know that there’s a huge amount going on behind the scenes to develop mixtures that help us out with everyday problems, such as disease resistance, the ever-challenging issues with the weather and shade issues in stadia. The results we’ve achieved are proof that we can withstand those factors and it puts us in the best position to cope with whatever is thrown at us moving forward.” J Pitch and J Premier Pitch deliver deep rooting, rapid growth – ready to mow in under five weeks. Their hard-wearing nature makes them ideal for football and rugby pitches, training grounds and hybrid surfaces.
Grounds Manager Gary Kemp
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roomfield Bowls Club is considered to have one of the best surfaces, if not the best, in the Midlands. The immaculate green is thanks to the drive and determination of a volunteer greenkeeper and a little help from Limagrain UK’s MM range of grass seed. Jonathan Blakeman has a long affinity with his beloved bowls club, dating back to when father Steve joined in 1985. Steve tended the green at Smethwick Cricket Club between 1988 and 2006 with Jonathan taking the reigns during the 2008 season, he then proceeded to continue to maintain the green to the high standards that the club had come to expect. Two years later and the club was forced to start looking for a new home. After a lengthy search they eventually moved to the nearby Mitchells & Butlers Bowling Club, Portland Road – who were more than happy to accept their neighbours. The former Cape Hill Brewery Sports Ground was opened in August 1930 and once boasted three crown green bowling greens.
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In the growing season it is cut four times a week and we do verticutting once a month depending on conditions. Broomfield was given its own green for its members but unfortunately it was not exactly at the standards they were used to. “I think it is fair to say that the green we were given had fallen into disrepair. The members of the club had tried their best to maintain it but unfortunately it needed a lot of work.” Jonathan, who was also working full-time, came up with a plan. Armed with
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determination and MM seed
the knowledge passed onto him by dad, Jonathan began working round the clock to transform the green. Ten years later and the green is regarded as one of the best with many players praising its immaculate surface. It’s no surprise to see why the green is so widely lauded when you consider how much time Jonathan puts into maintaining it. “In the growing season it is cut four times a week and we do verticutting once a month depending on conditions. Then there are the usual treatments and taking the dew off in the mornings. “Rather than leaving work and doing a hobby somewhere else my interest just happens to be looking after the green for Broomfield.” Ever the perfectionist, Jonathan decided to start looking for a grass seed which would help the green stand up to such heavy usage, and that was when he first became acquainted with Limagrain UK. “Historically I had always used another brand, but I eventually started looking
elsewhere. I knew Mark Allen, from Agrovista Amenity, and he highly recommended the seed mixtures from Limagrain. That was five years ago, and I have been using the MM range ever since.” Jonathan relies on both the MM10 and the MM11 mixtures – both of which are traditional 80:20 Fescue and Bent mixtures ideal for overseeding, renovation and construction. The cultivars used in these mixtures have low nutrient and irrigation requirements but still produce a fine, dense sward which creates a superior playing surface. “We are always trying to introduce different cultivars and finer species into the surface and the reason for rotating between MM10 and MM11 is because each mixture has a different makeup of cultivars. I just think that the more you have in your surface, the more resilient it can be against the challenges of disease, wear, and drought tolerance. They also produce a fantastic colour all year round. www.lgseeds.co.uk/mm Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020 | 35
BACK TO PLAY CAMPAIGN
Grounds manage if we are to get ba 2020
by Geoff Webb, CEO at Grounds Management Association
will undoubtedly go down in history as the season of no sport. With tournaments cancelled, a nationwide ban on sport, and lockdown meaning everyone has ‘stayed at home’, the turf industry and those within it have been seriously impacted by the coronavirus crisis. As of this month, Project Restart is beginning to unlock sport at a professional level, and with calls for sport to return as soon as it’s safe to do so, Covid-19 has reminded us how intrinsic these games – and the pitches they’re played on – are to our nation and communities. Despite the important role sport plays at all levels, we are facing a crisis at its very foundation. GMA’s new report and research, Back to Play, has shown that a lack of investment and appreciation for local grass pitches, and those that maintain them, could significantly limit play once sport resumes.
Saving the grassroots game Many of our favourite sports are heavily dependent on our natural turf pitches, and those that
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maintain them. But there is potential for a steady decline in both the quality and the number of pitches available. As local authority budgets are tightened and resources are stripped back or limited, we’ll undoubtedly see this accelerated by the pandemic. In England today, we have around 56,891 rugby union and league, football, and cricket pitches – one pitch for every 984 people. Many of these pitches have been overplayed due to rising demand, resulting in a steady deterioration of existing grounds. Demand will also likely increase, as access to sports will be crucial to our recovery. We’ve been unable to play, which will have impacted on our physical and mental wellbeing. Our grounds staff will therefore have to manage even more demand, while continuing to create a safe playing environment. If this trend continues, the number of rugby, cricket and football matches played will be reduced over the next decade. Our report has suggested a fifth of people who play rugby and football will be unable to play every week, and more than half of people who play cricket will see matches reduced, without urgent action.
The ‘new normal’ The Government has announced a return to professional sports (without the fans), and much has been mentioned about the players and staff, whose safety is paramount. However, what isn’t discussed is the restrictions, and the direct impact they will have on the groundstaff teams. Teams will be expected to maintain pre-pandemic standards, with less resources, less budget and with safety protocols restricting what can and cannot be done. All these
aspects will change the nature of working practices. Grounds staff have proven themselves to be an essential service for our sports, seamlessly producing playing surfaces as teams returned to training. Commercially-driven clubs, who will be desperate to recoup lost revenue as a result of the pandemic, must support the grounds teams in the coming weeks, months, and years. It’s likely that grounds staff will be asked to produce ‘fit for play’ surfaces with quick turnaround, in a concentrated period – not to mention winter sports playing through summer and summer sports extending into winter months. We’ve witnessed flooded February, a pandemic, and the driest May on record, so further unexpected weather may well exaserbate the challenges that lie ahead. For many clubs at all levels, surviving will be challenging. Clubs need support, and while sports bodies have been quick to establish funding, they themselves have been impacted by the pandemic. Sport is part of the fabric of our society, yet our grassroots infrastructure has suffered from decades of under-investment and a lack of focus. While we await the return of recreational sport, when the green light is given, volunteers will be vital in producing playable pitches.
Making more sport possible With proper investment in our sector, we know the decline can be averted, and sport can continue. While there are pitch improvement programmes, including the successful ‘Grounds & Natural Turf Investment Programme’ (GaNTIP), more must be done. If we improved existing grass pitches, almost 1.4 million more children could play rugby or football every week and 489,859 more could play cricket every season. By investing more in grass
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ment is vital ck to play pitches, those that maintain them, and influencing a new generation of skilled grounds staff, we can reverse this trend, improve our grass pitches, and enable sport to continue.
