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JUNE 2019 | ISSUE 237





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Editor’s letter In 2008/09, the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) commissioned research to provide an overview of the grounds management market in terms of its annual value, numbers employed and volunteers. The report, Grounds Management – The Hidden Profession, highlighted the industry’s economic value and identified that there were 20,000 professionals and at least 20,000 volunteers in England alone managing grounds and pitches from grassroot levels up. Ten years on, the IOG recognises that with changing economic forecasts, political uncertainty and the impact the environment is having on how we manage our landscapes, further analysis is needed to identify current trends within the industry. Geoff Webb, IOG Chief Executive Officer, offers further insight to the reports on page 18, promising an update of the findings at this years SALTEX exhibition in October. Another well known personality at the IOG is Neil Stubley. He takes time out of his busy scheduled to share his story with us, detailing his rising career from his initial six month placement as groundsman at Wimbledon in 1995, to how

now as Head of Courts and Horticulture at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, he manages his team to turn out possibly the most famous tennis courts on the championship circuit. Away from groundscare, but onto an equally important issue for all landscapers, we ask as government offers incentives for switching to greener travel does it mark the end for the diesel van? Greg Bedson takes up the story on page 14. And finally to Chelsea Flower Show. On page 40, we bring you pictures of some of the gold medal winners at this year’s spectacular show. And don’t forget there are more floral festivities to come this summer with other RHS shows taking place across the country, including the Hampton Court Flower show kicking off on 2nd July, 2019.

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CONTENTS editor Maggie Walsh 07787 555 798 contributor Greg Bedson sales manager Jason Studd 0208 939 5600 group sales manager Stewart Turner 0208 939 5600 design and production


circulation and subscriptions Maggie Walsh

June 2019

The Landscaper is owned and published by Sheengate Publishing Ltd.

Latest News ............................................. 09

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

Eco Vans .................................................... 14 IOG report................................................. 18 Interview with Neil Stubley................ 22


Mowers ...................................................... 35 Seeds and Turf ........................................ 37

managing director Alex Whitney

Horticulture ............................................. 38

publisher Con Crowley

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.

Groundscare Roundup......................... 26

Chelsea Flower Show review ............. 40 Irrigation ................................................... 42 Arborist ..................................................... 47


Copyright Š 2019

Next Month in The Landscaper Landscaping and the environment Chainsaws and arborist equipment Focus on mowers plus regular columns


Editorial and advert copy deadline: 17th June 2019

The Landscaper | Issue 237 | June 2019



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Freeland Horticulture helps Green-tree soil expand its distribution network One of the UK’s leading soil brands - Green-tree topsoil, a division of Green-tech – is now available through an additional ten Freeland Horticulture soil production sites. Freeland Horticulture is the largest soil supplier in England and Wales and has been supplying the landscape and housing market since 1994. Green-tech has joined forces with Freeland Horticulture to distribute its award-winning British Standard topsoil from Freeland’s ten production sites across the country. The addition of the new distribution sites will strengthen the Green-tree brands’ coverage of topsoil for landscape projects, green roofs and urban tree planting in the London and the M25 corridor, giving landscape contractors in this region faster access to the Green-tree portfolio of soil products. The collaboration will also provide greater coverage for the brand in the West of the country from Cardiff through to Manchester. This strategic move comes at a time when more and more landscape contractors are requesting access to the Green-tree range of soils and growing media because of its consistent quality, nutrient-rich properties and reliability of supply. Parent company Green-tech has a wealth of experience of partnering with soil scientists, trade associations and business leaders in its field. The working partnership with Freeland Horticulture ticks all the boxes for Green-tech and allows access to in-house Freeland soil scientists who will work alongside the team in a supportive role. As a long-established and reputable topsoil supplier, Freeland will offer the Greentree brand a robust distribution structure and support to facilitate requests from landscapers across the UK. Green-tree’s portfolio of soils, substrates and growing media spans applications from green roofs, urban tree planting, landscaping and sports fields. Both brands are synonymous with quality; all products are tested and comply with British Standards and both Green-tech and Freeland work within the ISO criteria. Richard Kay, Chairman of Green-tech, comments: “We currently have 15 Green-tree soil sites across the UK and made a strategic decision a number of years ago to start expanding our operations across the UK. The new structure will enable us to price more

(L-R) George Longmuir, MD of Freeland Horticulture with Richard Kay Chairman of Green-tech.

competitively and offer a faster level of service for our customer base. I am delighted that we are entering into a long-term partnership with Freeland Horticulture which adds a further ten soil sites to our portfolio. We have long-admired Freeland’s credentials in the soil supply market and the opportunity to work with their team and utilise their distribution sites is a great boost for us and the landscaper supply chain. The demand for high quality, British Standard soils has never been higher as the expectation of the client base continues to increase and the complexity and scope of landscaping projects advances.” Founder and Managing Director or Freeland Horticulture, George Longmuir adds, “Green-tech have been serving the needs of the landscape sector for over 20 years and have built a solid reputation for quality and supply of a whole range of products. As a result, we see synergies working in partnership and giving Green-tech access to the soil sites combined with full technical support. Freeland’s UK network of soil sites will create the Green-tree soil product range making them available to a much wider customer base throughout England and Wales. This partnership strengthens both companies’ presence in the UK market place which in turn will be highly beneficial to the landscape sector.”

The Landscaper | Issue 237 | June 2019



Celebrating excellence in grounds management Nominations are now open for the 2019 Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Industry Awards that recognise the passion, dedication and challenges faced by grounds staff in both grassroots and professional sports at clubs of every size and from all corners of the UK. This year’s 20 award categories include a new award for an organisation or individual that/who has championed the groundscare industry abroad. Now in their 11th year, the awards – being presented on Wednesday October 30 at The Vox, located in Resorts World at the Birmingham NEC, on the evening of the first day of the SALTEX exhibition, and hosted by BBC TV presenter Dan Walker – have continually grown in status for acknowledging the achievements of volunteer and professional grounds teams, as well as community clubs and national stadia. Commenting, IOG chief executive Geoff Webb says: “The awards continue to provide the only national stage for the achievements of everyone involved in groundscare across all levels of sport – with every award being judged by high-profile grounds personnel. Please take the time to nominate as you must know many deserving candidates and great examples of sports turf management at every level.” Visit to make your nominations – and to find full details of the entry criteria for each award: List of awards: • IOG Toro Most Promising Sports Turf Student • IOG Rigby Taylor/Top Green Young Grounds Person • IOG Volunteer Sports Grounds Team/Individual • IOG NGB Community/Grassroots Sports Club Grounds Team/Individual Co-sponsored by the AELTC (All England Lawn Tennis Club), ECB (the England and Wales Cricket Board), The FA (Football Association), the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association), the Premier League, the RFU (Rugby Football Union), the RFL (Rugby Football League) and Sport England. • IOG Public Sector Sports Grounds Team • IOG Bowling Grounds Team/Individual • IOG SCH Supplies Best Managed Artificial Surface • IOG Ransomes Environmental and Ecology Strategy • IOG Professional Cricket Grounds Team • IOG Cub Cadet Infinicut Professional Tennis Courts Grounds Team


Winners from the 2018 awards

• IOG John Deere Professional Horse Racing Grounds Team • IOG Professional Rugby Football League Grounds Team • IOG Professional Rugby Football Union Grounds Team • IOG Professional Football Grounds Team For English Leagues 1 & 2, National League, National League North/South, Scottish Championship & Leagues 1 & 2, Ireland & Wales Professional Leagues. • IOG SGL Professional Football Grounds Team For Premier League, Championship and Scottish Premier League. • IOG Redexim Charterhouse/Kubota University/College Grounds Team • IOG Growth Products Independent School Grounds Team • IOG SISGrass International Award • IOG Grassmaster Outstanding Achievement Award. There is one additional award for which nominations are not sought: the IOG Ransomes/DLF Alex R Millar Award – to the person chosen as the outstanding winner across all award categories. 2019 IOG Industry Awards are sponsored by the AELTC (All England Lawn Tennis Club), Cub Cadet, DLF, ECB (the England and Wales Cricket Board), The FA (Football Association), Grassmaster, Growth Products, John Deere, Kubota, the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association), the Premier League, Ransomes, Redexim Charterhouse, Rigby Taylor, the RFU (Rugby Football Union), the RFL (Rugby Football League), SCH Supplies, SGL Lighting, SISGrass, Sport England, Top Green and Toro. • For information on how to sponsor an award, please contact Karen Maxwell on 01908 552 987 or email:


Former Wembley groundsman joins IOG regional Pitch advisor team Daniel brings to the role more than 11 years of groundsmanship and horticultural experience, underpinned by current studies towards his Level 3 Diploma in Horticulture (Sports Turf) to complement the Level 2 work-based Diploma he gained in 2016.

