The Landscaper Magazine: March 2020 issue

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MARCH 2020









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"Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink," wrote poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” His story related to a tale of a sailor who has returned from a long sea voyage, thirsty so it seems. This quote from the 18th century poet came to me while I was writing the feature this month on irrigation. We may feel as if we are surrounded by flood waters at the moment, but come the summer it will be time to get the sprinklers out. I find out how the latest innovations in the industry is helping landscapers schedule their irrigation more effectively. We also turn to the experts in turf industry this month to ask if artificial surfaces will ever be truly accepted by top flight sport? Since 1966 when the world’s first ever artificial turf was laid out on a sports pitch at the Houston Astrodome in Texas, USA (hence the name Astro Turf), we discover how the industry has transcended the world of sport, commercial landscaping and most recently into our back yards.


Back to the weather, Greg Bedson ponders on whether the landscaping industry has a part to play in our erratic climate patterns. Is the increasing loss of garden areas, filled in with hardstanding for either parking cars or simple convenience to blame asks Greg. And finally while you are stuck indoors waiting for the weather to pass, you might take the time to consider your staffing needs for the next few months. Paula Warman discusses how to recruit permanent members of your team and offers advice on how to keep them loyal.

Maggie Walsh Editor

We welcome any news, points of view or feature ideas. Please email


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The Landscaper | Issue 245 | March 2020



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News........................................................................ 09

Editor Maggie Walsh | 07787 555 798 |

Irrigation................................................................. 18

Contributors Greg Bedson | Paula Warman

Managing artificial sports surfaces.................... 29

Sales manager Jason Studd | 0208 939 5600 |

Groundscare & turf................................................ 35

Group sales manager Stewart Turner | 0208 939 5600 |

Pest control............................................................ 40

Design and production

Mowers.................................................................... 42

Circulation and subscriptions Maggie Walsh | The Landscaper is owned and published by Sheengate Publishing Ltd. The Landscaper is an entirely independent magazine. It is not a member of any trade association or society. Sheengate Publishing Ltd Unit A4, Kingsway Business Park Oldfield Road, Hampton TW12 2HD 0208 939 5600

Tools & Machinery................................................. 46

Landscaper circle....................................................51

Managing director Alex Whitney

Viewpoint................................................................ 53

Publisher Con Crowley

Recruitment............................................................ 56

Nothing in this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publishers. Readers intending to purchase goods or services from advertisers should make their own enquiries if in any doubt. Every endeavour has been made to ensure that all the information published in this magazine is as accurate as possible. Neither the publishers nor their agents can be held responsible for any errors or omissions; nor shall they be liable for any loss or damage to any person acting on the information contained in the magazine. Copyright Š 2020

Cover Story: Rigby Taylor Ltd is the appointed UK distributor of Rain Bird irrigation products for golf, sports fields and landscaping. For professional advice on the right system for your situation, visit or email

Stock available for immediate dispatch from our UK warehouses for all applications including landscaping, sport, commercial and play Trade prices starting at ÂŁ8.00 plus VAT with further discounts available for volume orders. More than 10 different landscape products available in full rolls and cut lengths. Dedicated trade account managers and technical expertise from our installation managers. All ancillary products and 12mm, 20mm, 25mm and 35mm shock pad also available.

The Landscaper | Issue 245 | March 2020




Bradstone announce best landscapers at Assured Awards

Bradstone Award winners Paving manufacturer Bradstone celebrated the achievements of some of the best landscapers in the country at its annual national installer awards. The January event at the Mercure Daventry Court Hotel, Northamptonshire saw 10 category winners unveiled and one exemplary landscaper crowned the 2020 Installer of the Year. The awards, now in their seventh year, recognise landscapers who have demonstrated excellent levels of workmanship, design expertise and customer service with categories including best patio, best apprentice and most challenging project. The 2020 recipient of the Installer of the Year was revealed as Alfresco Landscaping, based in Peterborough. Upon receiving the award, the owner, Alastair Peat, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have once again won the prestigious title of Installer of the Year. As a small, local business we work hard each year to offer creative designs and go above and beyond for

all of our clients. It’s an honour to be recognised for the third time in five years for the quality of our work in such a highly competitive category.” Winners were chosen by an expert judging panel including guest judge, Phil Tremayn, from the Association of Professional Landscapers, and Bradstone’s National Sales Manager, Peter Montgomery. Peter Montgomery comments: “Each year, we look forward to reviewing all the entries to explore the creative or technically challenging projects our Assured Installers have been working on throughout the past 12 months. This year, I’m delighted to report that we have seen some of the highest quality entries since the awards began. “Congratulations to all of the immensely talented landscapers and apprentices who received an award, the quality and creativeness of your craftsmanship is outstanding and we wish you all the best of luck for a prosperous year ahead.

Award winners 2020 Best Patio Transformation – up to 30m Winner: LB Landscaping Highly Commended: Matt Bettison Garden Design Best Patio Transformation – 30m2 – 60m2 Winner: Alfresco Landscaping Highly Commended: The Garden Barber Best Patio Transformation – over 60m2 Winner: Cotswold Paving & Landscaping Ltd Highly Commended: PB Landscapes of Melbourne Commended: Applefields Ltd Best Driveway Transformation – up to 60m2 Winner: Winslade Landscapes Ltd Highly Commended: Matt Bettison Garden Design Best Driveway Transformation – over 60m2 Winner: Reece Paving & Driveways Ltd Highly Commended: D Plumridge Professional Driveway & Patio Construction Commended: T Perrin & Sons 2

Commended: Lee Harvey Designs Ltd Best Use of Porcelain Winner: Habitat Landscapes Ltd Highly Commended: PB Landscapes of Melbourne Commended: Strong-base Driveways & Landscaping Best Use of Natural Stone Winner: Lee Harvey Designs Ltd Highly Commended: Style Home Improvements Ltd Best Use of Concrete Winner: Cotswold Paving & Landscaping Ltd Apprentice/Employee of the Year Winner: Will Jones from Alfresco Landscaping Highly Commended: Thomas Kearvell from Neil Pilton Commended: Joshua Martin from Larkin & Sons Most Challenging Project Winner: The Garden Barber Highly Commended: Lee Harvey Designs Commended: PB Landscapes of Melbourne

The Landscaper | Issue 245 | March 2020



GreenMech expand dealership outlets

Pictured from L to R: Julian Cullis of GreenMech, with TNS Sales Director Chris Tew and Matt Bailey, Suffolk Groundcare Sales Manager GreenMech, manufactureres of woodchippers and shredders, have appointed Thurlow Nunn Standen LTD (TNS), as distributors for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. Operating out of three depots in Attleborough, Kennett and Melton, TNS will now be handling sales and support for Europe’s leading range of woodchippers. TNS offer a wide selection of groundcare products from some of the industry’s leading manufacturers. The breadth of range and depth of knowledge in the grounds division sees TNS well placed to offer product support across the GreenMech range which spans pedestrian, road-tow, tracked and tractor-mounted models. TNS’s in-house parts and technical support also ensures that post-sales service meets the requirements of their varied client base.


Chris Tew, Sales Director at Thurlow Nunn Standen says, “TNS are very pleased to be appointed as the new GreenMech dealer for East Anglia. We believe the range of quality products they offer will complement our existing portfolio and will suit both professional and domestic users. We look forward to promoting this range to our existing and new customers and working with this market leading British manufacturer.” GreenMech Regional Sales Manager Julian Cullis adds, ““TNS have built a fantastic reputation on providing established products with excellent customer service. With so many years of experience and knowhow under their belts, we look forward to working together with them to offer a more localised service across this area.”