Getting involved With our Back to Play campaign, we’re calling for people to join the sector, both as volunteers and professionals, and for more resources to improve access to community-level sport. Our sector is facing a recruitment crisis, and with only 19% of children currently considering a job in grounds management, we must work together as an industry to address this. We know people in our industry love what they do. Over 90% of those working in the sector are satisfied or very satisfied with their job, highlighting high levels of job satisfaction. We’ve also seen hundreds of thousands of people volunteering to help out in their community, be that through signing up to support the NHS, or helping out an elderly neighbour. It’s vital that this spirit continues once sport resumes. Matches and training cannot take place without a suitable playing surface. Clubs need great pitches, and they need grounds staff and volunteers to make that possible. It’s imperative that more sportloving young people enter the profession, creating a new generation of passionate and dedicated grounds managers, and that more volunteers look to support local pitches, even just for a couple of hours a month. As turf professionals, it’s our job to inspire this younger generation, as well as potential volunteers of all ages, to join us, and work with the wider sporting industry to highlight the important role that grounds staff play. Sport is a cornerstone in our communities, our identities and our lives and we must ensure sport is possible for everyone, wherever and whoever they are. Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020 | 37
making turf matter
making turf matter
www.turfmatters.co.uk COMPACT TRACtORS
Biggest, smallest tractor T
he Case IH brand offers a range of tractor series in the compact tractor bracket, dominated by the Farmall models but also including the Quantum and Luxxum series. However, 2020 sees the addition of a new tractor series in its sub-130 horsepower bracket – the Vestrum CVXDrive – a move that sees Case IH bringing its popular continuously variable transmission to its smallest tractor yet. Previously, the smallest tractor range from Case IH that was available with CVXDrive specification was the larger, more heavily-built four-cylinder 116-145hp Maxxum line. The new series is available in four models which have a rated horsepower of 100,110, 120 and 130 respectively at 2,200rpm engine speed. Maximum power is approximately 10hp higher than that on the bonnet, with the Vestrum 130 CVXDrive, for example, having
a maximum engine power of 140hp. The Vestrum CVXDrive models have been designed as premium specification machines, offering a large cab size and comfort in a package that is manoeuvrable, easy to operate, and offers the fuel-saving benefits of a continuously-variable transmission. Features in the low-noise cab include automatic climate control and a deluxe driver’s seat, while a 360° lighting
arrangement completes the operator comfort package for long working days. The tractors also feature Automatic Productivity Management, which automatically reduces engine speed when it detects less power is required –to further cut fuel consumption and operating costs. The machines are also designed to undertake a wide range of tasks with optional front hitch and front PTO, and a choice of quick coupler options on the front and rear three-point links, with Category 2 or 3N alternatives. Finally, the incorporation of double-clutch technology into the CVXDrive transmission means that the change between the transmission’s two mechanical ranges is seamless, and full tractive power is available across the whole speed range. An Active Hold Control feature allows the tractor to be easily stopped on hills and at road junctions without using the footbrakes. CaseIH.com
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Beating the lockdown T
he timing is somewhat unfortunate to get really excited about the arrival of the new Mitsubishi Compact tractors. But Simon Shepherd, of Mitsubishi Tractors, remains very positive and optimistic about being involved in such an exciting opportunity as selling such a reputable brand as Mitsubishi.
“The first batch of Mitsubishi tractors arrived on 5 May and all of the first shipment have been sent out to the dealer network and a substantial number have been sold already to end users. It would appear that if you have the right product people will buy and opt for the quality product when they can,” explained Simon. “We are inviting any prospective dealers or customers to contact me directly on the email address below. “We are starting with the model below but will shortly have the full range in the UK to sell. This is the first Tier 5 engine compact tractor I know of and I think excitingly it will be for a while,” he added.
Mitsubishi MTU 26hp All with genuine Mitsubishi – Japanese tier 5 engines. With their 3 year factory warranty – (consisting of first 12 months full, 2nd and 3rd year driveline These Mitsubishi compact tractors are ideally suited to small farms, sports grounds, estates, Horticultural, Equestrian, Sports facilities, Golf
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courses etc – the list is endless.
Some key points The new 26HP Hydrostatic engine machine is new to the range and fully tested while the tractor is available on both agricultural and turf tyres making the MTU 26HP Compact Tractor ideal for private and public gardens, sports grounds, small holders, paddocks and more. It can be used with a variety of attachments and is able to be road legal. l Stronger: 780kg lifting capacity (at three point linkage) with 540 rpm PTO l Powerful: 26HP genuine Mitsubishi latest tier 5 engine with heavy duty chassis l Faster: 24kph l Maneuverability: Amazing turning circle of 2.4 metres l User-friendly: Hydrostatic 4WD transmission (no gear changing required) l Durable: All made in Japan l Reliable: Mitsubishi three-year warranty l Choice of agricultural or turf tyres available. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Kioti’s market leading warranty package K
ioti has introduced a five year warranty, covering 3,000 hours, for all new Kioti tractors sold from April 1 this year. The new cover will appear to both commercial and professional users as the first two years covers the whole tractor for an unlimited number of hours. To give assurances to the smaller professional and private users the tractors have an engine and transmission parts and labour warranty extending to include years three to five. This covers up to a maximum of 3,000 hours, whichever comes first. “The Kioti products are a hight quality
prestigious range of tractors and side by side utility vehicles,” said Kioti UK General Manager, Patrick Desmond. “We now have the market leading warranty package to support them. The purpose of these new terms is to give our dealers additional support, and the end user customers extra confidence during the buying process. “We emphasise that this is a manufacturer’s warranty with no additional fees unlike some insurance offerings. This is the confidence that Kioti has in the Kioti products,” said Patrick. www.kioti-uk.com
John Deere updates use the latest engine technologies J
ohn Deere has completed a number of updates to the company’s comprehensive compact tractor range for 2020, which includes 13 models in six Series from 25 to 66hp. The main change is prompted by the latest Stage V emissions regulations in Europe, which are designed to limit ultrafine particulate emissions in all engines above 25hp. Ultrafine particulates are less than 0.1 microns in diameter, which is 700 times smaller than a human hair. John Deere’s compact tractors rated at 25hp and below – the 1026R and 2026R, which remain unchanged, and the new 3025E – already meet the necessary standards. Other 2R and 3R Series models above 25hp get a new Yanmar 1.6-litre, threecylinder TNV Series diesel engine that features a high torque reserve, providing plenty of power under heavy loads. This uses the latest engine technologies to improve fuel economy, control and accuracy, while also reducing environmental impact as well as operating costs. It features a common rail system and an electronic control unit, which continuously monitors engine conditions and adjusts fuel delivery to ensure optimum performance. The engine’s new after-treatment system consists of a diesel particulate filter and diesel oxidation catalyst, similar to that used successfully on John Deere’s larger agricultural tractors. This operates automatically to produce lower levels of exhaust emissions and reduced noise levels, and meets all current requirements
for Stage V emission standards. At the top of the John Deere compact tractor range, the new 4052M and 4052R receive a larger 2.1-litre, four-cylinder engine with DPF. This is the same as the existing engine on the biggest 4066M and 4066R models, which remain unchanged, while several of the smaller 2R and 3R Series tractors are also given new model numbers. In addition to the new engine, the 3R and 4R Series compact tractors will be equipped with a new eThrottle function integrated into the established eHydro transmission. This is designed make the tractor quieter and more comfortable to use, as well as more fuel efficient. With the simple push of a button, engine speed is conveniently linked to the foot pedal position so that engine rpm and tractor speed can both be increased as the pedal is depressed. The latest 4R Series models can also now be equipped with a StarFire satellite receiver and AutoTrac Universal automatic steering system. This is designed to help operators achieve higher levels of accuracy and input cost savings when working with implements such as amenity turf sprayers, seeders and spreaders. On selected models, the award-winning Hitch Assist system makes coupling up implements and trailers to the tractor’s rear hitch or three-
point linkage quicker, easier and safer. Using this system, external switches mounted on the rear fender allow the operator to move the tractor backwards and forwards at a maximum speed of 12mm/second, and raise or lower the hitch as required. Other advanced technology features on John Deere compact tractors include LoadMatch, MotionMatch and SpeedMatch operating modes for maximum versatility in a wide range of tractor applications, plus a choice of AutoConnect drive-over rotary mower decks. Cabbed versions of John Deere’s new range of compact tractors for 2020 can be ordered now from UK & Ireland dealers, while open operator station models will be available from October. www.deere.co.uk
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Dealing with global STRI’s head of sports surface technology, Dr Stephen Baker, considers the problems of turf management in some of the more extreme climates that he has visited in his 38-year career.