Daniel Bradley

Daniel Bradley, formerly assistant head groundsman at Wembley Stadium, has been appointed as the Greater London area regional pitch advisor for the Institute of Groundsmanship-led Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme (GaNTIP). His appointment extends the number of GaNTIP regional pitch advisors to eight, plus two key account managers, for the programme that aims to improve the standard of grassroots pitches and the skills of those who look after them throughout England.

In more recent years, his role as assistant head groundsman at Wembley, since July 2017, followed 11 months spent on the grounds team at The Liberty Stadium, Swansea, after being senior grounds person at Magdalen College School, Oxford, for two years. Commenting on his new role, Daniel says: “I am very excited about the potential for GaNTIP to help grassroots sport improve the playability of their facilities. Having worked at Wembley during a period when the National Stadium has undoubtedly endured its busiest fixture schedule, I am confident I can make a difference in enabling more clubs and sites make the most of playing surfaces that are already generally very well utilised.” GaNTIP director Jason Booth, added: “Daniel’s appointment shows the calibre of individuals who the programme continues to attract. It is also a statement of the importance placed on the programme by its partners, the Institute of Groundsmanship and National Governing Bodies – The Football Association, the Football Foundation and the England and Wales Cricket Board.”

Industry responds to latest ornamental sector skills gap survey A major survey investigating the future skills needs within UK ornamental horticulture is firmly underway, with over 300 businesses already providing insight about the potential training and resource gaps for the £24bn sector. The British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI), a key stakeholder of the Ornamental Horticulture Sector group who commissioned the study, continues to promote the survey to its extensive membership network, providing some of the UK’s leading landscape companies with a voice on the current skills crisis. The Ornamental Horticulture Sector stakeholder group is

seeking to investigate the future skills needs of the Ornamental Horticulture sector, in terms of key skills and the requirements and challenges facing the sector in the future (including scenarios and implications for future workforce change). BALI’s Chief Executive Wayne Grills says: “Results from this survey will help equip the sector with real-time knowledge of the issue, in turn, informing a skills strategy which will be tailored to the industry’s needs, which will go a long way in securing vital funding and resource.” According to a recent report by Oxford Economics, the UK Ornamental sector supported 568,700 jobs in 2017, amounting to 1.6% of total UK employment.

The Landscaper | Issue 237 | June 2019


NEWS Wayne continues, “The Ornamental sector is a vital driver for the UK’s economy, particularly the landscape services industry which generated £11.6bn, almost 50% of the total £24bn value, in 2017. This study will allow us to compare findings from the initial economic report to see just how underfunded and potentially under-equipped we are as an industry. The results from this survey will also equip us with the necessary data to take to Government where BALI will be looking for action.” Pye Tait Consulting, who has been commissioned by the group to carry out the research, has been tasked with contacting a minimum of 1,000 UK-based businesses between now and June. The survey will build on an initial pilot project carried out in 2018. The 2019 survey is seeking the views of those working in and across the ornamental horticulture sub-sectors, including landscape design and maintenance services. It will be conducted by telephone, giving businesses the opportunity to provide their view on skills developments in the foreseeable future, their workforce needs, the impact of automation, training needs and requirements, and other topics to inform a skills strategy tailored to the sector. In addition, interviews and dedicated workshops for business stakeholders are planned this month and further into June to better inform the research.

Ornamental landscaping

Results from the survey will help equip the sector in making the case for lobbying government, requests for funding, informing migratory advisory committee consultations and insight about the demand for, and gaps within, training in the horticulture sector. If you would like further information or wish to participate please contact Michael Oberreuter on (0)1423 509433 or via email. Alternatively, you can take part online by visiting this website:

SPA Landscaping complete the expansion of their Head Office Landscape contractors SPA Landscaping has announced its expansion of their head office in Sheffield.

New HQ for SPA Landscaping


The company’s journey began in 1980 as a family run nurseries and landscape contractor before venturing into commercial grounds maintenance, tree surgery and landscape renovation. Speaking at the unveiling of the new unit, Director, Alex Anthony, said: “We take great pride in looking after our customers, which means this isn’t just a proud moment for us, but for our clients as well. They are at the heart of what we do here and expansions like this wouldn’t be possible without them. We have taken careful consideration into the design and the layout of the unit to ensure they recognise increased benefits of our service going forward.” Alongside this expansion, SPA Landscaping have acquired new and innovative machines to enhance their range of equipment and services. For more informaiton visit

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The Landscaper | Issue 237 | June 2019



End of the road for diesel? With fuel costs and vehicle taxes continuing to rise - combined with the advances in the electric / hybrid market and government incentives for switching to greener travel, is it the end of the road for the traditional diesel van asks Greg Bedson In the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the government actively encouraged the switch to the more fuel efficient, cheaper to tax and supposedly better for the environment diesel vehicle, it appeared to be a win win scenario for millions of UK drivers. Data collected from the Society of motor manufacturers and traders (SMMT) found market share in diesel vehicles in the UK rose from under 10% in 1995 to more than 50% in 2012. Fast forward to 2019 and the picture is very different. The introduction of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) in Central London is the latest in a series of charges to hit diesel drivers, as the government stance now appears to be very much in favour of alternative fuel methods. With 97 percent of the 3.9 million UK vans and light goods vehicles currently powered by diesel, what are the viable options for landscapers at this moment in time? The plug-in van market is certainly set to gain momentum

The upgraded Nissan e-NV200


in the near future, with some of the biggest players now launching models to meet the new standards. In April 2019, there were approximately 8,500 plug-in vans registered in the UK, with the Nissan e-NV200 and Renault Kangoo ZE dominating the market. However, according to market research company Technavio, the global electric van market is set to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of just over 50% between 2018 and 2022. These figures are perhaps boosted by the all-electric versions of the VW Transporter T6 and the all new Vauxhall Vivaro, as well as a hybrid version of the Ford Transit Custom, which are all due to go on sale in 2020. Are alternatives to diesel fit for purpose? One concern raised is whether the plug-in versions are up to scratch for tradesmen in terms of payload, especially as the weight of the actual batteries is pushing the overall


The New Kangoo Van Z.E 33

weight of the vans up - meaning they can carry less with a standard license. This weight limit was increased to 4,250kg in 2018 for electric and hybrid vehicles, although this lead to confusion for motoring groups since the change in legislation states that drivers must undergo ‘a minimum of five hours training by a registered instructor on the driving of an alternatively fuelled vehicle with a maximum authorised mass exceeding 3,500kg’. The government however has issued next to no details on the mandatory 5 hours’ training required. Another consideration is the cost of running a diesel van compared to electric or hybrid vehicles. According to a recent study by the International Council for Clean Transportation (ICCT) the new electric vehicles are already cheaper to own and run than their petrol and diesel counterparts. A nonprofit research organization, the ICCT looked at the purchase, fuel and tax costs of Europe’s bestselling car, the Volkswagen Golf, in its battery electric, hybrid, petrol and diesel models across the UK, Germany, France, Netherlands and Norway. Over four years, the pure electric version was the cheapest in all countries owing to a combination of lower taxes, fuel costs and government grants for the initial purchase. Nissan state that their plug-in e-NV200 costs approximately 2p per mile to charge, whereas the diesel

equivalent costs approximately 11.5p per mile (based on May 2019 prices). Based on 12,000 miles per year, that’s a saving of £1140 for the electric version. For those working in central London and who own an older diesel model (pre 2015), the introduction of the ULEZ means they are now faced with an additional £24.00 a day fee for entering the zone, in comparison with electric models which are exempt from both the ULEZ and the congestion charge. Additional benefits of purchasing a plug-in van from new include access to a government grant, which pays for 20 percent of the purchase price, up to a maximum of £8,000. To qualify for the grant, the vans are required to have CO2 emissions of less than 75g/km and can travel at least 16km (10 miles) without any emissions at all.

The Landscaper | Issue 237 | June 2019


FEATURE Vauxhall Vivaro Van

Transport for London (TFL), also have additional scrappage schemes in place for drivers who are most affected by the introduction of the new ULEZ. Is the infrastructure of charging pods in place? Although showing signs of growth, the electric van market is still very much a niche and there remains concern that the infrastructure is not yet in place to accommodate mass ownership any time soon. Earlier this year, Freedom of Information requests found that more than 100 local councils say that they have no plans to increase the number of charging points they offer, a policy industry experts fear could hinder the expansion of electric vehicles in the UK. This comes after the Government launched its Road to Zero Strategy in 2018 stating that at least half of new cars (and 40% of new vans) should be ultra low emission by 2030. Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, says: “These findings show that despite the Government’s ambitions to accelerate the take-up of cleaner vehicles, charging infrastructure is presently something of a post-code lottery, and patchy at best in some parts of the country.” Research carried out by RAC found that the lack of charging infrastructure is one of the main barriers for electric vehicle take-up and offered this advice.