Join the Pellenc team Pellenc, a leader in the world of battery-powered tools for maintaining landscapes, is on the look out for nonexclusvie Pellenc Alpha dealers to join the team. The brand are offering hands-on product training, marketing and technical support and dealership development to sell the Pellenc Alpha range, which features all of the usual Pellenc environmental and professional benefits to end users, but at a lower starting price point. Les Malin, Managing Director of Etesia UK, Pellenc’s exclusive distributor in the UK and Ireland, commented: “Our dealers play a pivotal role in not only delivering the highest levels of customer service and aftersales support, but also sustaining our position as the leading battery-powered garden maintenance manufacturer. “We are looking for dealers that share our passion and commitment to providing customers with a great buying experience while promoting the benefits of environmentally-friendly garden maintenance equipment.” For more details visit

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The Landscaper | Issue 245 | March 2020



New appointments at John Deere

(Left to right) Brian D’Arcy, Joanne Gregory and Richard Charleton pictured on the John Deere stand at BTME 2020 Following a strategic re-organisation of John Deere’s professional turf business in Europe, Brian D’Arcy has been appointed as turf division sales manager for the company’s newly created Region 2 Sales Division 1. This covers the UK and Ireland plus additional key markets in Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland. Brian graduated with a degree in Agricultural Engineering Managemen from the Tralee Institute of Technology, Ireland, and joined John Deere in July 2007 as a tractor sales demonstration instructor then working his way up to his position as Region 2 product manager for compact and utility tractors at Deere’s European HQ in Mannheim, Germany. As a result of the structural changes, Richard Charleton has been promoted to a new additional strategic account manager position for golf and turf covering the UK and Ireland, alongside Michael Grey (who replaced Brian D’Arcy in this role in 2018). Alongside this responsibility, Richard is also taking on the position of John Deere Limited turf territory manager for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.


Richard is a graduate of Rycotewood College in the UK, where he gained a higher national certificate in Agricultural Engineering. He joined John Deere in January 1991 as a sales demonstration instructor for the UK and Ireland, and then became turf territory manager for Scotland and the north of England in 1996, a position he has held until this latest promotion. Following this appointment, Joanne Gregory has replaced Richard Charleton as John Deere Limited’s new turf territory manager for Scotland and the north of England. Joanne is a graduate of Harper Adams University, where she gained a BSc (Hons) in Agricultural Business Management, and she spent her student placement year with the marketing team at the UK base of Langar, Nottinghamshire. Before joining John Deere full-time, Joanne worked for leading chartered surveyors and specialist property consultants Fisher German LLP. Joanne started at Langar in May 2019 as product sales specialist for homeowner equipment, liaising with and supporting the UK and Ireland dealer network


Sales growth award for KAR UK KAR UK , wholesaler of irrigation equipment across the landscape and sports turf markets in the UK, has won the coveted Kasco Top Sales Growth Award for 2019. KAR UK partly attributes its success to working with the most prominent manufacturers - one of which is Kasco. For more than 50 years, family owned Kasco has offered world-leading water quality solutions. Today, it manufactures high quality products such as fountains, surface aerators, diffused aerators, de-icers, circulators and beneficial bacteria to aquatic industries - all of which are designed to improve water quality. Commenting on KAR UK’s award, Joe Holz, Kasco’s International Sales Manager, said: “We are extremely proud to present KAR UK with an award recognising their Top Sales Growth for 2019. KAR UK earned this award by being one of the fastest growing Kasco distributors in the world. “Combining their knowledge of the product and excellent customer service, KAR UK was able to dramatically grow their Kasco sales in 2019 with excellent prospects for 2020 and beyond. We, at Kasco, would like to thank them for their partnership with us and we look forward to1 more award recognitions Project1_Layout 28/06/2016 13:44 Page in 1 the future”

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(L-R) Wes Henshaw from KAR UK collecting award from Paul Amos of Kasco


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In reflecting upon the achievement, KAR UK’s UK Sales Manager, Mike McDonnell, said: "We are delighted to have won this award for the first time. My thanks go to Kasco, for recognising our contribution, to everyone at KAR for all the hard work, and also to our customers for their continuing support."



m One


The Landscaper | Issue 245 | March 2020



SPA Power Machinery joins London dealership

The Westermann Radialbesen London based suppliers of horticulture and arborist equipment, FR Jones & Son have kickstarted their partnership with SPA Power Machinery, which will see them become an official dealership of the machinery brands Easy Petrol Post Driver and Westermann Radialbesen. Based in Sydenham, London FR Jones & Son have established an enviable reputation for delivering an extensive range of products, including Stihl, Husqvarna, and Wolf Garten for the past 50 years. They become the latest company to showcase the innovative machinery by SPA in their showrooms, with demonstrations available on site. The Easy Petrol Post Driver will knock in any shape or size posts up to 4” round. Suitable for landscaping, tree planting, fencing, farming, construction, vineyards, events, and more. Manufactured in Australia, powered by Honda GX35 4-Stroke, and with 3-year commercial warranty. The Westermann Radialbesen is a hard surface cleaning using rotary brushes that has revolutionised the grounds maintenance industry. An alternative to pressure washing, the range provides a more ecological and time saving method, and can remove chemical application altogether. Discussing the new announcement Laurie Anthony, Director at SPA Power Machinery says:


“We are very pleased that FR Jones & Son have chosen to take on the dealerships of our flagship import ranges. The efforts that FR Jones put in to engage with their customer base is second-to-none, and we are proud to be working with them to bring our products to the people of the South East.”

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AVS Group acquired by Lawsons Fencing and landscaping contractors will welcome the news that Lawsons Holdings Limited completed its acquisition of AVS Group Holdings Limited in February. AVS trades through its subsidiary company AVS Fencing Supplies Limited. The acquisition is a great strategic fit for Lawsons as it celebrates its 100th year next year. It will form

a platform for future expansion in the fencing and landscaping market that will see 565 employees and operates from 27 branches across the South East of England. AVS will retain its brand identity and continue to operate separately under the direction of its Managing Director Stewart Pierce. Lawsons, under the guidance of Chairman Simon Lawson, will assist in the future growth and development strategy of AVS. Says AVS founder, Ian Faires: “The values and ethos of both companies run in parallel and I had no hesitation in deciding that Simon and his team were the perfect fit going forward. I am very proud of what we have all achieved at AVS during the past 27 years and now is the right time for this move to take place.” Simon Lawson adds: “I am absolutely delighted with the acquisition, which further demonstrates Lawsons commitment to expansion, growth and development as it looks forward to a new and exciting decade.”

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The Landscaper | Issue 245 | March 2020



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On schedule

Contrary to recent weather forecasts, the biggest challenge for many landscapers, whether maintaining a lawn, sports turf or cityscape, is the need for irrigation. Maggie Walsh speaks with industry experts to find out how the industry can irrigate effectively


ater is not only essential for growth, but, and certainly in the case of the sports industry, is also necessary for conditioning turf to handle and recover from stress caused by heavy use and harsh environmental conditions. If there is not enough natural rainfall (difficult to consider with recent storms) supplemental water is essential to keep turf healthy after the soils have dried out. So while groundscare professionals are keen to keep our landscapes green, the climate change storm is brewing, which means the heat is on for us to irrigate efficiently.


The government is piling the pressure on those who use water for their business (abstractors) to use water supplies as effectively as possible. The Water Act 2003 was introduced so that abstractors would demonstrate efficient use of water. If you need more than 20 cubic metres (approximately 4,400 gallons) per day from a river, stream or canal or from an underground source such as a bore hole, you will almost certainly need an abstraction licence available from the Environmental Agency (EA). There is no quick fix to irrigate well, but the UK Irrigation Association (UKIA) says managing irrigation


Irrigation Controller

better is about optimising your soil water management practices, which in turn will improve irrigation efficiency. This means applying the right amount of water at the right place and at the right time. To do this, advises the UKIA, you will need to, “continually make two important irrigation decisions – when to irrigate and how much water to apply to keep the soil in the right condition for your crops.” This is irrigation scheduling. Nick Ryan, Operations Director, of Waterwell Ltd, a London-based irrigation installer, suggests scheduling allows for different irrigation zones to run for longer or shorter times to facilitate watering different types of vegetation. For example he explains, “scheduling irrigation to run in the middle of the night reduces the amount of water lost from the system due to evaporation from the soil surface before its absorbed.” It is important to schedule water applications according to needs of the landscape, so that you avoid unnecessary waste and also don’t over-irrigate. Effective scheduling is also dependent on having an understanding of soil types. Soils act as a reservoir to hold water and different types of soils will hold different amounts of water - an understanding of the science

behind these systems is paramount. In addition, getting the best results for your projects can be achieved by designing and maintaining irrigation systems correctly, says the UKIA. Peter Longman, Northern Europe Landscape Area Manager for Rain Bird, manufacturers and supplier of irrigation products, agrees but he also adds that landscape contractors need to be educated to do this. “Landscapers have got to know the basic principals needed to design an irrigation system, as they will come across pitfalls,” he explains. “Once they’ve mastered the building blocks of how a system works, they can translate what they’ve learnt to any size of garden or area that they need to water.” Rain Bird is one of a number of training outlets that offers courses giving participants the theoretical and practical knowledge needed to design a residential watering system, to implement and operate a controller system and offer tips such as troubleshooting with managing water consumption on large sites. However, says Peter, “if the project is simply too complex, and you don’t have time for training, you can employ consultants to take on the design for you, ”