Numbers given refer to the appropriate climate zones in management documents: 1. Cool maritime 2. Temperate maritime 3. Cool continental (cool season grass areas) 4. Mediterranean climates/dry summer subtropical 5. Continental (transition zones) 6. Subtropical 7. Tropical high rainfall 8. Tropical seasonal rainfall 9. Tropical semiarid or arid Grey areas not suitable for natural grass pitches.
Working conditions Grass selection and maintenance is very dependent on climate, and in many parts of the world there is not the relatively benign climate for turf grass growth that we experience in the United Kingdom. Whilst there can be significant issues with snow and frost in the winter, average monthly temperatures in the UK typically range from around 0°C to 20°C and this is a relatively comfortable range for grass growth for most of the year. Contrast this with some of the sixty countries that I have worked in. Parts of Russia or Scandinavia where the average minimum January temperature of -15°C to -20°C (and lows of -40°C) and average maximum monthly temperatures of 38°C to 43°C in India, Morocco and Saudi Arabia, with peak temperatures sometimes exceeding 50°C, made for some interesting working conditions. Similarly, in the UK we have a relatively reliable rainfall and without the very high intensities
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experienced in some tropical areas. Annual average rainfall in the UK typically ranges from around 7001250mm per year for the more heavily populated parts of the country where most sports facilities are found. In contrast annual rainfall can be as low as 100mm in Saudi Arabia. At the other extreme, average monthly totals can reach over 300mm in Manaus in the Amazon Basin in Brazil or in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and massive 840mm in Mumbai, India. It should be noted that these are just average values and at times the temperature range and rainfall differences can be much greater. It is inevitable that extreme variations in temperature and rainfall will increase the challenge of producing high quality sports surfaces.
temperature range. However, there is also a wide range of other issues such as drought and salinity tolerance, the sports to be played and the potential standard of maintenance, including irrigation demand. Fortunately, a very wide range of grass species are available, and they can be split into two very different groups depending on their basic biology: the cool-season grasses and warm-season species. Cool-season grasses would include species such
LOW TEMPERATURES The map, above, shows the range of climates around the world from the perspective of turf management. Each of the climate areas has a major influence on selection of the appropriate grass species in relation to the ideal
High temperatures and salinity management (Mecca, Saudi Arabia)
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as smooth-stalked meadow-grass (Poa pratensis) and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne), which are used on areas of more intensively used turf such as football or rugby pitches, and finer fescue (Festuca spp.) or bent species (Agrostis spp.) that may be suitable on areas such as golf courses. For areas of extremely low temperatures it is inevitable that appropriate cool-season grasses will be used, but there are several aspects of management that may need to be considered: • Minimum temperatures that are likely to be encountered • The length of the growing season, in particular how much of the playing season coincides with periods of minimum growth • Duration of snow cover and the need for snow removal. Snow cover is indeed often used as an insulating blanket to protect the turf during the coldest months of the year, but there can be significant challenges in clearing the snow and making the surface ready for the
start of the new playing season • The potential risks for disease, especially under snow cover or during periods of limited growth • The opportunities for pitch renovation. In the more extreme climates for example of North America, Scandinavia and Russia the main playing season will coincide with spring, summer and early autumn when growing conditions are generally better. However, this may limit the amount of time available for renovation, as for example end-ofseason work would coincide with lower temperatures thus preventing effective grass establishment. As well as selection of suitable grass types there are several management options that may improve the standard of turf in very cold climates. Undersoil heating and pitch covers are generally essential for the major stadiums in such climate areas and, as latitude and cloud cover have a major influence on light levels, most stadiums in these colder climates would also need supplementary lighting to
Air circulation fans in use during the 2018 World Cup (Saransk, Russia)
extend the period of grass growth. Maintaining a high standard of grass cover can also be a big issue in these colder climates. Annual meadow-grass (Poa annua) is very well adapted to the colder, wetter climates such as Iceland or the west coast of Norway. Without the possibility of extensive end of season renovation there are only limited opportunities to establish preferred species, so annual meadowgrass tends to increase rapidly with time. To maintain a reasonable balance of grass species there is a need for regular over sowing throughout the summer months, with ideally a break in the middle of the playing season to allow a short renovation window.
HIGH TEMPERATURES High temperatures cannot be isolated from rainfall and there tends to be two main extremes where high temperature and rainfall interact: (1) high temperature but low rainfall in desert or semi-arid environments, (2) high temperature, high rainfall areas, although these can have a } Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020 | 43
Kensington Oval, Barbados with a sand dominated rootzone constructed to a fall to help drainage and water attenuation cells to store water during intense rainfall events
} distinct wet season and a dry season
which will have a major impact on turf management. For the monsoon season in Mumbai, India, the four months between June and September have a combined average of about 2250mm rainfall, while the four months from January to April have a combined rainfall of less than 5mm. The main factor influencing grass quality in hot climates with either low annual rainfall or seasonal drought, will be water supply through irrigation and a good quality irrigation supply will be essential. For high standard stadiums water will generally be delivered using an appropriate pop-up irrigation system, but for more general, lower maintenance areas techniques such as subsurface irrigation may also have to be considered to improve water conservation. Grass selection is normally based on warm-season species such as bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.), seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum) or various Zoysia species, but there may be other considerations. In the absence of cloud cover, nighttime temperatures in some desert climates can be very low giving a risk of dormancy of the warm-season grass. In some wetter tropical climates, particularly where there is significant photochemical air pollution in major urban areas, light levels might be insufficient to maintain healthy grass growth at certain times of the year, especially in stadium environments. A further factor compounding
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issues of heat stress in many of the drier climates is the quality of the irrigation water and the potential build-up of salts in the soil. Assessment of water sources for irrigation becomes a major item in turf design in such areas and regular excess irrigation may be needed to flush accumulated salts out of the rootzone. Very hot, wet areas also have some very specific challenges: these include high intensity rainfall (which I’ll discuss later) but also high rates of biologically activity and this can have particular challenges with disease, insect pests and weed invasion. Management of the turf in the hottest parts of the world must consider all these issues. There are however some management techniques that can also restrict temperature stress, including: • air circulation systems by which cooler area can be pushed from lower in the soil profile to cool the grass at the surface • syringing with light applications of irrigation water to dissipate heat by evaporation • shade covers mounted well above the grass surface to restrict the incoming solar radiation • installing cooling pipes, reversing the principle of undersoil heating.