“Clearly, we need to improve this access to charge points as a whole, but special attention needs to be given to installing more rapid chargers on the strategic road network as well as adding charging capability at car parks where people spend longer periods, such as at shopping and leisure centre car parks,” continues Lyes. “The key is to give drivers the confidence to go electric, which will not happen quickly unless they are given the right incentives to do so, alongside easy access to reliable charging infrastructure.” For those who can take advantage of the government incentives and who live in an area with good charging infrastructure, a plug-in van may well be a viable option within the next few years, especially with some of the biggest brands traditionally selling diesel models set to join the market for the first time. The range of plug-in options is however still fairly limited compared to the diesel counterparts, particularly if your business requires vehicles such as a pickup or tipper truck. So in conclusion there are many factors to consider the viability of these new vehicles for your business. • For further details on the TFL scrappage scheme visit scrappage-scheme

The Landscaper | Issue 237 | June 2019



Groundcare Vision The Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) strives to promote quality surfaces and services for grounds management. Here, IOG’s Chief Executive Officer, Geoff Webb, details how ongoing research into this increasingly challenged industry helps to provide a new vision for the sector and those working within it In 2008/09, the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) commissioned research to provide an overview of the grounds management market in terms of its annual value, numbers employed and volunteers, as well as the attitudes towards and trends within the industry. This resulted in the first definitive report – Grounds Management – The Hidden Profession – that also highlighted the industry’s economic value. The findings suggested that in England alone there were 20,000 employed professionals and at least 20,000 dedicated volunteers addressing grounds maintenance in several different sectors, and that the industry had an annual operating value in excess of £0.5billion per annum plus capital expenditure. Last year the IOG commissioned further research and this will enable comparisons to be made. The aims of the 2018/19 research are: • To identify overall trends within the grounds management industry in England • To provide an estimate of the overall economic impact annually of the grounds management industry in England • To provide an estimate of the number of people working in the industry both professionally and as volunteers, and in which sectors • To provide empirical evidence of attitudes towards grounds management in England; this should include attitudes of employers towards grounds managers and grounds staff; attitudes of grounds managers and grounds staff towards employers; and attitudes of volunteers • To identify trends, attitudes and pressures within individual sectors of the grounds management industry. This research is ongoing and the results will be presented at Saltex, the annual turf care exhibiton, this October. What we do know from previous research is that the groundscare industry attracts dedicated hard-working employed professionals and volunteers, who often work long unsociable hours. The industry has an enviable worldwide reputation, including many individuals as well as companies which are known for their quality and innovation.


Professional sports turf management does have its pressures! First and foremost is the wildly varying and rapid fixture and event schedules (increasingly dictated by television rights holders) that result in grounds management teams working almost 24/7. Teams at major venues often have to adjust to daily, midweek and weekend sporting events alongside music and other revenue-raising activities.

Groundcare teams need to work around varying sport and event fixtures at many racecourse venues

Club and ground owners are increasingly trying to ‘sweat their assets’ to the point where grounds managers are under the most severe continual pressure – which includes their work being in the media spotlight. During the period 2008/09 - 2019 there have been some significant changes within the industry: Local Government and Public Sector UK Local Government, in particular, entered a more pronounced period of austerity and discretionary services such as sport, leisure, parks and culture have suffered significant budget reductions - with more to follow in the current 20162020 cycle. This has led to the retirement and redundancy of skilled grounds management personnel, a down-skilling of retained personnel, a lack of new entrants/apprentices to the industry, and a new type of employee who is simply regarded as an operative with duties including street sweeping. Many local authorities are doing the minimum possible in their provision of natural turf pitches, perhaps providing grass cutting services and minimal annual maintenance and

GROUNDSCARE improvement, with line marking being undertaken either by volunteers or external contractors. Local government is also trying to move responsibility for grounds management and particularly fine turf provision out of the public sector to voluntary organisations through ‘Asset Transfer’. Volunteer committees and volunteer grounds staff will be key to future fine turf and higher quality pitch provision at community level. Grounds maintenance in the public sector is also increasingly being contracted to external companies or social enterprise. Austerity measures have also had a similar knock on effect to state education facilities, and will undoubtedly have impacted other public sector sports turf provision through, for example, the Ministry of Defence, Police Service and other public organisations. The situation is particularly poor in the state education sector, with lack of investment in sports surfaces, particularly natural turf, being compounded by lack of expertise and skills for grounds management and maintenance. Notwithstanding the presence of Playing Pitch Strategies, in many local authority areas the public sector is lacking in applied longer-term management strategies for sports surfaces (natural and artificial). The prolonged Brexit debate and the current political landscape make predicting the direction of investment in sport rather clouded. Sport has over the past decade had to convince Government of how it can contribute to the health of the nation in order to bring in investment. It is no longer a case of sport for sports sake. The IOG is working hard to elevate the thinking and culture around investment into the profession, from volunteer to professional levels across a range of sectors including the public sector, independent schools and universities, the voluntary sector and those working in the many stadia and racecourses across the country. Grounds management does need a re-boot and the IOG is in the process of developing initiatives to achieve exactly that. It will require a fundamental shift in attitudes and outlook from within our sector and beyond it. National Governing Bodies of Sport [NGBs] Some NGBs - notably the Football Association in England where 80% plus of community-based football takes place on natural turf pitches mainly provided by local Government - have until recently placed emphasis on synthetic turf pitches as an answer to future community football needs. And in recent times the pros and cons of artificial surfaces have come under close scrutiny as public awareness of issues around the infill used have raised concerns and been well documented in the media.

It would seem at the professional football level the happy medium is the use of reinforced (hybrid pitches) rather than a full 3G surface. Currently both the Football League and the Premier League have rejected calls for the introduction of 3G surfaces and, indeed, a recent poll of Professional Footballers Association members showed that 95% of members were against the introduction of the surface into League competition. Rugby, however, has allowed 3G into competition, but here again player perception varies with some citing injury concerns. More recently, trials undertaken by Sport England into hybrid surfaces are into a second season of data gathering and could provide a new alternative to a straight choice between natural or artificial pitches at community level. The benefits are that usage is significantly increased when compared to a natural turf pitch. Natural turf is, of course, not without its challenges as Europe-wide legislation on the safe use of pesticides impacts the grounds teams’ day-to-day armoury. So, as much as new technology has impacted and improved surfaces, a well-rounded approach to responsible grounds management is required to take account of more organic approaches and to deal with issues such as those around the environment, energy efficiency and the use/application of man-made products. Future turf managers will need to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of skill sets and keep records and evidence of any working practices, so there is a duty of care to provide appropriate education and training to equip them for the future. For natural turf at community level, thanks to the evidence gathered by the IOG-led Grounds & Natural Turf Improvement Programme (which is backed by Sport England and directly funded by the Football Association and the England & Wales Cricket Board) has placed a much greater emphasis on refurbishing and refreshing natural grass pitches with the aim of significantly improving 20,000 pitches over a 10-year period (2017-2027). Operated by the IOG, a National Director and

Greater emphasis needed on refreshing natural grass pitches

The Landscaper | Issue 237 | June 2019


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GROUNDSCARE nine Regional Managers have in the first three years assessed over 2,000 natural turf sites and made recommendations for improvement that are already having a significant impact on the improvement of pitches there. The team is also collecting valuable data and identifying industry trends at a local level (where pitch compaction and a lack of awareness of available training are key issues). The IOG also has ambitious plans to introduce a nationally recognised pitch grading programme linked to the levels of education and learning required at each level. This will combine both technical standards and educational standards recommended to improve the playing experience for players from community grassroots level to elite venues. In addition, while the England and Wales Cricket Board has since 2005 placed a high priority on quality natural fine turf wickets and outfields, natural (and artificial) turf surfaces remain a priority for Rugby Union, Rugby League, golf, lawn tennis, horseracing/equestrian Eventing and bowls, to name but a few. The IOG has responded positively to the changing perspective and provided a voice for the industry. It has also taken positive action to resolve personal issues for individuals, and promoted improved pay and conditions, while also attracting more young people to the industry through the ‘Young IOG’ and introducing a significantly

revised training structure that provides an improved career progression structure. The IOG will continue to strive to serve and represent our membership through the seasons. • SALTEX – takes place 30-31 October, 2019 at the NEC Birmingham. For more details visit:

The IOG Pitch Grading Framework will not only highlight the level of an individual playing surface quality but also the appropriate training and education, and the recommended levels of qualifications needed by those who maintain it.