The Landscaper | Issue 245 | March 2020



Using remote control for irrigation needs

While some, such as those working in the world of sports turf, rely on judgement to decide when to turn on emission devices, such as sprinklers, increasingly scheduling is managed using remote controllers to regulate irrigation. Says Nick Ryan: “Controllers can facilitate any form of scheduling. They allow allocated zones to run for the correct amount of time at the best time of the day. Most controllers also can be attached to rain sensors or soil moisture sensors to automatically modify the irrigation schedule.” In recent years the smart controller has become a must have gadget. According to Peter at Rainbird, these smart devices have raised the profile of irrigation technology, and he suggests “this leap in technology aids water efficiency. “ “It takes a lot of water to irrigate and we want end users to do it productively,” he continues. “Controllers are now connected to the internet, which importantly allows access to weather data and remote control,” explains Peter. Controllers can now access weather reports on the go. There are systems in place that can tell a controller if it’s going to rain tomorrow, so that the controller can then make a decision as to whether to irrigate today or leave until tomorrow. “Essentially there are algorithms in place that can minimise water use,” explains Peter. “This can make a


significant change to the amount of wasted water - it can cut the amount of irrigation water used by up to 30-60 %.” Peter is rightly excited about the affect advances in irrigation technology is having, particularly on the private residential market. “With householders being able to manage their irrigation systems remotely, controllers have been instrumental in the growth of installations within the residential market,” he says. “But also as we see a gradual change in climate, we as an industry are working closely with landscape architects, whose strategy is to make cities less concrete and in their words ‘child friendly.’ “Using more grass and flora to keep the city cool, needs good irrigation support, which in industry terms is a growing opportunity for us,” concludes Peter. There is no such thing as an ‘un-scheduled’ irrigation - no-one irrigates completely at random says the UKIA. However, it concludes, there is ‘good’ and there is ‘bad’ scheduling. With awareness and using the intelligence of internet data hopefully end users will practice the former. • For more information on water management visit UK Irrigation Association at • For details on training opportunities in irrigation with Rain Bird visit

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The Nuts & Bolts of an Automatic Irrigation System By Peter Robin - Rigby Taylor Irrigation Product Manager

Landscape irrigation We are being told that global warming will make the weather more variable. This apparently means more extremes; wetter times and drier periods. The floods we’ve experienced this winter suggest the experts might be onto something. If you have spent thousands of pounds installing soft landscaping, then an irrigation system is an insurance policy to protect that investment during periods of dry weather. We’re not necessarily talking about three months with no rain; if a plant is without water for even a week it can suffer. A good irrigation system allows plants to flourish during the summer, maximising their growth and vigour. Children can play on lawns that are soft and lush, while the garden plants grow bigger every week to fill those initial gaps. Plants need water to absorb nutrients such as fertilisers, while compost needs water to bio-degrade. Water is the key participant in almost every biological event happening underground in your garden. The cost of an irrigation system is soon paid back when the entire garden landscape looks a million! Irrigation systems need to be ready to go as soon

Apps provide instant monitoring


as the weather conditions dictate. In the case of an automatic irrigation system, it will take control without the homeowner needing to even know it’s there. Many automatic irrigation systems now use Bluetooth or WiFi so you can see what’s going on at a customer’s house, the other side of town or even a different country by simply by checking the app on your tablet or smart phone. You can even make alterations to run-times and adjust when the system automatically turns on while you sip an espresso from a café in Rome or even further afield. Many of us will have seen lawn sprinklers operating while it’s raining and thinking what a waste of such a valuable resource, Well these days, with the technology available there is no reason for this to happen. The simplest rain sensor will cost less than £40 and can be connected to almost any automatic irrigation controller. This low investment addition will prevent irrigation while mother nature is doing the job but, will still allow the irrigation system to fly into action as soon as a few days of dry weather has occurred. Such devices prevent operators of landscaping irrigation from wasting such a precious commodity, when they don’t need to.

Rain Sensor

PROMOTIONAL FEATURE Irrigation controllers are simple to install and very simple to use. You don’t need to be an electrician because all the power out of the controller is 24 volts (ac) which is effectively harmless. An automatic irrigation controller allows you to set a different duration of watering for each lawn and each garden on a property, and all the irrigation can be set to start turning on at say 2am, when the home owner is busy counting sheep. To install a professional watering system in the UK it is important to use a break-tank. This is a water storage tank, normally with a capacity of a couple of thousand litres, which is filled from a hose tap. Then an irrigation pump is installed which gives the irrigation system the supply of water at a good pressure. The requirement for a break-tank prevents the customer’s water from accidentally feeding back into the watermains in a vacuum situation, which can occur at times. This is known as backflow prevention. The automatic irrigation controller; the brain of the system as mentioned above, is plugged into a 240 volt power socket too. It is handy to mount the controller on a shed or garage wall where it is at eye level and easily accessible.

Solenoid Valves

Automatic Controller Most controllers can be purchased with a lockable front cover; this is handy if you think that meddling hands could be a factor. The controller makes irrigation in the garden and lawns happen via harmless 24volt cables (these are normally buried alongside the main irrigation pipes) that run out from the pump to solenoid valves; A solenoid valve is effectively an electric tap. They can be installed inside valve boxes under the ground’s surface, invisible from above.

They will turn on and off as instructed by the controller. When a solenoid valve is turned on (i.e. supplied with power from the controller) it opens just like a tap and allows water to feed through the pipes to the lawn sprinklers or the dripline in the gardens. This might all sound expensive but a Rain Bird irrigation controller that can control 6 solenoid valves (and let’s have a lockable cover to keep those prying fingers out!) can cost less than £200. Yes, the associated 24 volt cables and solenoid valves all add up, but the fact is that an automatic irrigation system is not that expensive when compared to the benefits that they provide for the plants and lawns... and your time. Even your hanging baskets, the greenhouse or a shaded area full of ferns can each be provided with their own irrigation schedule. Once your customers have an automatic irrigation system they will wonder how they ever survived without one! If you would like more information on how to install irrigation systems for landscape gardens, feel free to contact Rigby Taylor Ltd. We can help you learn how to install systems and put you into contact with where to purchase systems from, anywhere in the UK. Tel: 01276 676833 E.mail:

The Landscaper | Issue 245 | March 2020


Wildflower Bulbs

Add the beauty of biodiversity to every project John Chambers is a leading supplier of British native wildflower seed and bulbs, grass seed, wildflower matting and insect and wildlife habitats for every project and budget.


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Pre-emergent residual herbicide • Broad spectrum weed control • Combines new active iodosulfuron with trusted DFF • Works in combination with glyphosate for initial knock down followed by residual control • Ideal tool in resistance management

The long-term activity of Valdor® Flex keeps soil weed-free for up to 4 months, making it a cost-effective solution for our customers. JOHN MARLAND Head of Amenity


J001244 - WM Advert resize 73mm(w) x 108mm(h)_Release.pdf 1 26/02/2020 14:44 Use plant protection products safely. Always read the label and product information before use. Contains iodosulfuron-methyl-sodium and diflufenican.