TRANSITION ZONES Some of the biggest challenges with grass selection occur in transition zones where there are extreme ranges of temperature. These include Mediterranean type climates in
parts of Europe, South America, South Africa and Australia but also some of the continental extremes, where winter temperatures can be as low as -30°C, while summer temperatures may hit 35°C. Under these circumstances a single grass type is very unlikely to be able to tolerate the annual temperature range: warm-season grasses will go brown and dormant in the winter and cool-season grasses are likely to be lost to heat stress and disease in the summer period. Good management is obviously essential in such climates, but inevitably more than one grass species will be required, with the warm-season grass used in the summer and then being oversown with a cool-season grass to give the colour and performance required for the winter months.
RAINFALL It is impossible to provide a good quality turf surface without adequate irrigation and issues of turf management in hot, dry climates have already been discussed above. However, there are methods to improve the water retention properties of sports turf rootzones using various organic and inorganic amendments. The type and concentration of these amendments is critical – too little amendment and the surface may remain dry and hard. Excess amendment can lead to a soft playing surface,
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More marginal climates that gave high levels of stress affecting grass development can now have much better-quality turf surfaces with shallow rooting that is easily damaged by play. Laboratory testing and a very good understanding of requirements for the growing medium is essential to help formulate the most suitable rootzone characteristics for a specific climate zone. Very high rainfall is also an issue, as most sports surfaces rely on a relatively dry, stable surface for optimum playing conditions. Well-constructed rootzones, usually based on a high percentage of a suitably selected sand, are generally essential to give adequate drainage performance. However even a well-constructed rootzone with a drainage rate of say 150mm/hr will not be able to cope with the most extreme rainfall events. In such circumstances it may be necessary to construct a turf facility with greater slopes to encourage surface runoff of water. Technology can also help â€“ many of the subsurface air circulation systems used for temperature control can be used to generate sufficient suction within the soil to help remove extreme rainfall from the surface.
of high wind would be on exposed sites where irrigation can be affected. If there are strong prevailing or drying winds, evaporation rates are likely to be higher and therefore water consumption greater. However, it is the effects on water distribution that may be the greatest challenge, as the effect on the uniformity of water application can be significant. This may necessitate changes in the basic design of the irrigation system with for example changes in the specification for the pop-up heads or sprinklers at closer spacings than on a less exposed site. It will
Dormancy on bermudagrass compared to coolseason grass species (Santiago, Chile)
MODERN SPORTS TURF MANAGEMENT
WIND Excess wind may sound more like a complaint of the digestive system than a problem faced by most sports turf managers, however there can be situations where high winds (or indeed a lack of air movement) can be a factor in sports turf management. Aside from destructive events such as hurricanes, the most likely problems
also increase the need for careful monitoring to ensure that there are no dry areas that are being missed and for selective hand watering to supplement moisture levels on any drier areas. Lack of significant air movement should also not be under-estimated. In modern stadium environments the surrounding stands may restrict air movement to the extent that drying of the surface is compromised and the risk of disease and surface algae may increase. Where there is temperature stress this can be even more important, for example with cool-season grasses growing at times of elevated summer temperatures. Under these circumstances the use of fans around the pitch to help air movement can be a very important factor in reducing turf stress and sustaining a high-quality playing surface.
Suction system to help pitch drainage and circulate cooler air from the underlying soil (Salvador, Brazil)
In the last 40 years the range of available technology has expanded to an unbelievable extent. The understanding of turf construction and management principles has improved, by both technological innovation and research investment. More marginal climates that gave high levels of stress affecting grass development can now have much better-quality turf surfaces, provided that development projects are well designed and constructed and that there are sufficient levels of resources to deal with these climate extremes.
n Turf Matters is grateful to the STRI Group for permission to publish this article, which first appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of the STRI Bulletin, For more information on the STRI Group and its services got to strigroup.com
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NATURAL TURF MAINTENANCE AND CONSTRUCTION
Time to do things differently? W
ith the world’s oldest golf courses being almost exclusively links courses it is no coincidence that very sandy materials have traditionally been used for the construction and refurbishment of coastal and inland golf courses across the world. Sand provides a firm, level and welldrained playing surface. Because it is inert it does not hold onto nutrients or water and this allows greenkeepers to manufacture the environment required through the addition of artificial fertiliser and the introduction of water through irrigation. Notwithstanding the unprecedented, and unexpected, positive impact of the current pandemic on the global environment, our climate continues to change. For some time, scientists and consultants working in the industry have been looking at how golf course construction and refurbishment could be done differently in the future, using materials that are better suited to work with the vagaries of the climate, have a less detrimental impact on our environment, and reduce annual costs. The use of soil and soil-based products to construct, refurbish and maintain tees, bunkers and green surrounds is proving increasingly popular with greenkeepers and golf course consultants who have been encouraged by STRI research,
in terms of course design, soil’s plasticity allows the creation of more interesting and challenging contours and features. 46 | Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020
feedback from scientists, and industry case studies and testimonials. A good soil is a mixture of mineral particles – sand, silt and clay – water, nutrients – predominantly nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium – organic matter, air and living organisms. ‘Virgin’ or ‘as dug’ natural topsoil as a construction material for shaping course features, tees, bunkers etc. is neither sustainable nor reliable. Not only are the world’s soil resources being depleted at an alarming rate but virgin soil is also a ‘take it or leave it’ material that may lack the right balance of the constituents listed above, affecting its performance. British Sugar Topsoil products are sustainable, being derived from the prime arable soils that adhere to the sugar beet brought in to British Sugar factories. The soil is washed from the beet and collected in settlement ponds before being conditioned and blended. To comply with the British Standard for Topsoil BS3882:2015, each batch is sampled and sent to a UKAS and MCERTS accredited laboratory for a range of tests. Topsoil products have also undergone comprehensive replicated trials at the STRI. Good grass establishment and growth, particularly in periods of drought, and the recovery of the sward following periods of heavy rain, make soil-based materials for course construction and refurbishment a very attractive proposition. The clay component in soil holds on to nutrients (N, P, K, Mg) and the microbes present in the organic matter make for a healthy soil, resulting in good grass establishment and growth and minimising the requirement for additional and expensive inorganic fertiliser. Soil also has a considerably slower percolation rate than sand and this increased waterholding capacity means that areas are
less reliant on irrigation. And in terms of course design, soil’s plasticity allows the creation of more interesting and challenging contours and features. With all that said, maintenance remains key to the successful use of soil products and, where used, the ground must still be aerated on a regular basis to prevent compaction and puddling. Perhaps, in this period of unexpected lockdown, there is time to look at doing things differently, working with the natural world’s own resources in a sustainable, cost-efficient and environmentally beneficial way. At Bury St Edmunds Golf Club Consultant Peter Jones, of Peter Jones Associates, selected British Sugar Topsoil’s Landscape20 topsoil for the re-shaping and re-contouring of the entire green complex. 120 tonnes were spread at a depth of 15-20cm over the course’s natural sandy loam soil, which had been de-compacted and levelled using a purpose-built rake. Finally, a dwarf perennial rye grass turf was laid over the Landscape20. Throughout the entire operation the putting surface of each green was left intact. Peter chose Landscape20 because of the success he had had with it on similar projects: “The properties of Landscape20 allow you to create the shapes needed around bunkers and greens, and the naturally occurring nutrients within it result in great turf growth.” At Peterborough Milton Golf Course, 13 bunkers were re-shaped and five tees levelled with 174 tonnes of British Sugar TOPSOIL’s Sports&Turf topdressing prior to re-turfing. “Sports&Turf is by far the best product I have used in my years as a greenkeeper and I am delighted with how easy it is to use. The drainage and percolation rate it gives is second to none,” said Manager Steve Smail.