The Landscaper | Issue 237 | June 2019



Championship point

Neil Stubley Photo Credit: AELTC Adam Warner

Neil Stubley, celebrates his 24th Wimbledon Championships this year as Head of Courts and Horticulture at the world famous venue. Ahead of this year’s tennis tournament, he chats with Maggie Walsh about his career and reveals his tips for maintaining the perfect grass court Tell us a little bit about yourself, how and why you chose this as a career and how you became Head of Courts and Horticulture at Wimbledon. I first started as a chef when I left school, but got disillusioned with the long hours and weekend work. So at the time my Mum was working at a horticulture college and she suggested that while I was still living at home I should take the opportunity to change careers. So I started my foundations in horticulture then moved to turf, getting my National Diploma in Sports Turf at Norwood Hall College. After two years at college I came here (to Wimbledon) as part of six month placement. During that time the Head Groundsman was looking to replace a member of staff who was retiring and I was the lucky apprentice who got the job. In 2012 I took over from then Head Groundsman Eddie Seaward, when he retired and then in 2014 the AELTC took the Horticulture in-house and so that came under my control too. What accolades have you received during your career? I don’t like to give too much emphasis to awards as it is all down to team effort what we do. In 2012, when we had to manage the courts for both the Wimbledon Championships and the Olympics, we won the IOG Groundscare team of the year, which was a nice recognition for all the team.


Preparing the grass courts for the grand tournament each year must be a daunting task. When do you start to prepare the courts for Wimbledon? If anything we start looking at the next year’s plans before the current Championships start. So for example, now five weeks away from The Championships, we ask ourselves how what we did last autumn and through the winter is affecting the grounds now and what might we start to do different now to improve on next year. How do you go about preparations of the courts each year? We have a total of 16 permanent groundstaff and 31 during The Championships. This year the team have to tend 18 Championship grass courts and 20 practice courts. Grass is a living surface and must be on the tipping point of being under stress to provide the best playing surface. The courts are prepared in a similar manner each year to produce the highest quality playing surface – with even consistent bounce as well as the ability to withstand prolonged wear and tear for a minimum of 13 days. Preparation is independently verified by the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) in Yorkshire, UK, which provides research and consultancy services to the AELTC throughout the year. During final preparation week and throughout The Championships the STRI takes daily measurements of surface characteristics of courts to measure court performance.

GROUNDSCARE Q&A All data collected is made available to us to help inform management of courts throughout The Championships and to compare data from previous years. What are your top tips for the perfect Wimbledon grass court? Is there a specific grass seed that you use and why? Since 2001 the courts have been sown with 100% Perennial Ryegrass to improve durability and strengthen the sward to withstand better the increasing wear of the modern game. The grass plant itself has to survive in this dry soil and research has suggested that a cut height of 8mm is the optimum for present day play and survival. In addition all courts are relined, rolled and mown daily during The Championships. Court wear, surface hardness and ball rebound are all measured daily. Are the preparation and maintenance of the grounds at Wimbledon tried and tested and unchanged over the years or do the team always look for new ideas? We are always open to new techniques and ideas. In 2017, the Groundstaff trialled a steaming method on four of The Championships courts, with the ambition to further reduce the AELTC’s reliance on pesticides in future years. The trial was judged a success, and in 2018, the steaming method was used on Centre Court and five other courts. There has been a lot of media headlines about the use of

pesticides usage, so we are trying to get ahead of the curve ball and predict what changes will be put upon us in the next few years. We have to look to alternatives, and steaming ticks a huge box because it is ultimately environmentally friendly and there is no residual affect that you’d get from chemicals. We are actually already seeing better more robust grasses that will withstand disease and pests and hopefully play as well. Do the show courts get any different treatment than the outside courts and if so how does the preparation differ and why? Not really - every one of our 38 grass courts have their own little micro-climates so we have to be flexible with that and obviously the stadium courts are slightly different because of air flows and light levels. But ultimately we manage them all the same just fine tune which each one needs. There must be an array of machines and tools used to prepare the courts - which machine or tool could you not live without and why? To be honest I’d say I couldn’t live without the knowledge of the Groundstaff. There is probably 20 or 30 facets go into producing the best grass court whether the machinery, fertilisers, irrigation and chemicals used. Ultimately none of those will do any good if the person applying it isn’t doing the best they possibly can.

Photo Credit: AELTC Thomas Lovelock

The Landscaper | Issue 237 | June 2019



Photo Credit: AELTC Thomas Lovelock

I’m fortunate to have a well educated proactive team who are always pushing the boundaries so I run with them. What is the more challenging for maintaining perfect courts during the tournament - a summer heatwave or torrential rain? It’s a bit of both to be honest - you’ll never get a perfect weather pattern to make Groundstaff happy. My ideal would be a 25 degree day, light winds, low humidity with a little bit of cloud coming in and out. But you’ll never get that with the British weather system, so again the skill set in my grounds team is their ability to make sure they are flexible to adapt to the challenges. What would your typical day be during the The Championships? An early start! At 7am the team arrive, the covers come off, we then cut and mark out The Championship courts in time for the STRI to run their independent measurements of the courts before we finalise them for play. There is then around nine hours of play depending on the weather, during which time I’ll be in and out the referees office. Early evening we are are in the practice courts (practice finishes at 7pm) cutting, watering and marking out as we put those courts to bed. And then we finish on The Championship courts, hoovering debris off the baseline, and then will irrigate them depending on how hard they are and then put them to bed. And then it’s pretty much Groundhog Day when we arrive back the next morning.


What advice would you have for any person looking to start or change to a career in the sports and groundscare industry? Absolutely do it as it can be very rewarding. It has stresses and strains but what I like about my job is that year on year you never get two Championships the same. The weather patterns are a constant challenge, but that’s the joy of the job. You start each day with a blank canvas and you then do the very best you can to show case your grounds in the best light you can. Grass Court preparation and maintenance by numbers: • 10 tonnes of seed used annually on the courts. • 200 tonnes of soil used each year to level the courts. • 275mm depth of soil on a tennis court. • 23% percentage of clay in the soil. • 200mm depth of grass roots by The Championships. • 15 electric lawn mowers used to cut the grass. • 1,822 times the correct ball bounce height is checked during The Championships. • 3,177 the hours of play on the courts during The Championships. • 6,080 times the plant health/Chlorophyll Index is checked during The Championships. • 18,240 times the hardness of the courts is checked during The Championships. • 31,200 times the baselines are checked for live grass/ wear during The Championships. • 54 million grass plants on Centre Court at the start of The Championships.

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BLEC boasts latest range in Turfcare machinery Three years on since The press were the announcement was also treated to a talk made that BLEC was from Sean Goodwin, to become a division Director of Talbot Farm of the Redexim Group, Landscapes and Talbot The Landscaper Sports Turf, and longMagazine and fellow standing user of BLEC press colleagues machinery. Sean has a were invited to an vast selection of BLEC update event at BLEC units on his machinery dealer Acorn Tractors fleet. He adds, “The BLEC in Derby. Hosted by range demonstrates an Division Manager understanding of what Demonstrating the Blec machinery Curtis Allen, we we, the commercial heard in more detail how the new and enhanced range landscaper/sports turf contractor, really need. The build of specialist landscaping and turfcare equipment is quality is one thing that has always impressed me but the creating quite a stir. new Multi-Seeder I have purchased through Redexim is even Redexim Charterhouse is a leader in golf course and better – well engineered and attention paid to every detail. turf management equipment. And now a busy few years With the resources available to Redexim, the manufacturing under the guidance of the Redexim Group has seen the prowess and the ability to stock a wider range of parts streamlining of product ranges and manufacture of BLEC through their dealer network, they have the potential to take machinery, along with the appointment of a network of BLEC to the next level.” dedicated dealers nationwide. Curtis summarised, “Despite its best efforts, the rain Among the machines shown on the day were the didn’t dampen spirits on what was a fantastic opportunity Blecavator, Laser Grader and Multi-Seeder where key to update the media on all of the improvements we have developments were discussed. Of particular note was the worked hard to deliver across the portfolio. We have number of mechanical adjustments made to the renowned come a long way with the range already and with further Laser Grader range including new twin Danfoss proportional innovations in the pipeline we’re entering a very exciting valves and heavy-duty finger tines, that both now come as period in the BLEC story. A big thank you must also go to standard. The all-new Power Box Rake 1800 was another Julian Simpson at Acorn Tractors for providing the host highlight as the first Redexim designed and engineered venue and coordinating such a positive day.” addition to the BLEC offering. Whilst following the ethics of For more detais on the BLEC range visit the previous versions of the PBR, this machine has been built from scratch to be the perfect tool for cultivating, earthmoving, grading and raking. During the presentation and subsequent working demonstrations, it was evident how machines from across the BLEC range can be used in conjunction with one another, in the process of converting bare earth into a surface ready for seeding. With a comprehensive selection of pedestrian and tractor-mounted units, each available in a variety of working widths, they’re suited to applications from landscape gardeners, golf course construction, sports pitch Press call at Acorn Tractors, Derby preparations to large-scale groundworks.