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The Landscaper | Issue 245 | March 2020



Do the maths first with Graf UK

After the record-breaking wet winter of 2019/2020, it is unlikely that actually harvesting rainwater is front of mind with the British people. But with volatile climates increasingly the norm, it is becoming even more important to consider rainwater harvesting as a vital addition to a property’s estate. The average house roof in the UK collects enough rainwater in a year to fill about 450 water butts so collecting water in rainstorms to irrigate in dry periods should be a no-brainer. Setting up a rainwater irrigation system for a small property is relatively simple – a couple of tanks under downspouts is well within the capability of most DIY-ers. But they will only irrigate one to two flower beds. Anything more than that, involving overground water tanks holding up to 500 litres and underground water tanks holding up to 52,000 litres, requires the help of professionals. But first, how much water will there be available for irrigation? To determine the tank size based on yield, the following parameters should be considered: • Catchment area (m2) • Pitch/texture of roof - catchment coefficient (%) • Annual rainfall figure (mm) - this can be found on the Met Office’s climate page • Filter efficiency To determine demand, the average north European garden requires between 60-200l/m2 x area in m2 x 365 days. Once an annual figure for both yield and demand has been determined, multiply the figures by 0.05 to get a 2-3 week storage volume. Then it is the smaller of the two tank sizes which is usually implemented. So it makes sense to focus first on how much can actually be collected from a roof, rather than how much is needed. For more details visit or call 01608 661500

Water Aid Garden irrigation for over 30 years

Waterwell has been at the forefront of garden irrigation design, installation and maintenance in London for the past 30 years. The team work in commercial and residential settings, ranging from hotels and London squares to private gardens, roof terraces and small patios. In addition the compant has been involved in the construction of award-winning gardens at RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court flower shows. In a fast-changing world, at a time when climate change is presenting new challenges, Waterwell is committed to using the latest irrigation technologies and practices to deliver water as efficiently and effectively in every garden situation. As part of this process, the company installs wi-fi controllers, which can be monitored and adjusted remotely and are connected to virtual weather stations so that watering regimes respond automatically to current conditions. Its maintenance service is an important part of the business. With an experienced team servicing hundreds of systems on a contractual or call out basis, we ensure that gardens are irrigated at their optimum level all year round. 0208 742 8855



Irrigation under control

Gardens change regularly. Tree and shrubs come and go, flower beds change. What is needed is an irrigation system that can change too. A system that has just two electrical conductors that go everywhere, gives the versatility that is needed. At each valve is an electronic switch, called a decoder. It has a unique address like a telephone number. It connects to the conductors, picks up 24VAC power and listens for commands. When its number is sent, it supplies the valve with power, turning on the water. Having just one 2 conductor cable (called the 2wire path), allows new sections to be spliced in anywhere, just a new decoder added to make another valve work. The TW3 is such a controller. It has a monthly seasonal adjust between 0-255% to track the weather, 4 watering programs and up to 12 start times per program. Add an inexpensive rain switch and it can water the gardens all year round without further adjustment. Tonick decoders are waterproof and have 1-4 independent outputs. Alternatively, a “Decoder In A Solenoid” (DIAS) which replaces the existing solenoid on the valve. This saves two waterproof connectors. Tonick Watering Wilsonwells Croft, Crimond, Fraserburgh AB43 8YH

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Real care for artificial sports surfaces


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Pitch perfect Will artificial surfaces ever be truly accepted by top flight sport? Con Crowley talks to the professional suppliers and maintenance contractors about advances in synthetic turf and which sports take most readily to it


t is all a far cry from the pioneering days of the mid 1960s when The Beatles were taking America by storm and baseball players in Houston, Texas were struggling to reach the base line because sunlight on the glass roof of their new stadium was dazzling them. Man had yet to land on the moon and Apple to emerge as a vinyl record label, let alone the world’s greatest tech company. But a revolution was on its way. “Well,” as John Lennon sang, “we all want to change the world.” And that’s exactly what they did back in Texas in 1965 when the transparent roof of the new Houston Astrodome was painted white to stop the glare. For not only did it stop the sun, but it also stopped the grass growing and the team had to spend most of its first season playing on a worn-out dirt pitch painted green for effect. So, the following year they commissioned the world’s first ever artificial turf. The manufacturers called

A cross section showing layers of typical artificial turf produced by manufacturer Polytan

their new invention Astro Turf after the stadium and the rest, as they say, is history. Nearly 55 years on and there are now many other manufacturers in the market with applications for artificial grass transcending the world of sport, commercial landscaping and most recently, the domestic garden market. Even the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) concede it has its place: “Something of a taboo subject for many gardeners but artificial turf has a role to play,” it admits sheepishly on its website. But it’s the sports world that has really seen the greatest advances. It’s a multi-million-pound global industry that has seen professional sport embrace the many benefits that the second and third generation products, now available on the market, offer. “We are certainly seeing more and more sporting bodies embrace the idea because it has so many maintenance and endurance benefits,” says Jess Finnegan, UK marketing manager of Tiger Turf, a global brand manufacturing artificial grass which started in New Zealand and now has a plant in Kidderminster serving the UK and European market. It is a view shared by Lee Collier, a senior design consultant with the STRI sports turf research group. “You only have to fly across Europe at night to see how many floodlit artificial pitches dominate the landscape,’” he says. STRI work with major stadiums, suppliers and sporting bodies across the world providing a consultation service on both natural and artificial playing surfaces. Whilst natural turf remains the preferred choice for major

The Landscaper | Issue 245 | March 2020



Many major top flight football stadiums now have artificial fibres woven into the natural turf in a process known as hybrid turf sports, Lee says some form of artificial intervention is prevalent in the creation of most top-flight pitches. He says in sport its application is most prevalent in football but in more recent years it has also been making great strides in the world of rugby. “Even with training, most top-level football players would prefer a natural surface, however there are very few training grounds or stadium pitches in the UK that don’t have some form of artificial intervention,” says Lee. This would take the form of a hybrid turf where natural grass is reinforced with manmade fibres. “The carpets are woven with artificial fabric to allow the natural grass to grown through. This gives them extra strength and durability,” he says. Soccer remains the biggest market for artificial turf but its uses are dictated mostly by climate. “If you look at it historically location has determined where artificial turf has been most used,” says Lee. “In the northern

Golf is a game for purists where only natural turf will do. Picture credit: Tyler Hendy


hemisphere natural turf can become difficult to handle in winter and pitches are less durable meaning that fewer matches can be played.” And it is not just football that is being helped out by artificial intervention. Rugby has also embraced the alternative. But according to Lee different sports require different systems. “For example, rugby is a greater impact sport and would require turf with a longer yarn and denser infill.” “I have heard of its uses round tees and greens in golf where surfaces become very worn, but its uses are fairly limited as it doesn’t fit well with golfers who are concerned about the ecological aspects of the game,” He says it is similar with lawn tennis where the use of artificial turf would fundamentally change the nature of the game. Nevertheless simulated grass courts have appeared in the UK with manufacturers supplying local clubs, schools and domestic clients with a ‘grass” surface slower than a hard court. According to Tiger Turf’s Jess Finnegan it is local authority sport facilities, local clubs and educational establishments where the market really comes into its own. She said it was certainly now becoming more accepted in rugby and most hockey pitches are now artificial and there is a big market in schools and colleges. “The big area of growth comes because customers see potential revenue benefits that come with artificial turf. There is often a limited use of natural turf but with artificial turf you can use a pitch for many more hours of the week so schools, colleges and local authorities can get extra revenue streams from hiring out pitches as well as getting extra use out of it themselves.” The early synthetic turfs were first embraced in top


Hockey has taken readily to artificial turf, but surfaces can be unforgiving flight sport in America. Hot on the heels of baseball came the switch by top NFL (National Football League) teams. Philadelphia Eagles first played on artificial turf in 1969. The following year NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle predicted it would not be long before every team in the league would be playing on artificial turf. By the beginning of the 1976 season, 16 of the 28 NFL teams were playing on artificial turf. Stadiums in the States adopted the practice because synthetic turf offered a considerable cost advantage on maintenance. But these early carpets were extremely basic and brought with them their own problems. According to Mark Waite, Tiger Turf’s national sales manager these were a carpet only version with no infill. This provided a problem as it created and gained the reputation that ‘AstroTurf burns your skin’. Moving forward into the 1980’s, the sand filled or second generation (2G) of AstroTurf, found its way into professional football clubs with Luton Town, Queens Park Rangers and Preston North End all investing in stadium pitches. However, it still presented a friction problem and players were using tracksuit bottoms or skins to protect themselves. Nowadays, AstroTurf is a bit of a misnomer in the UK. “This is actually an American company which since the 1990s has had almost no presence in the UK,” says Mark. In the 1990s synthetic turf began to get a bad press and many clubs reverted back to natural pitches as players complained about more joint injuries caused by

the harder surfaces and friction burns from the “plastic grass”. Many thought its days were numbered when artificial turf was banned by FIFA UEFA and many football associations. But this new burgeoning industry which saw huge global potential with more and more countries investing in sport took steps to research and develop the next generation of artificial turf that would overcome its critics. The third generation (3G surfaces) that took over with a number of global brands competing, arrived with the introduction of an extra infill usually SBR (styrenebutadiene rubber) rubber crumb. These 3G pitches were initially fibrillated polypropylene before the industry moved to monofilament. These surfaces were now ‘contact friendly’ with no friction burns occurring when a player hits them. The bases of the latest pitches have several layers including shock-pads and rubber crumb infill, to emulate real grass. “This provides a cushioning effect ensuring shock absorption and creates a smooth, level and sturdy playing surface, reducing the chance of injury,” says Mark. According to Rhino Turf, another major manufacturer, the breakthrough came in 2001 when FIFA introduced a quality standard that all clubs had to adherer to. Then in 2006 FIFA approved artificial surfaces for tournaments with the first international played on artificial turf between England and Russia in the 2008 European Championships.