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2.1m working width clinches deal W
ith a fleet of natural and synthetic machinery from Charterhouse Turf Machinery, Head Groundsman Robert Cheape is well equipped to maintain the four separate sites that make up The Glasgow Academy. He has recently taken delivery of his third Verti-Drain, a 7521, for the regular aeration of the eight grass rugby pitches, while an X-treme Clean is ensuring the playability and safety of their four artificial surfaces. With facilities for cricket, ladies and men’s hockey and tennis, it is the rugby section that is best known – with Glasgow Academicals RFC celebrating their 150th anniversary in the 2016-17 season. “Our rugby pitches see a lot of play, from both external clubs and the 1400 pupils of the academy” explains Robert,
who has been at the school for 36 years. “Weather permitting, we carry out aeration once a month, and for over 20 years that’s been with a combination of a Charterhouse slitter and Verti-Drain.” Upgrading their machine roughly every seven years, Robert’s latest model – the 7521 – was delivered by local dealer Hamilton Brothers. “It was the 2.1m working width and the range of tine options that really appealed with the 7521. We can go out with solid tines working at depths of up to 16” through the winter months alongside our slitter, then incorporate. some hollow coring between March and September. This gives us ultimate flexibility to react to ground conditions and adjust penetration and heave accordingly.” On the club’s two full-size astro hockey pitches, together with their two ¾ size MUGA surfaces, it’s a trusty combination of brushes from the Charterhouse synthetic collection used alongside the X-treme Clean 1200. “We brush once a week and then follow up with a monthly
pass of the X-treme Clean.” Using horizontally rotating brushes, the X-treme Clean lifts the pile and agitates the infill - removing dirt, debris and compaction. “As with all of our Charterhouse kit, it’s efficient, reliable and does exactly what you want it to. We’ve used it for years and will be happy to do so for many more to come.”
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NATURAL TURF MAINTENANCE AND CONSTRUCTION
Dennis integral at Notts County M
atthew Hallam, Head Groundsman at Notts County FC,believes that the Dennis G860 cylinder mower has been a saving grace after they were unable to carry out end of season renovations. Matthew, who started life in the industry as a greenkeeper, has been the Head Groundsman at Notts County FC for just over 18
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months. He spent ten years working at the nearby Nottinghamshire Golf and Country Club, before taking the Head Groundsman position at Ilkeston Town FC. It is safe to say that he had somewhat of a baptism of fire upon starting his new role - the club were on the verge of relegation, and a change of ownership was looming. This, along with other unforeseen circumstances, resulted in no end of season renovations being carried out. Despite being unable to strip the top off the surface and remove vegetation, Matthew has done a remarkable job in keeping the pitch in a superb condition all season. With the odds stacked against him, regular maintenance has been key and Matthew claims that the Dennis G860 has been integral to the cause. “With us not being able to carry out the work, the Dennis G860 has really helped us. We have the Spring Tine Rake, the Verti-Cutter, the Brush, and the 8 Bladed Cylinder – so it is like a four-in-one maintenance machine. In
the summer, we were verticutting as much as we could because we knew we had a thatch issue, and since then we have constantly brushed the pitch and raked the algae off the top of the surface. It has been a brilliant bit of kit for us and if we didn’t have the G860 then these problems would only have intensified.” www.dennisuk.com
We have the Spring Tine Rake, the VertiCutter, the Brush, and the 8 Bladed Cylinder – a four-in-one maintenance machine
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Clean and greener way to plant health R
eading Football Club are delighted with their trio of 34” INFINICUT Fixed Head mowers reducing noise, hand-arm vibration and lowering the club’s fuel costs. For Grounds Manager Adam Grantham, as well as ticking a number of environmental boxes, the mowers have also achieved a significantly improved quality of cut. Adam has been with the club for 16 years and is supported by a team of four at the club’s Madejski Stadium, with a further team of eight looking after Hogwood Park training ground, and their new state-ofthe-art Bearwood Park facility. “There’s no denying that the industry is moving towards the electric route. We have to be mindful, in a stadium environment, of the decibel levels and the way this pollutes and echoes. Not only that but we should all be looking at methods and machines that are greener and safer for our
teams to use on a daily basis.” “We’d been in discussions with Vinny Tarbox for quite a while and trialled a couple of different INFINICUT models before deciding that the Fixed Head machines were going to be the best fit. They have delivered a superior cut and finish and handle well, dealing with the camber and ‘shelf’ that surrounds the pitch,” he explained. Its lithium battery power means quiet operation comes as standard, with the club’s shed now rigged up with easy ‘in and out’ charging points. They also purchased a set of TurfClean cassettes for post-match debris removal and surface clearance, as well as ThatchMaster cassettes from the renowned TMSystem. “Compared to other similar cassettes I’ve used, the blades on the ThatchMaster are so fine and intricate that they do a fantastic job of pulling everything out that shouldn’t be there. These were in use
between the end of July and October, weather dependant, cleaning up the canopy and removing any thatch. This meant we went into the new rugby season, and winter months, in peak condition,” explained Adam. “The support we’ve had from Vinny and service technician, Jonty Norton, has been excellent throughout, providing help and advice to my team and I since we took delivery of the units in June 2019. With the combination of cassettes we have at our disposal, and the superior cut quality we’re achieving with the INFINICUT, we’re in great shape as we, as an industry, continue to look for greener, cleaner ways to optimise plant health.”