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Solutions for hybrid and synthetic turf maintenance GKB Machines, the Dutch company behind sustainable, reliable and robust maintenance machinery for natural, synthetic and hybrid turf are currently showcasing their groundscare products. First off is the GKB Renovator, adaptable for scarifying hybrid and natural turf pitches. Its interlocking five brushes that form the foundation of the machine can easily be removed and replaced with a set of rotating spring tines. Available in 1.6 and 2m working widths, the circular oscillating movement of the spring tines removes unwanted material from around the plastic fibres and in turn improves the quality and effectiveness of the pitch. Not only a method for in-season hybrid maintenance, the GKB Renovator can also be used subsequently with the GKB Combinator as an important part of the renovation method. Using the GKB Renovator and GKB Combinator together is an ideal combination for stitched and nonstitched hybrid pitches. Through vigorous testing in The Netherlands, UK and Belgium, this method has been developed over the past two years. In addition, the handler is able to adjust the operating depth of the GKB Renovator by turning two adjustable legs, in or out, and the rubber wheels ensure the GKB Renovator will softly roll across the synthetic turf pitch. The machine is driven by a power-take off shaft (PTO) and the entire powering system is executed in a robust manner. The deep cleaning capacity of the Renovator, and also the KGB Rotobrush, proved a hit with Jon Lawson, owner and managing director of the Sports and Courts Line Marking Ltd.

GKB Renovator


GKB Infiller

He says: “GKB is known for reliability and I was so impressed with the rotary brush. I needed something that was going to do the job and that was robust and reliable. We have a lot of tennis clubs complain that they’ve got very compacted baselines and the Renovator and Rotobrush tick all the boxes. “For us it was the answer to going forwards with the new business, offering this additional service on top of the deep cleans and everything else we already do”. On the GKB Renovator’s first job rejuvenating a bespoke short pile sand filled artificial sports turf it far exceeded expectation for Jon. “We feel it increased the amount of contaminated sand infill removed by 15 - 20% working in conjunction with our existing system. It also reduced the overall job by one day which means the client gets the sports surface back in to use a day early. This has given me complete reassurance it was worth the investment, outstanding!” The GKB Renovator’s five rotating brushes form the foundation of the machine and because the brushes interlock into each other, you will not miss a single inch when you are operating on your pitch. Whilst the GKB Rotobrush enables the operator to brush deeper and more effectively as the rotating brush disc is provided with extra rigid bristles which are pressed into the synthetic turf. Where the functioning of normal brushing and cleaning stops, the Rotobrush will continue. Another reliable synthetic turf maintenance machine is the the GKB Infiller, which can provide a way to infill in

GROUNDSCARE ROUND-UP the construction of a sports field, or help apply a variety of materials accurately. Equipped with a rotatable driver’s seat, the innovative GKB Infiller can be driven in both directions and has the ability to efficiently apply several types of infill material like sand, SBR rubber, TPE rubber and cork in two directions. The precision control valve can be set from 0 to 100mm to determine how much infill material is sprinkled, which is manually adjustable as well as hydraulically operated. This flap

in the front of the bunker gives you the possibility to regulate the amount of sand that is distributed while there are specially designed agitators in the bunker to break up rubber crumb infill and guarantee an even spreading pattern. The GKB Infiller is also provided with aluminium extensions to enlarge the bunker capacity of the bunker mounted on top of the chassis. The bunker is increased by these extensions from 1.06m3 to 3m3.

Trust in Toro As one of the most successful and reputable grounds maintenance companies in the UK, John O’Conner Grounds Maintenance knows that having the best groundscare equipment is vital, which is why they trust in Toro to provide their clients with the highquality service they expect. Having recently won the Toro sponsored Grounds Maintenance – Limited Public Access category at the BALI National Landscape Awards, and with the companies 50th year coming up in June 2019, senior workshop manager Simon Redhead, who has been with the company for 35 years, tells us how Toro has become an essential equipment provider for the family run business. “We have a wide range of customers, so we need flexible and reliable machines to deal with them all,”

Senior workshop manager Simon Redhead, right, from John O’Conner Grounds Maintenance, is pictured with Reesink’s Alastair Rowell and two Toro mowers from the company’s grounds maintenance fleet which includes 45 Toro machines.


he says. “We look after grounds on the Isle of Wight all the way up to Scotland, so making sure we provide a consistent service no matter where in the country or what kind of client they are is really important and Toro helps us to achieve that.” With 45 pieces of kit in the company’s grounds maintenance fleet, it’s clear Toro is highly valued. “We have everything from pedestrian and ride on mowers to tractor drawn gang mowers. In particular the Toro LT3340 heavy-duty triple cylinder mower has been great and has been our front-line machine for many years. For example, when we have long wet grass and difficult conditions, the LT3340 comes into its own. “The majority of our clients are local authorities and with increasing budget cuts, many of them now need areas to be cut less frequently while still providing the same finish. The LT3340 has proven over the years to be an integral part of our fleet of machines.” And it’s not just the machines themselves that are highly valued by John O’Conner, but the service from Reesink Turfcare as well. “Reesink have always been great, especially when it comes to their parts service and training. Anything you need they’ll get to you within 24 hours, which is great because it means we can get machines back in use almost immediately.” The company is about to trial another Toro machine, the CT2240. “I know that Toro will always deliver durable, reliable, high-quality machines and are always looking at innovative ways to make things better for the operator and customer. They also come with excellent service to back that up.” He concludes: “Toro fits in very well with what our customers expect with regards to cut, finish and appearance.”


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New technical manager for Rigby Taylor Phil Baldock has joined Rigby Taylor’s Northern team of Area Technical Managers. He brings a wealth of practical experience to this role having worked in greenkeeping for a number of high-profile golf clubs including Foxhills Country Club and Hankley Common in Surrey, Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and Ganton in Yorkshire. Phil has won the Shell ‘Best of Better

Phil Baldock.

Britain’ Conservation Award for his sand dune conservation and has staged Curtis Cup, Walker Cup and Brabazon Trophy events. As a keen supporter of BIGGA, he was secretary and chairman of the Surrey section and founder member of BIGGA Northern Ireland section and its first chairman. Phil is based in York and can be contacted by email

Graden CSI proves a key tool in the fight against disease for Bransford Golf Club With changes in pesticide legislation having an not possible, and we noticed a real difference on how wet ever-deepening effect on Sportsturf quality, the the greens were compared to previous years,” he says. drive for turf managers to shift their nutritional and Graham put a case to the owner and was successful mechanical maintenance to a proactive approach is in purchasing his own unit, from dealer Tallis Amos in ever more important. Graham Wallace, Golf Course February 2019. Manager at the Bank House Hotel’s Bransford Golf “Now we have our own machine, we can look to get out Club, is doing just that and has recently invested in a with the machine more frequently and can trial various Graden CSI from Charterhouse Turf Machinery to help depths and settings to achieve maximum impact with produce strong greens. minimal surface disruption.” “The course has sand-based greens but, due to the Graham is hoping to employ the CSI at least twice a year, poor quality of sand used during construction, are working at depths of up to 40mm to simultaneously scarify unfortunately susceptible to holding water,” explains and backfill the grooves with better quality sand. Graham, who is supported by a “I made the decision last year to not greenkeeping team of five. spray any fungicides, with mixed results. “With the upcoming changes in I was hugely thankful that the members fungicide regulations it is becoming and club management understood it essential to keep the surfaces dry, and could be a challenging time to keep the plant healthy, as much as possible to surfaces first-rate. These last few months prevent disease from taking hold.” To help certainly haven’t been easy however, improve drainage, Graham has conducted by using our CSI in conjunction with in-house drill ‘n’ fill across the 18 greens for overseeding and the correct fertiliser many years, followed by passes with the programme, we are in a great place to Graden CSI to keep channels open. push ahead with our proactive approach “We were lucky enough to borrow a CSI and produce a strong plant in the onGraden CSI from Charterhouse Turf Machinery from another course, but last year this was going fight against disease.”