The Landscaper | Issue 245 | March 2020



By the second half of the 1970s more than half American NFL teams were playing on artificial turf. Picture courtesy Pixabay Since 2016 in the UK artificial pitches are not permitted in the Premiership or Football League but they are permitted in the National League and lower divisions. The two most prominent English football clubs to currently use artificial pitches are Sutton United, whose FIFA 2-Star quality pitch was installed at Gander Green Lane in August 2015, and Maidstone United, whose

2-Star pitch was built along with the new Gallagher Stadium in July 2012. However, the 2015 Women’s World Cup took place entirely on artificial surfaces, as the event was played in Canada, where almost all of the country’s stadiums use artificial turf due to climate issues. In professional rugby artificial surfaces are used by English Aviva Premiership teams Saracens F.C., Newcastle Falcons and Worcester Warriors, as well as Pro14 teams Cardiff Blues and Glasgow Warriors. Rhino Turf was recently responsible for providing the surface for London Irish’s state-of-the-art new training facility at Sunbury-on-Thames. However, it remains not without its critics. Last September England International and Sale’s Ben Curry shared a post on Twitter showing a burn on his leg following a game against Saracens on their artificial pitch. He pointedly also tagged in the Rugby Players Association. He is not the only player to draw attention to injury. But according to STRI’s Lee Collier standards are increasing all the time with both soccer and rugby governing bodies setting even higher standards so that artificial turf is becoming more and more reflective of the real thing as a playing surface in terms of speed, impact and bounce. “These standards are being adopted by most of the major manufacturers with particular developments in the fill as well as sub-base which is vital to get the correct performance,” he says. The only cloud on the horizon is how the increasing use of synthetic materials sits with growing concern about our environment, where everything is “plastic” in the world. “Certainly looking to the future the big challenge facing the market for artificial turf is sustainability,” says Lee. “There is a lot of debate at the moment on how this can be achieved.”

FIFA rules allow for artificial turf to be used at a senior level. All matches in the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada were played on it. Picture credit: Noelle Otto


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DLF boost wildflower collections To meet the increasing demand for conservation mixtures and environmental areas within both sports venues and amenity land, DLF have expanded their range of wildflower mixtures. The Pro Flora collection, each designed to recreate a particular habitat or suit specific site and soil conditions, now contains 14 UK native mixtures thanks to the addition of Pro Flora 13 and Pro Flora 14 for 2020. The non-native Colour Boost wildflower range has also been extended, from three mixtures to six. As demand for improved biodiversity on all major landscape projects grows, Pro Flora 13 species-rich lawn and landscape mixture has been developed to contain 20% native origin wildflowers with 80% fineleaved, low-growing grasses. This mixture massively increases the species count and diversity per m2 compared to a standard lawn mix. In addition, the flexibility of maintenance makes it suitable for more intensively managed areas, as well as conventionally managed grasslands that receive just one or two cuts a year. The greater amount of time between cuts sees a greater number of species flower, providing additional benefits to pollenating insects. Also new for 2020, Pro Flora 14 – tall herb and tussock mix – uses species with varying heights and structures to create habitat for a wider range of

insects, small mammals, amphibians and reptiles. Tall herb grassland provides a vital pollen and nectar source late into the year to sustain invertebrates, in turn providing a food source for birds and predators higher up the food chain. These taller growing species can help to visually blend more traditional parkland/ meadow mixtures with woodland and natural scrub and should be maintained in sections, to retain the essential habitat that has been created. DLF have also added three new mixtures to the popular Colour Boost range. Originally introduced in 2018, the collection is specifically designed for maximum floral impact, incorporating cultivated flowering species to deliver a colourful long-lasting display. The collection provides an essential food source and habitat for many species of animals and invertebrates, especially pollenating insects. With a focus on a specific colour palette, Colour Boost 4 provides a warm mix of flowers from pale pinks through to deep reds, flowering from late spring through to late autumn. Over the same flowering period, Colour Boost 5 delivers yellows in every shade, including California Poppy and Tickseed. Finally, Colour Boost 6 is a true ‘chameleon’ – a diverse mixture of over 40 species and sub-species that changes in colour throughout the growing season.

The Landscaper | Issue 245 | March 2020



Top tips for Cheltenham Ben Hastie, head groundsman at Cheltenham Racecourse has reported fantastic results after embarking on a long-term strategy of scarifying and overseeding with Limagrain UK’s MM60 grass seed. Ben started in the industry as a greenkeeper but from a young age his passion was always horse racing. It was for this reason that while working at a golf club, he volunteered his services to Warwick and Stratford racecourses. His persistence paid off and in 2006 he was rewarded with a full-time job at Cheltenham Racecourse. Thirteen years later and Ben is the Head Groundsman overseeing eleven full-time members of staff. Limagrain’s MM60 has always been the seed of choice for the Gloucestershire track, for over 25 years and Ben recalls a rigorous seed trial early in his tenure there. “I remember when I first started in 2006, we did a trial on the highest part of the track,” said Ben, who started his career as a greenkeeper. “In this trial we tried to work out the best seed for us because the climate at Cheltenham can be a little bit different to everywhere else - the highest point of the track gets very windy and it can get incredibly cold. “We trialled 8-10 different mixtures in which we did lots of various tests in numerous conditions. We found that the MM60 was by far the best for what we needed, and we haven’t looked back since then.” Limagrain’s leading MM60 winter sport mixture is a 100% ryegrass formula which helps achieve consistency across whole course. A strict regime of scarifying and overseeding during renovations has been key according to Ben. “The one thing I want from the racecourse is consistency and my ultimate goal is to see a blend of ryegrass all the way through the course without any fescues or bents. Obviously, annual meadowgrasses are particularly hard to control but we now have a racecourse that has approximately 95% of pure ryegrass. This has been largely thanks to scarifying and overseeding at the right times. “Doing this consistently over the years has resulted in the ryegrass holding up more than it ever has, it is helping with disease, helping to keep moisture in there where it is needed, helping the recovery rate and it is also providing a better coverage which makes the course look so much better.” Ben and his team start this process immediately after the last race meeting in May and carry out the same programme across all three racecourses – the Old Course, the New Course and the Cross-Country Steeplechase Course. After the rails and hurdles have been removed, the turf will be cut from its racing height of 4.5 inches down to 2 inches. It is at this point that the scarifying begins, which can take approximately a month.


Ben Hastie, Head Groundsman at Cheltenham Racecourse has reported fantastic results after embarking on a long-term strategy of scarifying and overseeding with Limagrain UK’s MM60 grass seed

When it comes to overseeding, Ben admits that it is a question of judgement and can depend on the climate and identifying the areas which need it most. As you would expect, the take-offs and landings experience the most amount of damage and these areas are constantly repaired throughout the race season. “We have a team of 40 ‘treaders’ on a race day,” said Ben. “They will apply a mixture of soil and MM60 seed which will be put down with a trowel. This ensures that every single horse hoof print is filled in, levelled and that the germination process starts early.” Germination is something that the MM60 excels in thanks to the inclusion of Headstart GOLD® - a revolutionary grass seed coating that ensures rapid germination and catalyses incredible growth speeds. The seed also has a high disease resistance and fantastic aesthetic qualities – all of which have impressed Ben. “You know with MM60 that you are going to get great growth and the colour is brilliant. Because we are predominantly a winter sport, we need germination at low temperatures and I know that the MM60 will still be growing even if soil temperatures are 5 or 6 degrees when we are racing in December or January. “It is a great product and the health of the turf it produces is better than anything I have seen before.”