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NATURAL TURF MAINTENANCE AND CONSTRUCTION
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SISIS Quadraplay solves worm cast issues T
he removal of Carbendazim from the groundcare market meant that St Albans School needed an alternative solution to combating worm casts and they found exactly what they were looking for in the SISIS Quadraplay. Ian Smith, Turf Consultant for St Albans School, Woollam Trust Playing Fields, has long been tending to the outstanding facilities which includes 23 winter pitches for rugby and football, an all-weather hockey pitch and eight cricket squares. The Woollam Groundstaff team have established a glowing reputation for producing the quality playing surfaces that play host to the school’s exceptional sporting teams. Ever the perfectionist, Ian was concerned when they were unable
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to continue spraying the field with Carbendazim – a fungicide which deters worms from entering treated soil. “Worm casting was starting to become a problem again after the loss of Carbendazim, so I started asking various groundstaff in the area their thoughts on finding a solution,” he said. “Mark Rolph, who is now part of our team at Woollam’s, informed me how effective the SISIS Quadraplay had been for him at his previous job and in addition to this, Keith Kent, former Head Groundsman at Twickenham Stadium, also recommended it. “We thought we’d give it a try and it has been absolutely brilliant for us.” The Quadraplay multiple-purpose, single-pass maintenance incorporates a mounted frame for up to four
implements such as grooming rakes, spikers, slitters, rollers and brushes. The implements can be fitted to the mainframe in any order and can be independently adjusted to achieve the desired effect. Compact, robust, versatile and with the ability to carry out up to four operations simultaneously the Quadraplay makes life a lot easier for many groundsmen. Regular use, combined with a top layer of sand dressing, has worked wonders according to Ian. “We had been encouraged to keep sand dressing our pitches, so every year 60 tonnes per pitch is applied and we have been doing this for past 20 years. This, on top of sand amelioration during construction, has led to a root zone that is a 70/30 sand soil mix. If it was just clay then it would seal in wet weather and would become unplayable for long periods. “The sand dressing has stopped the surface from capping off and means that the worm casts now contain a lot of sand. This means that they are broken up and spread evenly by the slitter, spring tines and brush when the Quadraplay is used. “I have been surprised at just how effective the Quadraplay has been - the surface levels are better than I was expecting, and the presentation is good. Considering the amount of rain we have had this year the pitches are not laid with water either and this is probably down to the Quadraplay keeping the surface nice and open.” www.sisis.com
FERTILISER AND CHEMICALS
making making turf turf matter matter
Spotlight on Ramsay MacGregor Ramsay MacGregor, Amenity Specialist for Agrovista Amenity, has enjoyed a long and successful career which can be attributed to his determination, drive, passion and strength of character. Although far from the end of his journey, the father of four often reflects on his career path. He started up a business called Terra Firma. Since its creation in 2001, Terra Firma had grown into one of Scotland’s largest suppliers to the amenity and local authority markets. In recognising its potential, Agrovista bought the company in 2017. The combination of both companies’ industry knowledge, experience and customer service ethos quickly formed a strong, sustainable and service-focused business model. “Agrovista is a great company to work for. Admittedly I was apprehensive – particularly going from a small independent company to a massive organisation. Big ships are notoriously difficult to a steer, but I’ve been amazed at just how reactive they are. I’ve been really impressed. “The company is big on education and
I’ve always had a hunger for developing and learning. Every day I learn something new and I think the day that I stop learning is the day that I will hang the boots up. It’s not always about grass or weeds or weather, but about people. I love to learn about someone’s background or how they function and operate.” Ramsay’s passion for conversation and people is demonstrated daily as he attends his diverse customer base. While he admits to enjoying the variety of his work, he also believes it has made him more aware of some the struggles faced by some amenity professionals - particularly greenkeepers. “On any one day I could go into a couple of golf courses in the morning to see some greenkeepers, then in the afternoon I could go and visit a council and be talking about Japanese Knotweed, and then I could be out talking to a landscaper – I have a very diverse and interesting customer base which I really enjoy. “Unfortunately, it does make me realise some of the troubles these people have. Greenkeepers are becoming under more and more pressure – whether that be
from the club where they work, or the members. The number of greenkeepers that are going off with stress is disappointing. In fact, so many greenkeepers have walked away from their jobs because of the grief they have received.” Many of his customers will know that Ramsay is, in fact, his middle name. Allan Ramsay MacGregor is his full name, but by his own admission, he cares little for names or titles. “Over the years I’ve had various titles, but I’ve never been big on them if I’m being honest. What’s in a name? It’s what is on the inside that counts. People take you for what you are and who you are.” It is safe to say that most people Ramsay has encountered throughout his career have taken him for who he is and that is why he is such a respected figure in the industry – someone who people can turn to for advice, support or just a good conversation. www.agrovista.co.uk/amenity
Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020 | 51
FERTILISER AND CHEMICALS
Belchim announce new biocide T
he amenity sector is set to benefit following the recent approval of a new product for the professional biocide market. “Enclean, containing 500g/l of the active ingredient Nonanoic acid, has just received registration and will strengthen and expand Belchim Crop Protection’s product range into the amenity sector,” said Belchim Amenity Specialist, William Weld. “Enclean has been greatly anticipated. It’s a natural plant origin biocide specifically designed to remove algae from a
wide range of hard surfaces including: pavements, greenhouses (outside), patios, roofs, wooden decking and fence panels. Enclean’s active ingredient Nonanoic acid is extremely effective, non-corrosive and quickly degrades into natural elements. It offers good operator safety and has no environmental hazard classification. It also has a very low dilution requirement making it one of the easiest biocides to use. “One litre of formulated product will cover the same area as five litres of
most other surface cleaners” he added. Enclean comes in one litre packs, with a dilution rate of one pack per 14 litres of water offering users 550m2 of coverage from a single 15L knapsack sprayer using an Evenspray red 0.4 nozzle - four times the coverage of most other biocides under the same operating conditions. “Enclean will help to simplify the application of surface cleaners whilst delivering excellent results on algae,” concluded Danny. www.belchim.co.uk
New look for Team Club Sprayer T
he Club mounted sprayer has long been one of Team Sprayers best sellers and the Cambridgeshirebased company have recently released an updated model. The new Club Sprayer is Team’s largest mounted groundcare sprayer and is designed specifically for greenkeepers at professional club level. “The Club range dates back to the beginning and although the design has changed significantly over the years, the name has remained,” said Team Managing Director Danny Hubbard. “We are always looking to improve our sprayers and the changes we have made to the Club came about through the performance of one of our Agricultural sprayers, namely a more compact and user friendly design. “We have re-designed the work station, with all the machine operations, including spray valves and chemical induction hopper all being at one point. The high flow chemical
inductor has been updated with an improved rinsing facility and chemical mixing in the main tank. The positioning of the valves is now at a central point for ease of use and operator function,” explained Danny. “We have re-designed the tank to have a lower centre of gravity and sizes are available from 300 to 800L. The pump has also been re-positioned to the back of the sprayer for ease of access. The Club is ideal for greenkeepers managing golf courses and football clubs where there is a requirement
to change between different chemical products often as the can flushing system makes changeovers fast and efficient. The Team Club Sprayer has CAT 1 or 2 linkage and can be mounted onto a tractor from 25hp upwards, it also comes with a range of standard features including, 300L tank & system flushing, 20L chemical induction hopper and can rinse system and a choice of either manual or electric folding booms or a Dual covered boom system, plus computerised auto spray rate controller which automatically adjusts spray application rate to forward speed to ensure effective, accurate and controlled application.” We design all our sprayers to be efficient and robust and with excellent boom stability and the Club is no exception, we are always looking to improve the look and functionality of our sprayers and I am confident that the new Club will give great results for the modern greenkeeper.” www.team-sprayers.com
Compo Expert: top manufacturer, C
ompo Expert is developing and manufacturing innovative and special fertiliser and liquids for all situations in golf, winter sports, horticulture, landscaping and agriculture. The company operates a customer-orientated distributor network. Being a manufacturer and a speciality fertiliser producer Compo Expert is ideally positioned to service every sector of the market from turf to agriculture, unlike any other fertiliser company in the UK.