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Husqvarna Automower® Give your business more time. Swedish manufacture of outdoor power tools Husqvarna is on standby to supply a range of robotic mowers specifically developed for the needs of commercial customers. The Automower® 500 Series allow grassed areas to be maintained efficiently and to a consistently high standard while enabling the redeployment of resources onto more labour intensive tasks. The range produces no direct emissions and are near silent making them ideal for night time operation or in noise sensitive areas. They are also extremely cost effective to operate. Three models are available with area capacity up to 5000m2 per machine. Multiple machines can be used in areas greater than 5000m2. The new Husqvarna Automower® 535 AWD allows slopes of up to 70% to be maintained as well as rough terrain, the standard models have slope performance of 45%.

Husqvarna robotic mower

The robotic mowers are designed to cut little and often recycling the micro-clippings back into the soil improving grass quality whilst maintaining a consistent grass length throughout the growing season. Husqvarna Fleet Services™ which is a fleet management tool is in-built on the Automower 500 Series. Performance, settings, locations and machine health of an entire fleet of Husqvarna robotic mowers can be tracked from anywhere using the software solution.

INFINICUT® best fit for school foundation Warwick Independent Schools Foundation has purchased two Cub Cadet INFINICUT® mowers, as well as a selection of TMSystem™ cassettes. In a very short time Grounds Manager Duncan Toon says the vast improvement in the condition of the natural grass surfaces is down to these newest additions to his fleet. Duncan and his grounds team need to deliver top-quality surfaces for the 8 hectare site that services all the sporting grounds needs of the foundation. “I joined the school in June 2018 whilst it was in the midst of a significant investment programme and started

Groundsmen using INFINICUT® mowers at Warwick School

sourcing machinery to help improve the quality of the grounds,” says Duncan. “I’d had a demonstration of the INFINI’s in my previous role at Birmingham FC and they’d been on my wish-list ever since. I knew these would be key to achieving the quality we were striving for.” Duncan took delivery of an INFINICUT® 34” Fixed Head and an INFINICUT® 26” Floating Head mower. “Alongside the superior quality of cut, and striping ability, another big selling point for us working in a school environment is health and safety. With the INFINI’s being battery powered, we no longer have to spend time and money The 34” unit, equipped with a 7 blade SmartCut reel, is predominately for use on the rugby pitch and cricket square, while the 26” floating head model will become their wicket mower. Duncan is also impressed with the cassettes from the TMSystem™ range that came with the machines - the PowerBrush™ and UltraGroomer™. “We’ve put the UltraGroomer™ across our cricket surface to thin out the sward and remove any unwanted Poa ingress and lateral growth. Compared to other verti-cutters, this cassette is head and shoulders above anything I’ve ever used. When you think you’ve taken everything out, you go over again and it’s amazing how much more you get.”

The Landscaper | Issue 237 | June 2019



Sowing Britain’s longest meadow As the sun begins to drop below the horizon, the team from Pictorial Meadows are just starting out, checking plans and unloading their convoy of trailers. This team will transform the central reservation of a busy dual-carriageway into Britain’s longest urban meadow, extending for over six miles through Rotherham, and dubbed the River of Flowers. Across the UK, meadows are disappearing at an alarming rate, with over 97% of the wildflower meadows that were around 100 years ago no longer existing. Meadow landscapes are not only beautiful, but provide an important resource for our bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. The River of Flowers project shows how meadows can be used to bring benefits for both people and nature in towns and cities. The meadow being sown has been specially developed by Pictorial Meadows for urban areas and contains more than 30 different flowering species, carefully balanced to offer beautiful changing colours across the season while also ensuring improved pollen and nectar availability for wildlife. Connecting the M18 and the M1 motorway, the meadow brightens the journey of hundreds of thousands of commuters every year, as well as being appreciated by local residents. “The flowers are so much better than the plain grass that was there before, it just helps you feel more positive every

time you see it - I hope more councils do the same,” says David, a regular traveller along the route. Creating such a large meadow in an urban setting is not without its challenges however, as Dan Cornwell, Landscapes Director at Pictorial Meadows, explains: “Establishing a traditional native meadow requires some very specific growing conditions, and can often need extensive soil conditioning works. This can make it unfeasible for many locations. The specialist mix of species we have developed for the River of Flowers project is perfectly tailored for an urban environment, and requires significantly less investment than a standard meadow.”

Wildflowers bring colour to golf course Scrub areas at Cheltenham’s Lilley Brook Golf Club have been rejuvenated thanks to wildflower mixtures from DLF Seeds. In a quest to improve the visual appearance and ecological qualities of waste land around the site, Course Manager Nigel Thompson has found success with DLF’s Colour Boost mix. “I’ve been looking at ways of adding colour and diversity to areas around the course that don’t tend to get a lot of maintenance,” explains Nigel. “We earmarked a scrub area between the 2nd and 3rd hole to trial a wildflower plot last year. Ian Barnett of DLF came in to explain the various options available, and we settled on an annuals mixture, Colour Boost 1, which we sowed last May.” “Despite the warm and dry conditions, it popped up Mid-June and provided outstanding colour right through until the late autumn.

Not only that, but it provided a habitat for insects to thrive in, in particular we noticed an increase in bees, in and around the wildflowers.” The Colour Boost mixtures incorporate both wild flower and garden flowering species, that establish rapidly to deliver a colourful display throughout the whole year. Sown directly onto the final recipient site, they require little irrigation, fertiliser/chemical application or maintenance throughout the season. Nigel is now planning to introduce more wildflowers, this time native perennials, around the perimeter of the course. “As part of our ongoing drive to introduce wildlife initiatives, we’re going to use the DLF Pro Flora 9 mixture around teeing-off areas to create habitats for a variety of species. It’s great to think we can do our bit to support pollinators.

The Landscaper | Issue 237 | June 2019



Joint effort to brighten special needs school grounds Local family businesses Bettys & Taylors Group and commercial nursery Johnsons of Whixley have teamed up to provide over £5,500 worth of plants to Springwater, a special needs school in Harrogate. The Harrogate based day school provides education to children between the ages of 2-19 years that have a range of complex life-limiting and learning limited conditions. The school also provides an Outreach service within North Yorkshire mainstream schools for pupils with learning difficulties. Samantha Gibson from Bettys & Taylors Group, says: “As a business we have a long history of working with Springwater School over the last two decades. With this background we were delighted to be able to be part of this project through our Trees for Life initiative in revitalising their sensory garden.” 1,430 plants have been provided and donated for it’s new interactive and sensory stimulating playground that will allow children with disabilities to safely play alongside their friends. Plants have carefully been chosen with sensory varieties such as Lavender, Mint and Rosemary included in the planting plan. Managing Director Graham Richardson from Johnsons of Whixley, says: “I can think of few projects that are as deserving as ‘Springwater’ and our business is pleased to help in a small

way. Our team up with Betty’s has worked particularly well, both being local employers with 100 or approaching 100 years of operating in the locality!” The ‘big build project’ was launched by Children’s charity Variety on the back of their visit to the school in 2017 when Yorkshire Regional Development Director of Variety, Charlotte Farrington recognised how restrictive the school was for the children. Variety managed to enlist numerous local businesses that attend the Yorkshire Property Awards each year to get on board with donations and services to help give the school a much-needed makeover.

Green Screen Mobilane, suppliers of green walls, roofs and screens has recently released it’s Living Green Screen’s Euonymus Dart’s Blanket. Named as one of the “plants to watch” for 2019 by the Flower Bureau Holland, Euonymus Dart’s Blanket brings a season-long foliage screen, hardy and perfect for any aspect. The Euonymus fortunei Dart’s Blanket has been a nursery staple since 1969. Now marketed and sold worldwide and also known as The Winter Creeper, the Dart’s Blanket variety is the ideal landscape screen choice for its slow-growing, evergreen foliage which offers a warm red autumn colour. Slow-growing, the addition of an Euonymus screen means less pruning and therefore less maintenance. Its salt tolerance lends itself to exposed coastal aspects and roadside conditions where salt may be used over winter. And that


means the Euonymus Dart’s Blanket living green screen is perfectly suited for gardens, balconies, industrial and business parks and public open spaces across the UK.

HORTICULTURE Its stand-out feature is its foliage colour. From spring and summer green to its switch to a warm red in autumn, a Mobilane Euonymus Darts Blanket living green screen keeps its red allure until spring when new green shoots add an extra layer of contrast to the matured red foliage. The Mobilane Living Green Screen consists of a metal framework, densely intertwined with fully grown climbers. The plants are in a coconut fibre root container filled with potting soil, into which the metal frame sits conversion at the bottom of the grid. The planter is completely biodegradable

once placed into the ground and allows for the full, healthy development of the hedge and its root system in openground. The Mobilane ready-made Living Green Screen Euonymus Dart’s Blanket can be installed all year round, carefully avoiding periods of frost. The Mobilane ready-made Living Green Screen Euonymus Dart’s Blanket is available in three height options: 1 metre, 1.8 metres and 2.2 metres. All screens are supplied at 1.2 metres wide as standard.

