Joe Pemberton, Head Groundsman at Manchester United's Carrington training ground, says he's observed noticeably improved results from their end of season renovations after using innovative, high work-rate machinery supplied by Campey Turf Care Systems.
Work began on the first team pitches at the complex on 10th May and from that point, Joe and his six staff had an eight week window to get them ready for the squad reporting back for training during the first week in July.
The initial task of stripping off the existing vegetation was expedited after Joe opted to upgrade the 2m Koro by Imants TopMaker he'd used for the past six years to a 2.5m machine with improved specification, offering time and efficiency savings. More blades and a wider belt enable it to have a greater forward speed, producing a faster, cleaner finish.
The pitches were heavily scarified with a 1.9m Omarv TER flail mower and collector beforehand to remove as much weedgrass and debris as possible before Joe and his staff completed two passes on each pitch with the Koro removing the top 10mm. Sheffield-based contractor Premier Pitches was then drafted in to apply 40 tonnes of sand with a Dakota 414 topdresser before running the Koro by Imants Recycling Dresser 1900 across the area, relieving layering and compaction, aerating vertically and horizontally and bringing an additional 40 tonnes of rootzone to the surface, where it was ameliorated with the sand and respread as a dressing. To complete the renovation, they sowed a high quality ryegrass seed mixture, carrying out six passes with the Vredo disc seeder then additional passes with a Raycam Aeraseeder.
"Once the grass was fully established six weeks after sowing, we went over the pitches with the verticore using solid tines to relieve surface compaction and oxygenate the top layer. The results have been outstanding" Joe confirmed. "The pitches are level, decompacted and aerated throughout the profile and the new sward established well. Five weeks after the work began, the pitches are playable. It's definitely the best results we've had from our renovations."
"In previous years, we've only used vertical aeration as part of the renovation programme. This was the first time I've ever used the Recycling Dresser. It suited our construction and I was incredibly impressed. To be able to aerate the full profile and ameliorate the rootzone with the sand in one pass without disturbing surface levels is extremely beneficial."
"It's becoming increasingly important for us to own rather than hire specialist machinery as we need to have the flexibility to work on our pitches when training schedules and weather conditions allow. The renovation programme was carried out in stages and one pitch had to be kept available throughout the renovation period in case any of the coaching staff or players wanted to use it, so we needed to complete each stage quickly and efficiently. We began work on the academy and reserve team pitches on the 12th April, then the first team pitches were completed once the Premiership season had concluded. The youth section was last to be renovated at the end of May."
"In the past year we've acquired three New Holland tractors and the Koro which enabled us to carry out a proportion of the renovations ourselves. Having seen the results, we'll be looking to invest in several other pieces of specialist machinery over the coming months. Being a local company, Campeys provide us with on-demand technical assistance and rapid access to parts and service with all our machinery, which is invaluable."