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The basis of healthy turf is a well-balanced nutrient supply, meaning when fertilising turf it should be supplied with all the primary elements nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as well as trace elements, due to their importance to plant vitality. Many Compo Expert fine turf granular fertilisers such as Floranid, Fertilis and Easy Green Mini all contain additional trace elements to help the plant when there may be deficiencies in the soil. In addition, the
Floranid range contains Isodur and Crotodur (Double N technology) which are two forms of slow release nitrogen only available from Compo Expert. Isodur N is released by moisture and temperature and the nitrogen form Crotodur is released by microorganisms. The Fertilis Swing and Speed products are compound NPK fertiliser with trace elements and the added advantage of containing Bacillus Subtilis E4-CDX, which helps promote
root growth and vitality. The application of liquid fertilisers is an effective method to make up for the deficit in trace elements. Compo-Expert offers greenkeepers and groundsmen a complete range of special liquid formulations with different trace element packages. The Vitanica range, one of the vast number of liquid products manufactured by Compo Expert, based on extracts of kelp seaweed (Ecklonia maxima). Ecklonia maxima is }
making turf matter
Liquid feeding success A
switch to a liquid feeding programme has paid dividends on the fairways at Canons Brook Golf Club. Having fallen victim to the drought of summer 2018, the fairway recovery was boosted by a new liquid regime formulated by Headland Amenity. A tank-mix consisting of XTEND, Elevate Fe and Clipless NT applied throughout 2019 has helped to encourage and maintain strong, healthy coverage. When Course Manager Damien Bowe joined Canons Brook in Harlow in 2016, there was no nutritional programme in place for the fairways. “I quickly introduced a conventional granular programme, which we applied in April and again in September. To sustain the recovery and coverage achieved, Damien together with his Headland Regional Technical Manager, Peter Blackaby, formulated a liquid programme to ‘spoonfeed’ the fairways throughout
the growing season, rather than merely aim to strengthen them before winter. They applied XTEND 21-0-0 at 30L/ hectare, Elevate Fe at 20L/ hectare and Clipless NT at 1.5L/hectare every 4 weeks between June and September. “We used a low rate of Clipless NT to keep on top of any flushes. This helped to thicken up the sward, giving us nice, controlled growth and healthy, dense fairways. “We also applied Headland’s TriCure AD separately at 2.5L/ hectare, and achieved fantastic results with that, particularly in those areas that were stressed the most from the previous summer. We put this down ahead of any forecasted rainfall and it helped to hold onto any rain we got and kept the plant nice and strong. As an added bonus, it also kickstarted the germination of seed we had applied earlier in the year, in some areas of the course that hadn’t seen any growth in months.”
fertiliser producer } sustainably harvested from
the shores in South Africa and carefully cold pressed using “Cold-Cellular-Burst-Technology“ which preserves the integrity of the phytoactice substances. These phytoactive substances have a biostimulant effect on the growth and colour of the leaf plus vigour of the roots as well as helping with abiotic stress such as heat, drought and increased mowing. Two products from the Vitanica range are Vitanica RZ, a combined mineral
NK fertiliser with the effective rhizosphere bacterium Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, selection R6-CDX and kelp extract s for revitalisation and plant strength. In addition another product from the range is Vitanica MC (manganese and copper), which again is a combined liquid mineral NPK with kelp, plus the addition of trace elements copper, manganese and iron which will help with nutrition and greening up of a golf green. www.compo-expert.com Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020 | 53
FERTILISER AND CHEMICALS
New slow release fertiliser from ICL ICL
has announced the launch of SierraformGT CalMag into the UK and Ireland market. New for 2020, SierraformGT CalMag is a homogenous slow release fertilizer supplying calcium, magnesium and trace elements for turf growth and all-round plant health. The product is ideal for ﬁne turf or stadia pitch application through the late spring, summer and early autumn. The nitrogen content is mostly slow release (MU) based to create a sustained release and steady even growth. The new analysis also contains the mineral polyhalite to supply potassium, calcium and magnesium when these are indicated as required from soil testing. The added SeaMax (soluble seaweed concentrate) in the formulation aims to bring beneﬁts from plant rooting and stress tolerance. Ed Carter, UK Sales & Development Manager is delighted with this new addition to the SierraformGT range: “I am delighted that we are launching this new analysis through our dealer network in 2020. The nutrient analysis will really suit both golf course and stadia managers and the addition of SeaMax is a real benefit. Our formulation team have worked hard to create a nitrogen release pattern that will maintain consistently healthy growth through the duration of its 8-week release period. In my opinion this is an outstanding addition to our SierraformGT range.” www.icl-sf.co.uk
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Dry patch: T
he hot summer of 2018 caused major problems for many greenkeepers and grounds managers and, the unusually dry spell this spring will bring back some unpleasant memories. Dry Patch can be a significant problem following long periods without rain but even if irrigation is available it can be troublesome if there is inadequate sprinkler coverage. Image A: Dry Patch There will be many occasions when Dry Patch will be noticed just five to six metres from a nearby sprinkler. This might seem odd as to why the surface is so dry when so close to the sprinkler? Is there anything that can be done to alleviate this annoying and debilitating problem, apart from applying truck-loads of wetting agents? Well, it could be a sign of inadequate water pressure in the irrigation system. The easiest and cheapest way might be as simple as changing the nozzles in your sprinklers. While this might not sound particularly technical, the reduction of a nozzle size in all your sprinklers can have
Dry Patch is both unsightly and damaging to turf surfaces
a major effect on an irrigation systems’ performance, providing better water coverage, reduced dry-patch, reduced over-watered patches (ironically) and a much more uniform and consistent playing surface. Addressing this situation is quite simple: Firstly, identify the nozzles in each sprinkler and check their flow rates in a product chart that will be available on the sprinkler brands’ website. Once
making making turf turf matter matter
Under pressure! this is done, find a smaller nozzle. For example if you have a Rain Bird Eagle 751 and it has a green (#44) nozzle, you can change it out for a blue (#32) nozzle which produces a much lower flow rate. Whereas the smaller nozzle might not throw as far in a theoretical world, its lower flow rate will cause several changes in your irrigation system. To start with, the flow rate will have gone from about 1.7 litres per second for the green nozzle down to around 1.1 litres per second for the blue nozzle. Multiply this reduction, by the number of sprinklers that turn on simultaneously, and you have made a big saving in the systemsâ€™ flow rate. For example, if you have two sprinklers operating on a green together (i.e. two solenoid valves operating four sprinklers on each green), then the flow rate has been reduced by 1.2 litres per second; thatâ€™s a 35% reduction! But what difference does that make, I hear you ask. Well, it causes several hydraulic changes. Firstly, this example means your irrigation pump needs to push 35% less