Garden industry trends report The Garden Industry Manufactures Association (GIMA) is set to launch a bespoke garden industry trends report at Dobbies Garden Centre in Milton Keynes on 26th June, 2019. The presentation, which will act as a launchpad for the specially commissioned study, will arm suppliers with valuable tools to become market leaders in their sectors, rather than reacting to shifts in consumer behaviour.

Changing garden trends

‘Trends for the Garden Industry’ will see leading consumer and design trend agency Scarlett Opus reveal what consumers will be buying in 2020 and beyond. The report will throw the spotlight on key consumer lifestyle and outdoor living trends, pinpointing how insight can drive the development of new products and ranges. In addition, keynote briefings by Marcus Eyles, horticultural director of Dobbies Garden Centres, will discuss how suppliers need to adapt as future trends change the face of garden retail. With Dobbies now the UK’s biggest garden centre operator, following its acquisition of 31 Wyevale stores, Marcus will argue that suppliers need to embrace a more proactive strategy that keeps their businesses ahead of trends – rather than reacting to shifts in consumer behaviour. The Trends Report will initially focus on several key consumer trends and then drill deeper into seven areas of garden retail: garden pots and planters; gloves, boots, clothing and textiles; hard landscaping, materials and surfaces; garden lighting; garden décor, ornaments, water

features and structures; garden furniture and accessories; and packaging, labelling, merchandising and displays. GIMA Director, Vicky Nuttall, says: “In an increasingly competitive market place, few businesses have sufficient time and resources to accurately forecast future trends. When teams are armed with insight into shifting patterns of consumer behaviour, it significantly reduces the level of risk in decisionmaking processes by empowering manufacturers and suppliers with the knowledge to precisely tailor products that will satisfy the needs of shoppers two or three years down the line.” Delegates at the presentation will be equipped with critical insight that will help to inform planning, product development and sourcing, enabling suppliers to bring the right products to market at the perfect time. Knowledge of future trends ensures that product design, materials and colours meet consumer desires and expectations. Data from forecasters can help to inspire visual merchandising, too, whether in-store or online, while marketing messages will resonate with consumers – using a tone of voice that underpins confidence in a brand. GIMA director, Vicky Nuttall, adds: “This new interactive event will be an inspiring, exciting and challenging day that exclusively offers GIMA members a tool to future-proof their businesses. A host of activities – from merchandising to new product development, product updates, packaging, marketing plans and brand development can all benefit from trend-driven insight. Attendance is a must for members who want do drive sales growth and enhance experiences for their customers.” GIMA members can already harness the power of quantitative data provided by Euromonitor, but the new Trends Report is an additional benefit. It will focus on how and when new trends will emerge, and probe situations that may cause trends to shift direction. For details of the Trends Report launch event for GIMA members email or call 01959 564947.

The Landscaper | Issue 237 | June 2019



Chelsea Flower show in pictures This year’s Chelsea Flower show comprised 11 show gardens, nine space to grow gardens and six artisan gardens, with the theme of woodlands, natural habitats, children’s play areas and protecting our ever fragile environment running through the avenues. Here are some of the headline winners amongst this year’s spectacular display. Best Show Garden: The M & G Garden Designed by Andy Sturgeon; Built by Crocus Inspired by nature’s power to regenerate, this woodland landscape is interspersed with stone platforms and huge burnt timber sculptures representing natural rock formations. Picture Credit: RHS / Neil Hepworth

Best Artisian Garden: Family Monsters Garden. Designed by Alistair Bayford; Built by idverde. The circular design features a relaxed border of birch and woodland-inspired and pollinatorfriendly planting surrounding a central pool. Picture Credit: RHS / Tim Sandall

Best Construction Award (Show Garden): The Resilience Garden Designed by Sarah Eberle; Built by Crocus Commissioned to celebrate the Forestry Commission’s centenary, the garden looks ahead to the challenges facing forests of the future. Picture Credit: RHS / Neil Hepworth

Best Space to Grow Garden and Best Construction award (Space to Grow/Artisian category): Facebook: Beyond the Screen Designed by Joe Perkins; Built by The Outdoor Room A coastal design theme celebrates communities coming together through social media, with water and the oceans as elements that link all our nations. Picture Credit: RHS / Sarah Cuttle


CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW The People’s Choice Best Show Garden: Welcome To Yorkshire Designed by Mark Gregor; Built by Landform Consultants Ltd. A garden inspired by Yorkshire’s proud history of industry, manufacturing and innovation, as well as its stunning natural environment. Picture Credit: RHS / Neil Hepworth

The People’s Choice, Best Artisian Garden: The Donkey Sanctuary: Donkeys Matter Designed by Christina Williams and Annie Prebensen; Built by Frogheath Landscapes and How Green Nursery In an arid location, a shelter (perhaps for a donkey) provides a shady spot near a well, above which hangs a bucket. Fuller planting surrounds it. Picture Credit: Credit Line RHS / Tim Sandall

The People’s Choice, Space To Grow Garden: The CAMFED Garden: Giving Girls In Africa a Space to Grow Designed by Jilayne Rickards; Built by Cormac Conway A representation of female-led, climate-smart agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa, the garden features edible crops, so vital in helping children to thrive. Picture credit: RHS / Sarah Cuttle

Back to Nature RHS Feature Garden Designed by HRH the Duchess of Cambridge together with Andree Davies and Adam White, this garden was inspired by childhood memories and with families in mind, this woodland garden is a place to retreat from the world, to play, learn and discover as well as create special family memories. The RHS Back to Nature Garden is key to the RHS’s partnership with NHS England, promoting the physical and emotional wellbeing that access to green spaces and gardening provides. After RHS Chelsea Flower Show, much of the planting and some of the landscaping will go to an NHS Mental Health Trust, as part of a national competition run by the RHS. Picture credit: RHS / Neil Hepworth

The Landscaper | Issue 237 | June 2019



Irrigation system delivers direct to roots Landscape suppliers, Green-tech’s Mona Plant System has been specified by Barton Willmore Landscape Architects and incorporated within planter designs of a new courtyard area at the Queens Walk development in Reading. Described as a subterranean watering system, the Mona plant system tanks were incorporated within the planting medium and deliver water direct to the plant’s roots through the process of capillary action. The system removes the need for surface watering so ensures the correct amount of water is delivered as and when required by the planting. The system is 100% efficient, eliminating the risk of over or under-watering and responds to the seasonal requirements of each individual plant. The courtyard, part of a development that now houses flats for University of Reading students, incorporates both hard and soft landscaped areas and raised planters housing both trees and shrubs that provide shade, screening and seasonal interest. The team behind the Mona Plant System assisted with the specification of the system at an early stage of the design process, ensuring the correct quota of tanks were utilised to suit the individual planting. Green-tech also supplied 150m3 of Green-tree intensive

Performance Redefined.

substrate; an established growing media with an excellent reputation in the marketplace. It is a blend of lightweight aggregate and award-winning Green-tree top soil; which is ideal for containerised planting or green roof projects. It is lightweight in texture and has good water holding capacity which encourages healthy plants and trees in containerised planting projects like this. Paul Corfield, Senior Landscape Architect for Barton Willmore comments: “Barton Willmore was commissioned to produce the design proposals for the existing courtyard space as part of the refurbishment works at Queens Walk. Incorporating the Mona Plant System into the planting scheme offered a simple and effective watering solution for the raised planters.” Richard Wexham, Product Specification Manager, Green-tech adds: “The Mona Plant System offers a solution to water wastage. By incorporating the system into a scheme at specification stage you are providing the best possible start for your trees and plants. The yellow subterranean tanks are designed to release water on request by the planting and the process of capillary action transfers the water through the growing medium to the plant’s roots to ensure the correct amount is always available.’