Weed-free with one application Residual turf herbicide, Valdor ® Flex was introduced to the UK turf and amenity market in 2019 and has been acknowledged for providing excellent residual control for even the hardest to manage weeds. It is now available from Agrovista Amenity. Turf and amenity managers are encouraged to improve the efficiency of their herbicide programmes by using the product, which is active on a wide range of surfaces including open soil, gravel and industrial areas. Its success is attributed to its two synergistic active ingredients, diflufenican and iodosulfuron-methylsodium, which help to minimise the risk of resistance through two complementary modes of action. Agrovista Amenity’s John Marland believes that the product is a great addition to the company’s everexpanding portfolio. “The long-term activity of Valdor Flex keeps soil weedfree for up to four months, which reduces the frequency of applications throughout the season,” he explains. “This makes it a cost-effective solution for our amenity customers, as well as offering other benefits such as contributing to resistance management, something that our industry needs to keep on top of.”

Valdor Flex controls a range of common weeds and can be used as a standalone application prior to germination or before weed emergence. If weeds are present, it can be mixed with glyphosate or a fatty acid, which helps to provide the initial knockdown. Manufactured by Bayer, it uses the latest generation of wettable granule (WG) to ensure the product remains stable in water for at least 24 hours, meaning any remaining solution in the tank can be used the following day. Valdor Flex is best applied from February through to June and is available in 10g sachets or 500g bottles. The 10g sachets can be mixed in a knapsack sprayer with 6-10 litres of water, providing the operator with surface coverage of up to 200m 2 . For those looking to treat a larger area, the 500g bottle can be mixed with 300-500 litres of water and applied with a tractor mounted sprayer to achieve coverage of one hectar. This unique product also has a low odour, eliminates the risk of stains on treated surfaces, and consists of an incredibly low dust formulation which helps to reduce operator exposure.

Valdor® Flex now available from Agrovista Amenity

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The Landscaper | Issue 245 | March 2020



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Mother nature protects turf Minshad Ansari, Founder and CEO of Bionema Ltd, a biopesticide product testing and technology development company, reports on how to manage pests found in turf using chemical free solutions enjoying a chemical-free playground that is allowing them to flourish in soils. They are now destroying golf courses, sport fields, racecourses and the general landscape, causing millions of pounds of damage annually.

Minshad Ansari, Founder and CEO of Bionema Ltd


t the start of the year I visited golf course that was about to close due to turf damage caused by pests living under the soil. The pests – and the damage – had spread across the grass area, eating and destroying every blade of grass in their wake. This scenario is a nightmare for professionals working in turf and amenities, but it can be avoided if groundscare teams understand the causes and the steps that can be taken to overcome the problem. What causes damage to turf? The most common pests causing this type of damage are chafer grubs and leatherjackets. Chafer grubs are the soil-dwelling larvae of chafer beetles and leatherjackets are the larvae of the crane fly (daddy long legs). Both types of larvae feed on the roots of grass plants, killing the grasses and leaving large areas of turf stripped of green. Crows, badgers and other wildlife can also add to the problem by digging up the soil to eat the larvae, further stripping the turf. Until recently, turf and amenity managers were able to control these insect pests with chemical pesticides – it was even common to spray undamaged turf with these products to prevent any infestations. However, due to their toxicity, those chemical pesticides are no longer available, and the chafer grubs and leatherjackets are

How can it be stopped? Biopesticides are filling the gap in the market left by banned chemical pesticides. Biopesticide technology developers – such as Bionema – harness nature by identifying and developing products that use natural enemies to manage insect pests in different sectors. Probably the best known example of a ‘biopesticide’ is the ladybird – gardeners who encourage ladybirds to flourish are less likely to be bothered by aphids. Unfortunately, ladybirds won’t attack chafer grubs or leatherjackets, but other ‘friendly’ organisms will. Certain species of beneficial nematodes (roundworms) will actively search for insect larvae in the soil. They enter the larvae through natural openings and release bacteria that are lethal to the larvae, killing them within two to three days. The nematodes breed within the dead larvae, feeding on the body tissues. They reproduce within two weeks and emerge in search of more larvae, and so the natural cycle continues. This self-sustainability offers extended pest control and helps to ensure that overall costs compare favourably with those of old chemical pesticides. Is it really that easy? If applied correctly, biopesticides can be at least as effective as old chemical pesticides. After following our programme for chafer grub control at the Grove Hotel and Golf Course in Hertfordshire, UK, the site’s estate manager Phil Chiverton said: “We saw a more than 80% reduction in chafer grubs in the first year, and further improvements in year two, while at the same time doing less harm to the environment and saving money compared with chemical applications.” However, biopesticides received some ‘bad press’ when they first became available because they were not been used correctly. For example, nematodes are susceptible to ultra-violet light and desiccation, so biopesticides containing nematodes should only be applied early in the morning or late in the evening, when there is less direct sunlight. They also function best when surface temperatures are at least 12oC and, while they

The Landscaper | Issue 245 | March 2020



Minshad examining a lawn need a reasonable amount of moisture to move through the soil, watering-logging can reduce their performance. Ensuring conditions such as these for maximising nematode performance can easily be built into an application regimen once you are aware of them. At Bionema, we see our NemaTrident® biopesticide as having three parts – the first part is the beneficial nematodes; the second is NemaSpreader®, a biocompatible wetting agent that helps the nematodes to spread and thrive; and the third is the specialist training and advice for our customers on how to optimise the effectiveness of the nematodes. Using all three parts of the programme – nematodes, wetting agent and our expert advice – there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get great results too.

Damaged turf


Is prevention better than cure? It can take up to three years for turf to recover from extensive damage from chafer grubs and leatherjackets, so we would certainly recommend that turf and amenity managers should consider applying biopesticides as a preventative measure, rather than waiting for damage to occur. As with the old chemical pesticides, as well as managing active infestations, the nematodes can be applied to ‘healthy’ turf to prevent unforeseen future problems. Where can I learn more? In 2019, the devastation caused by chafer grubs and leatherjackets was so compelling that Bionema organised an Emergency Summit, which was attended by more than 150 people across the UK. Futher summits are planned to pool all necessary expertise. If you are interested in attending one of these events or for furhter information follow Bionema on Twitter @Bionema. About Bionema Bionema is a leading biopesticide product testing and technology development company, specialising in chemicalfree, organic crop protection. Bionema supplies specialist bio-control products to the horticulture, turf and amenity and forestry sectors, providing training aimed at increasing the product efficacy. For more details email

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Manufactureres of electric and hybrid mowers, Raymo has appointed ISEKI UK & Ireland as its exclusive distributors across the UK, Ireland and the Middle East. Commenting on the appointment David Withers of ISEKI explains: “Over the past few years there have been several manufacturers that have wanted ISEKI to distribute their products for them, but in each instance we decided that it might distract from the core mission of growing the ISEKI customer base and delighting existing ISEKI customers. “In the case of Raymo though, the product offering was so unique and so different to anything in the ISEKI range and so ‘absolutely of the moment’ that we have decided to enter into this distribution arrangement.” ISEKI UK & Ireland have had great success with the large national grounds maintenance contractors and a large majority of them using ISEKI tractors and mowers today. Following numerous discussions and feedback from their customers ISEKI noticed a gap in the market where contractors are being asked by their customer base for all-electric options for their grass cutting needs and that as of now there were no products available that could meet that need. One of the problems with electric mowers is that the weight of dragging an operator (and all the associated


hardware) around really negatively impacts on the run time that you can get from the batteries, by taking the operator off of the machine and making it remote control the Raymo products can give unrivalled run times from its Lithium battery pack. The Raymo mower offers a variety of advantages: • 104cm (41”) cutting width, rear discharge full floating deck • Small compact machine that is only 51cm (20”) high • No oil, fuel hydraulics just clean Battery power • Established remote control system • Easy change from Battery to hybrid as needed • Low noise level ~68dB •Z ERO Operator vibration level • Safe to 35 degree slopes • 4 Wheel Drive and Zero Turn • Light footprint allows for mowing in really wet and soft conditions The Raymo electric, zero-emission, remote controlled mower offers the opportunity to swap power packs and facilitates the operator to cut grass in noise sensitive areas, gain access under low objects such as solar panels or trees and helps meet the needs of the customer with growing concerns of carbon emissions.