water out every second. With irrigation pumps, the flow rate (i.e. the volume of water per second) is often inversely proportional to the pressure (how much energy is in the water) the pump can deliver. In other words as one goes up, the opposite one goes down. So, when the flow rate is reduced by 35% (at the sprinkler nozzles), the pump can put more pressure into the pipeline. This extra pressure makes it all the way to the sprinkler, creating a better throw, improved uniformity, enhanced coverage and less Dry-Patch. It might sound too good to be true but it really is that simple. B: Golf Sprinkler Ultimately not every golf course or sports club can afford a new irrigation system, and the lost productivity from having a member of staff standing all day hand-watering is difficult to justify, but a few small changes in your existing irrigation system
can make all the difference. New sprinkler nozzles might cost a small amount but changing them is something you should be able to do in-house to save extra cash. So if you are having problems with water uniformity and all its implications from your sprinkler system, just changing the nozzles in your sprinklers could have a profound result. www.rigbytaylor.com
Rain Bird golf sprinkler operating at excellent pressure capacity
Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020 | 55
BUYERS’ GUIDE Statistics reveal scale of
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n Agronomy Audits n Advisory Services n Project Management n Construction over 70% of visitors said that there was an The 70th SALTEX exhibition exceeded all n Budgets after an independent audit excellent mix of products on display. Table 1 expectations www.gregevansmg.com shows what visitors were looking for. confirmed the exhibition as the largest turf www.campeyturfcare.com Call: 07951 157208 or email: Exhibitors at SALTEX 2015 reported management event in the UK with a total Telephone: 01260 224 568 firstname.lastname@example.org 0118 Email: email@example.com huge3914540 success at the show, suggesting that of 8,714 unique individuals attending. Now, firstname.lastname@example.org the visitors were a very powerful group of the visitor surveys have been flooding in – buyers. With deals being done there and revealing a fascinating and in-depth insight GOLF COURSE TYRES then on the show floor, it’s no surprise to see into the visitor profile of the show. MANAGEMENT that over 80% had purchasing responsibility. With visitors traveling from every corner Over 75% of all SALTEX visitors also had of the UK as well as every continent around the ability to sign off purchases of up to the world it was encouraging to see that AGENTS £100,000. over 70% of the visitors rated their overall WETTING Golf Course Management As for the type of facilities that the SALTEX experience as being good, very SOIL SURFACTANTS Consultant visitors were responsible for, it was great to good or excellent. ORGANIC FERTILISERS see such a wide array of visitors (table 2). Over Golf 65% Course of visitors said that they Advice; LocumSALTEX Greenkeeper Service; Visitors also found the more central attended to source new products, 01233 633267 Projector Management; Practical location of the NEC to be more accessible services suppliers, while 20% wanted UK.aquatrols.com Genuine with 70% stating that the new location was toSolutions make thefor most of theProblems free educational GOLF BUNKERS www.billymcmillanassociates.co.uk either good or excellent. Within the halls of LEARNING LIVE seminars and to receive 07774through 632747 the IOG’s Ask the NEC, visitors favoured the more compact one-to-oneTel: advice setting with over 70% rating the layout of the Expert feature. With so much on offer the event either good or excellent. at SALTEX, there was something for MACHINERY MACHINERY Overall the visitor survey has everyone and over 80% said that they were demonstrated just how good the was the successful or very successful in meeting Toro Reelmaster 5010-H with PowerMatch quality of attendees – further enhancing their objectives. Horsepower SALTEX as the must attend event of the With such a large number of visitors on Demand year. attending SALTEX to source new products SALTEX 2016 will be held at the NEC, and services; they certainly came to the Birmingham on 2 and 3 November 2016. For right place. The exhibition is a great way www.whitemosseco.org.uk more information visit www.iogsaltex.com to launch and showcase new products and
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Table 2 Turf Matters | February-March 2016 | 33
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making turf matter
Carrying more rust than any one man should have to endure, there I was standing aboard the 1st tee. I was alone, social golfing distancing the price we had to, and were happy to, pay to open the fairways. Not having swung a club in anger for more than five months, and with the practice range still out of bounds I was feeling a mixture of trepidation and excitement. What lay ahead? Would all those well ingrained flaws have disappeared? Would all that time watching instructional Youtube videos have paid off?
58 | Turf Matters | JULY-AUGUST 2020
Would I still like the game? The one benefit of social distancing was the extended tee off times, so when I did unravel my first waggle there was no-one in sight ahead of me and no-one behind me. I was cocooned in concentration. Slow back; bring in that recently introduced chest turn; try to keep the backswing on plane; smooth transition at the top of the back swing (which in my case is more half than three quarters); bring that aforementioned chest through; finish high; watch the ball flow off the clubface and arc its way down the fairway to nestle just right of centre about 210 yards away. That is what I’d hoped for. That is what I’d dreamt of the night before. That is not what happened. If the ball had been an egg. It would have been beautifully sliced open ready to accept its first soldier. I nearly missed it, only catching the top 20% at best. I caught sight of it bouncing into the tee a couple of feet in front of me before rolling slowly to the slightly longer grass on the front edge of the tee. In all honesty it was always a possibility, but I was pretty crushed. Golf should be like riding a horse. You don’t forget. But unfortunately, even AP McCoy can fall off a horse and I can produced the nearest thing to a fresh air shot that I’ve done since I was 12. What to do? Well, I did what most lone golfers would do with no card in hand and no-one around. I picked up and dropped it close to where that
imaginary drive would have finished. Oh. I forgot to say this was the first round on my brand new golf club. Mrs Golfing Nobody and I had moved house just before lockdown and my membership for my new course was accepted just before play had resumed. What a first impression. Or it would have been if anyone had seen me! Within a few holes I was hitting the odd one reasonably, and to a casual observer I might have looked a little like a golfer. I even racked up a few bogeys. But having begun to find my swing, another issue emerged. By the 11th I was knackered. My wonderful new golf club has some spectacular holes, but one of the main contributors to spectacular holes is undulation and elevation. Tees looking down enticing fairways to a green in the distance, or raised greens guarded to the front by deep gorges. Brilliant golf holes but not as easy to get around as a duller flat track. In advance of my 50th birthday – some time ago now – I promised myself a powered caddie car. As it turned out, feeling that I was still a pretty fit specimen when that half century arrived I vowed to carry on pushing. I even invested in a new push trolley last year. But, oh for a bit of help. With a golf bag full of waterproofs, water bottle, snacks to keep me going and more balls than anyone should need for a single round, those hills were anything but molehills and seemed to get steeper as the round went on. Reproducing a smooth swing when still gulping for air is not a possibility and my 7-iron was being better utilised as a walking stick than a pin seeking weapon. But I made it. 18 holes done and some of that rust knocked off. I’m ready to throw myself into my new golf club and when the restrictions ease be a regular attendee of the weekend and midweek roll ups. *As told to Scott MacCallum
stadium of light
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Our cover story and main focus is on the current Coronavirus pandemic and how turf managers are coping with exclusive interviews featuring a...
Published on Jun 24, 2020
Our cover story and main focus is on the current Coronavirus pandemic and how turf managers are coping with exclusive interviews featuring a...