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RCL Irrigation is a specialist supplier of irrigation materials, parts and tools to landscape and irrigation contractors throughout the UK. Our range consists of the highest quality irrigation materials from some of the biggest manufacturers in the world, such as Hunter, Rainbird, Irritrol and Antelco. Allied to our outstanding knowledge and product support, this offers a unique package of quality and reliability that gives you the confidence to make the right choices for your irrigation

requirements. Whether you need to irrigate a sports field, large garden or a small terrace, we have everything that you need to allow your turf and plants to flourish. We supply everything from underground pipework and fittings, pumps and valves to hose, sprinklers and connectors all at extremely competitive prices. Following on from one of the warmest and driest summers on record, it is becoming more

essential for clients to install some form of irrigation system to take the stress and strains away from keeping your garden looking fresh and hydrated. We are able to offer some extremely attractive discounts to trade customers, so if you would like a copy of our catalogue or to set up a trade account with us then please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01789 722559 or email us at


Effective irrigation systems, technology and practice provide a major contribution to water conservation Jeremy Green, Owner of Evergreen Irrigation, looks at some of the latest developments in irrigation technology, practice and regulations With today’s focus on environmental protection, recycling and improved water delivery systems are being more widely implemented. For the immediate conservation of water, efficient irrigation practices are also key, but attention should be paid to regulations. Commercial and residential irrigation technology has seen the emergence of fully automated computer controlled systems, the use of weather stations, satellite data, the internet and the Cloud such as Rain Bird’s IQ Cloud solution. Control systems are available that adjust watering schedules according to weather conditions. Dripline irrigation has eliminated waste by delivering precise amounts of water exactly where needed, next to a plant’s roots. Pressurised sprinklers continue to dominate landscaping use, but new technologies including Rain Bird R-Van nozzles provide uniform coverage with lower precipitation rates, lessening the risk of wasteful run-off and requiring up to 33% shorter run-times.

Automated irrigation systems can be set to use the minimum amount necessary and central control systems can be used for water-conserving regimes. Multiple start times and independent programs allow shorter and more precise run times based on the individual needs of plants and specific landscape areas. This enables the landscape or shrubs concerned to absorb water more efficiently, reducing run-off wastage. Controllers provide a means to adjust the irrigation system. A rain delay feature postpones watering when it is wet and irrigation is not needed, whilst a cycle and soak capability applies water at a rate that the soil can more properly absorb. Daily evapo-transpiration values can be calculated and station run times automatically adjusted to replace only the water needed by the plants. Automatic shut-off devices for controllers, such as rain or soil moisture sensors, can save water by 15-20%.

TBOS controller linked to IQCloud

Rain Bird R-Van nozzles


Prevent evaporation Such technology must be complemented with good practice. Much of the water used in landscaping is for grass irrigation and it is easy to overwater. Simple duties include adjusting sprinkler timers to water for shorter periods during

IRRIGATION Category 4 is for drip line irrigation laid on the surface and for outlets that may be in contact with the soil, but not underneath it. These require a more robust system to prevent backflow, such as a pipe breaker or vacuum breaker, or RPZ, which prevents backflow by allowing air into the line and preventing the back-syphon from the irrigation system. Category 5 is for any system that has outlets under the soil, which includes underground drip pipe, and pop up sprinklers for lawns. The requirement for this category

Grass Roots With XFS subsurface dripline

when rain is predicted. Larger landscapes should be watered early in the morning when it is most efficient. This prevents evaporation due to the sun and also counters wind drift during the day which can divert water into the wrong areas. Variation of exposure of a landscape to the sun will also affect irrigation needs. Water efficient irrigation starts with proper planning and should also include regular maintenance. Whether the installation is a commercial property or a residential garden, different plants require differing amounts of water. Landscapes can be divided into zones to accommodate their varying watering needs. Consultation with a reputable irrigation company or landscape architect is recommended. These professionals will be trained in irrigation design with knowledge of waterefficient products, the watering needs of various plants, local conditions and regulations. Maintenance programmes, conducted by third party professionals or by qualifed inhouse maintenance teams, are essential. Regular monitoring is important as damaged pipelines or faulty sprinklers, for example, can waste vast amounts of water. In residential and commercial applications, a question that often arises is whether pop-up sprinklers for a lawn can be installed and connected to an outside tap. The short answer is no. In order to protect the drinking water supplies from contamination, various systems are used to prevent backflow from a ‘contaminated’ source into the water supply and at present the water supplier authorities classify irrigation systems in three categories. Experience shows that these regulations are not known by homeowners at all and even most business users are not conversant with the requirement. Only water supply professionals are aware of the need for backflow prevention. Category 3 covers micro sprays or emitters installed 150mm above soil level and this requires a double check valve in the line, such as already present in an outside tap.

is much stricter and can generally only be met by the installation of a break tank with a type AB airgap and a pump set. Ensure installation meets regulations Since all pop-up sprinkler systems should use a tank and pump, this adds to the installation cost for lawn irrigation and may well prove too costly for a homeowner to contemplate. This often means that irrigation companies offering the correct installation are undercut by less scrupulous (or less knowledgeable) installers who do not offer the correct backflow prevention systems. Evergreen always advises its customers to ensure the installation meets the required regulations as this protects not only their own household but their neighbours’ too. Another question often encountered is whether a pump can be fitted on a mains water supply to boost the pressure. Again the short answer is no, although there is an exception for systems utilising 12 litre/minute flow rates (or less) that have automatic controls. The reasoning is simple: any pump that boosts the pressure can create a suction on the incoming mains water and this can theoretically cause contaminants to be sucked into the mains in the event of a leak and loss of supply pressure. The safe way to increase home water pressure is to install a purpose built Home-Booster set with its own break tank and automatic pressure pump. This takes water from the break tank with an air gap to prevent backflow and boosts the pressure to the required level to operate pop up sprinklers and other irrigation items, effectively. In the event that the water inflow is limited by low pressure or small pipe sizes, additional storage may be needed to manage a full irrigation, cycle so a larger tank may be required. Visit: and Contact: Jeremy Green, Evergreen Irrigation, Pitstone Green Business Park, Tunnel Way, Pitstone, Beds, LU7 9GJ Tel: 01296 668402,

The Landscaper | Issue 237 | June 2019


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Revolutionary woodchipper comes to market GreenMech introduced its much-anticipated revolutionary new woodchipper series, the EVO 165 at the recent ARB show. Capitalising on the company’s engineering prowess, this new range has been designed in direct response to industry demands to deliver more aggressive torque, more powerful bite and more throughput. The EVO 165 combines a wealth of new features, together with some of GreenMech’s proven innovations, which have seen their chippers become the preferred choice with many industry professionals. Its wide infeed chute, together with twin horizontal rollers and GreenMech’s ‘No-Stress’ control system mean the Evo 165 efficiently grips timber and brash and controls its lateral movement to provide maximum bite and unparalleled processing power via its new, heavy-duty flywheel and re-flowed exit chute. Optimised outputs from a diesel or petrol engine option provide usable power that matches budget with operational needs, alongside maximum fuel efficiency and compliance with Stage V Emission requirements. The EVO is the quietest machine GreenMech have produced to date, beneficial for both operators and neighbours alike. Together with improved performance, the aspects of safety, durability and ease of maintenance have also come under the spotlight. GreenMech have fitted the Evo with a new safety bar system to minimise nuisance tripping while offering a better

inflow of material. The Evo’s durability has been increased with the adoption of a one-piece fabricated chassis that provides greater Green-mech’s EVO 165 strength in even the most demanding of operational conditions. Meanwhile, GreenMech’s patented Disc Blade system continues to provide in excess of 900 chipping hours before replacement. When maintenance is required, the vertical and horizontal shear bars have been re-engineered to be more accessible and a centralised greasing point has been introduced to make regular servicing easier to carry out. Commenting on its introduction, Sales Director Martin Lucas says, “As the requirements of today’s arborists continue to evolve, it’s vital that we as manufacturers are listening to them and providing them with the tools to meet their growing demands. The Evo 165 is designed to do just that, with years of developments and trials going on behind the scenes to create our most efficient chipper to date. This launch marks just the beginning of our EVO development programme and we’re expecting this to make a big impression at this year’s Arb Show and beyond.”

Green-tech supply urban tree planting solutions Leading landscape supplier Green-tech has been assisting Newbrook Gardening Services with the planting of two established trees on a new traffic island in urban Manchester. Argyle NW Construction was the contractor and invited Newbrook Gardening Services to install the trees on their behalf. Newbrook has worked with Green-tech for many years and approached them to supply the ArboRaft tree planting system, ArborRaft soil, tree grills and Resibond to complete the project with a contemporary finish. The ArborRaft Tree Planting system combines nutrientrich ArborRaft soil with strong geocellular units. The individual ArborRaft units lock together and form a raft system that sits within the tree pit and provides load bearing

support and reduces soil compaction. Together they create a healthy growing space for trees that will be subjected to vehicle or pedestrian trafficking in urban areas. The system retains the open structure of the soil which allows the roots to grow naturally and the essential oxygen, nutrients and water can flow freely through the growing media; all of which contribute to the ideal growing environment for trees to establish themselves and flourish. Above the ground, gt Resi-Grilles were installed into the hard landscape. These are cast iron grilles which a recess of 50mm that allows the grille to be filled with gt Resibond to give a porous surface. gt Brittany Bronze gt Resibond filled the grille and this is supporting the load from street traffic and protecting the tree’s rootball.

The Landscaper | Issue 237 | June 2019


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The Landscaper Magazine; June 2019  

The Landscaper Magazine; June 2019