Chelsea's training pitches join Premier League
Largest UK washed turf contract
Sixty two thousand sq. metres of Lindum's washed turf now cover six new fibre reinforced pitches in what is probably the largest washed turf contract in the U.K.
"We didn't own our old training grounds," explains head groundsman Jason Griffin, who has been with the club for 17 years, "and at the beginning of last year we decided to buy 60 to 70 acres from Imperial College in Cobham, Surrey. We stripped 6 pitches to the subsoil and built them up again with a shingle base, sand, lower root zone and an upper root zone which was fibre reinforced."
"We wanted the wear resistance of a fibre reinforced surface" says John Hacker from Professional Sportsturf Design, the consultant agronomist engaged on the project. "The object was to create state-of-the-art practise grounds with similar characteristics to those of the stadium."
Originally the new pitches were to be seeded but as time was short and the first team wanted to use them as soon as possible, turf was the only answer.
"We chose to use washed turf because it roots quickly and during the growing season gives us a playable surface in 4 to 6 weeks," continues Hacker. "As the turf has been washed clean of soil the new root zone remains pure."
The turf was harvested in 25 sq. metre rolls over 3 weeks in September, and made the journey to Surrey in a continuous shuttle involving 40 lorries. Talbot Landscapes, sub contracted to White Horse Contractors, provided the laying teams on site, and by the end of October all six new pitches were playable.
Having waited this long for top quality training facilities Jason Griffin was taking no chances, and Chelsea did not utilise the new pitches until December.
"Our six new pitches are for the first team only," he explains. "We use them in rotation which saves the quality of the surface. The players are very happy. Our training grounds have gone from bog standard to Premier League."
For further information on Lindum's Washed Turf, contact the company on Tel: 01904 448675, or visit their website at: www.turf.co.uk