Gardening revolution Greenworks, the world’s leading garden cordless products brand, has launched a twin-battery range for 2020 that will revolutionise the way gardeners in Britain work. Their offering includes a 48-volt cordless lawnmower – with the power provided by two separate 24-volt batteries. One of the two light-weight batteries can also be swapped into a line-trimmer or hedge cutter, where weight and manoeuvrability are paramount. “Consumers tell us that they want a high-performance power pack for lawnmowers but find the size and weight of a big battery a handicap when using them in handheld line trimmers and hedge cutters. We have solved

by problem by powering the lawnmower with two 24-volt batteries which are light in weight and can then be used individually in the line trimmers and cutters,” says Greenworks’ Mark Moseley. “Gardeners can have a top of the range cordless lawnmower, a line trimmer and hedge cutter plus twincharger and two batteries, from the world’s leading producer of cordless equipment, for £318.99. This will be among the most compelling offers on the market for the start of the 2020 gardening season and moves battery powered gardening to a new level of competitive high performance,” adds Mark.

Cutting machine An all-purpose GH9 flail mower has been released by Italian groundscare supplier, Grillo. The cutting machine is powered by a nine horse power Honda engine and is fitted with an 85cm cutter unit with 16 pairs of Y shaped blades. Cutting height is variable from 3-11cm and is changed via a simple lever. The handle bars are easily adjusted to suit various operator heights and when working under trees and low hanging obstacles, they can be swung from side to side. Hydrostatic drive is employed and again is easily operated via a single lever. In addition to the flail head other attachments can be fitted to the power unit such as a sickle bar mower, snowblower, power brush, and a steel weed brush making the GH9 a very interesting machine.

The Landscaper | Issue 245 | March 2020




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The Landscaper | Issue 245 | March 2020



Muck-Truck® celebrates National Battery Day with the launch of a NEW electric wheelbarrow February celebrated National Battery Day (18th February). And so UK based Muck-Truck, decided to launch its new battery powered wheelbarrow on the same day. The new addition to the Muck-Truck range is the Power Barrow 4WD which is an eco-friendly battery powered wheelbarrow, which features a four wheel drive to allow for easy movement and a bucket that tips electronically by a touch of a button. In addition, this versatile piece of kit has a five hour running time and the ability to carry loads of up to 365kg. And amazingly the unit can be converted into a vacuum or even a snow plough and can also be fitted with a ball hitch and be used to tow trailers. The use of turf tyres offers protection from grass and the four wheels provides stability on uneven ground and up hills. “I am very proud of this new invention and excited for our Muck-Truck fans to try it. We have so many new developments in the making and excited to see what the future brings.” Terry Rowlands; owner and creator of Muck-Truck.

Low emission chainsaw from ECHO A reduced emissions version of the ECHO best-selling CS-620SX saw has been launched. Designed and manufactured in Japan, the new CS-621SX heavyduty rear handle chainsaw retains the power and dependability of its predecessor, but boasts a new 59.8cc low emission, professional-grade 2-stroke ECHO engine. For a heavy-duty saw, it is surprisingly lightweight at only 6.3kg (dry weight) but it maintains its cutting performance, which exceeds that of many higher capacity machines. Its balance and ergonomic design offer manoeuvrability and precision, with dual bumper spikes enabling better control when sawing through


stumps and thicker branches. There’s a decompression button for easy starting, a side-access chain tensioner and drop prevention nuts which can’t be lost during maintenance. A rotating plastic chain catcher is designed to help protect the user from potential injury while also preventing chain damage. The heavy-duty aluminum handle has a secure rubber grip and reduces vibration in the hand. Fuel and oil caps are made larger for easier filling and the fuel tank is translucent to show the fuel level. The ‘G-FORCE’ air cleaner system features a large air filter to keep out debris.


Först in the North Made in the UK, woodchipper manufacturer Först continues to establish its presence in the North of England with their depot at Doncaster, South Yorkshire. The Shaw Lane Industrial Estate base provides a much-needed facility, selling and hiring directly to the end-user. First launched in 2013, it has become a favourite with arborists across the UK. “We put a depot in Doncaster in order to get closer to our customers in the North,” says Douglas Ghinn, Först Sales and Marketing Director. “From this depot we now sell new and used woodchippers, hire chippers and carry out servicing on all makes and models. It’s our aim to provide customer service and care that is second to none.” This is supported with a mobile workshop based at the depot to carry out onsite repairs and servicing in a fully-fledged workshop at the location. There is a dedicated team of specialists working together with arborists, utilities companies, local authorities and hire companies in the area.

Ventrac delivers for National Trust The challenging slopes of National Trust property, Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, are being perfectly manicured thanks to the Ventrac 4500 all-terrain compact tractor and Tough Cut mowing deck. The Buckinghamshire estate is managed on behalf of the National Trust by The Rothschild Foundation, which purchased the mower from RT Machinery Ltd. Mike Buffin, Gardens Manager at Waddesdon heads a team of 14 full-time gardeners and four students on oneyear assignments. His impressive CV includes working at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh, the University Mike Buffin, Gardens Manager of Pennsylvania, the Sir at Waddesdon Manor Harold Hillier Gardens and National Trust. The gardens department manages over 400 acres at Waddesdon. “We have wildflower meadows dotted around the estate, many on challenging slopes,” says Mike. “I’m attempting a change to the direction of our maintenance regimes, looking to get more versatility from our equipment and taking a more environmental approach, where possible. “There’s a broad expanse of lawn at the front of the house, which takes a lot of wear at our annual events, such as the Christmas Fair, Colourscape in May,

Summer Fest in July and Chilli Fest each September. The initial demo highlighted the benefits of the Aeravator in relieving the compaction and the overseeding attachment worked particularly well. However, it was on the wildflower banks where the machine really came into its own. It was a wet day and the Tough Cut deck performed admirably in these challenging areas. We have been using several different mowers to achieve the high level of presentation expected at Waddesdon. The versatility of the Ventrac has simplified this and it is now one of our principal mowers. “RT Machinery have been excellent and the ability to hire-in attachments means we have the opportunity to undertake an extended evaluation to enable us to draw up a shortlist of attachments for future purchase. It’s the ideal machine for us because of its versatility, the ease of changing attachments and its slope mowing capabilities.”

The Ventrac enables maintainence of wildflower areas on challenging slopes

The Landscaper | Issue 245 | March 2020


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Staff – where to get them and how to keep them Last month Paula Warman of The Landscaper's Circle, discussed employing subcontractors to deliver on projects. This month we take a look at recruiting permanent staff and finding ways to keep them motivated and loyal to your business Finding quality staff First up, let’s look at getting those staff members through the door. Before promoting a vacancy, you need to define who you are trying to attract through a job description. When writing a job description, make sure it’s bespoke to your company requirements. Don't just list contract hours and where positions will be based – good employees will be interested in your company ethos and vision, too. A well-written job description should lay the foundation and expectation for the potential staff member. They should be able to verbalise what values your company revolve around, for example bespoke installations and quality service. Once you have a clear idea of who you want to attract, you can write a job advert that directly speaks to them. Think outside the box – you need to capture a candidate's interest so that your vacancy doesn't get lost in a pool of job adverts. Your perfect applicant might just swipe past a very generalised job description! Job description written and now to promote the vacancy. Below are some top tips of where to place your post. Website - First port of call is to add a job page to your website and post your vacancies there, with clear actions needed to take to apply. Social media - Utilise social media and post the advert across all your platforms with a link back to the job page on your website. Run adverts across social media targeting ideal candidates and/or boosting posts to gain more reach. It is low cost and the budget is managed by you. Referrals - Ask customers for referrals through a well written email campaign and don’t forget to ask your staff too. Advertise - In printed media, either industry specific magazines and/or local printed magazines/newspapers. Online job platforms - Most platforms are free and you create the job advert, manage applicants and search for potential applicants that might be interested in your vacancy. For a fee many platforms will offer further promotions so your vacancy reaches a wider audience. Apprenticeships - These are a valuable resource for attracting a new unskilled workforce. Contact local colleges that run horticultural courses, apprentice

training providers or the Association of Professional Landscapers which has its own apprenticeship scheme. This method of recruiting is best used when growing your team and want unskilled staff that can be developed to your ethos and standards. Industry events - Attend seminars, shows and events to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry whilst making valuable new contacts. Mainting staff loyalty Staff will naturally be looking for a pay rise or on the look out for what other similar companies are offering staff, so you need an action plan focused on building loyalty with your employees. Ideas to keep up morale include: Benefits – Increasing holiday allowance, generous paternity/maternity pay, time paid in lieu if a job is finished early and schemes that offer staff treats will help keep staff on side. Financial rewards – There are lots of options for this including but not limited to bonuses, profit share, shares in the company and regular salary reviews. Appraisals – The key here is regularity! These are a chance for employees to be heard and for you to develop a plan for their growth within the company and make them feel valued within the team. Training & development – Developing their skills not only makes them a better employee but a more loyal employee. Tailor training around their bigger goals. Responsibility – Give more responsibility to your staff to show trust then mentor them through any challenges that arise. Relaxation – Ensure a good work life balance. It’s no good pushing for them to work late and/or at weekends as this can lead to burn out and an unhappy employee. Team outings – This is a great excuse for fun and to build better bonds within the team. Not just for Christmas parties! Industry opportunities – Take staff to industry events and shows, manufacturer led workshops, conferences and seminars. It helps withtheir knowledge base and offers them an opportunity to be more invested wtihin the industry. The key is to build trust with your employees. By continually developing communication channels and including them on business decisions you get fresh ideas and they feel valued and become invested in the business. The Landscaper’s Circle is the only online platform exclusively for business owners in the landscaping industry to learn how to market and run their business better. Become part of the #TLCTribe today for training and support. If you need our help please email at

The Landscaper | Issue 245 | March 2020



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Whether landscaping affects the weather? As the weather puts a halt to outdoor chores, Greg Bedson considers whether the landscaping industry has a part to play in our erratic climate patterns As I sit at my desk writing this column making the most of yet another day when rain has stopped play, I thought it seemed more than appropriate to discuss floods and how within the industry we can all play our part to help prevent them. Storms Ciara and Dennis both wreaked havoc across the UK in February, with insurance claims for homes and business hit by floods and wind damage set to exceed £200 million. According to research from the Met Office, as the climate warms, wet winters could be set to become the norm and is there is now a one-in-three chance of record rainfall hitting parts of England and Wales each winter. While there is nothing we as an industry can do about the weather (I have asked Siri on more than one occasion), or the widespread flooding we’ve witnessed in the past few weeks, we can and should be doing our bit to help.

Simply ensuring gardens contain a balance of hardscaping and plants, we can provide homes and food for up to 260 species of insects, birds and other small animals Research from 2015 showed that more one-third of the UK’s front gardens have been turned into hardstandings – up from just 16 percent in 1991. It’s no surprise given the number of cars on the road, compared to 20, 30 or 40 years ago. It’s also partly down to the number of people in employment nowadays and ‘not having the time’ to maintain a manicured front garden, as well as the massive increase in the buy-to-let market. Who can blame us for it? A paved driveway with a few pots outside the front door can look perfectly presentable year-round with very little effort and provide the convenience and security of being able to park outside the front door.

This changing trend, however came with consequences and it was in response to the devastation caused by the 2007 floods, that the UK government took action. In 2008, new restrictions were put in place for driveways. If the surface to be covered is more than five square metres, planning permission is needed for laying traditional, impermeable driveways that do not provide for the water to run to a permeable area. This of course is to prevent water running off the driveway straight into the road drainage system, which in turn causes flooding. While this does go some way to stopping the excess water running into the roads and clogging up the drains - there aren’t any requirements or even guidelines to keep a percentage of the front garden as green-space. Nor are there any policies in place for creating hardstandings at or near ground level in the back garden or anywhere else other than the front of the property. Also, the regulations do not take into account the fact that even permeable hard surfaces absorb heat during the day and release it at night, contributing the the ‘urban heat island effect’, where city centres can already been 10°C warmer than the surrounding areas. Equally concerning for us is the trend, which has led to the RHS campaign ‘Greening Grey Britain’, of the loss of habitat for wildlife. Simply ensuring gardens contain a balance of hardscaping and plants, we can provide homes and food for up to 260 species of insects, birds and other small animals. The number of cars on Britain’s roads is surely going to increase and with that will inevitably see a continued rise in the number of front gardens turned into parking spaces. Ironically, with the rise of greener, electric vehicles there may be an even greater demand for driveways as homeowners look to install charging stations. We should, wherever possible however, ensure that we all do our bit to encourage permeable surfaces and leave room for at least some planting so that even on the coldest, greyest or wettest day our spirits are lifted by the site of some greenery and wildlife.

The Landscaper | Issue 245 | March 2020


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Beneficial Nematodes as Biocontrol Agents for Turf Pests Certain species of beneficial nematodes actively search for insect larvae in the soil. They enter the insects through natural openings and release lethal bacteria that kills them, within 2 to 3 days. This is a natural process, as it forms part of these nematodes’ life cycle. The nematodes then breed within the dead insect, feeding on their body tissues. They reproduce within 2 weeks and produce thousands of nematodes, which come out in search of more larvae... the natural cycle of control then continues. NemaTrident and the Tri-Component Solution Bionema uniquely offer three components to the NemaTrident ® Biopesticide Programme: 1. Nematodes 2. NemaSpreader ®, a biocompatible wetting agent that helps the nematodes to spread and reach the target 3. S pecialist training and advice on how to optimise the effectiveness of the nematodes. When correctly applied, NemaTrident ® shows up to +80% success in pest control, making it the most effective and flexible nematode product on the market.

Chafer Grubs Chafer grubs are the soil-dwelling larvae of chafer beetles. Grubs or larvae feed on and kill grass roots.

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The Landscaper | Issue 245 | March 2020



Level 3 Apprenticeship approved for Greenkeepers

From left to right: Richard Flint (England Golf), Robert Martin (Wales Golf), Emma Willis (GTC), Alistair Booth (GTC Chairman), Fiona Lyttle (GTC), Jim Croxton (BIGGA), Carolyn Hedley (Scottish Golf) - Board of the Golf Greenkeeping Trailblazer Group The Golf Greenkeeping Trailblazer Group are delighted to announce the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) have recently approved the Advanced Golf Greenkeeper Apprenticeship Standard (Level 3) for delivery. Following the launch and success of the Level 2 Golf Greenkeeper Apprenticeship in England, the Golf Greenkeeping Trailblazer Group have been working tirelessly to develop a suitable programme of education, training and assessment to meet the new Standards for Level 3. Having the full support of England Golf and the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association and working closely with employers and Training Providers, this means there is now a structured pathway of education from Golf Greenkeeper to Advanced Golf Greenkeeper. Designed for Senior Greenkeepers/First Assistants/Deputy Head Greenkeepers/Deputy Course Managers, this Apprenticeship will provide the greenkeeper with the skills and knowledge to operate at an advanced level where supervisory and/ or specialist technical skills are required. As with the Level 2, there is a series of graded, independent assessments at the end of a programme of education and these will ensure all future qualified Greenkeepers will have the skills, knowledge and behaviours as determined in the new Standard.


David Croxton, GTC Trailblazer Chairman says, “It is great news to hear the Government have approved the Level 3. Having worked with employers and Training Providers in our sector, we believe we have now developed two new Apprenticeships that meet the employer’s requirements – to develop a highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce.” Richard Flint, England Golf’s Participation & Club Support Director says, “England Golf are delighted that the Government has approved the Assessment Plan for the Advanced Golf Greenkeeper. This now shows the levels of progression for a greenkeeper and how their knowledge, skills and behaviours will continue to develop stronger golf clubs.” Jim Croxton, CEO BIGGA added, “Reaching this point is an exciting time in greenkeeper education. Having a complement of apprenticeships will not only strengthen the professionalism of our industry, but also provides a structured programme of education for anyone looking at greenkeeping as a career.” Work is continuing with the Golf Course Manger Apprenticeship (Level 5), which we hope will be approved later this year. Both the Advanced Golf Greenkeeper Standard and the Assessment Plan can be viewed at

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