When Leeds Rugby's groundstaff hosted a sports turf machinery demonstration day at the club's Kirkstall Training Ground last October, they were fully prepared to carry out some post-event repair work to the training pitches.
But with the onset of winter, the bare area left by a Koro TopMaker proved to be more problematic than first envisaged.
After six attempts to re-establish grass coverage in the area failed, groundsman Ryan Golding sought advice from Everris' Technical Area Sales Manager, Simon Hardcastle.
"I visited Kirkstall at the end of May and Ryan showed me an area at the edge of one of the training pitches," said Simon. "He explained how they'd tried to re-establish grass coverage by overseeding with different mixtures, with little success."
Simon recommended they try Quick Seed Pro, a product first seen at Harrogate Week in January. Made from 90% renewable materials, Quick Seed Pro combines three medium-green varieties of perennial ryegrass seed with Coir, a fibrous material extracted from the husk of coconuts. Coir absorbs water and expands to surround the seed in a dark, moist layer that aids germination and protects the seedlings as they begin to establish.
"On 26th May, we raked the ground to remove any dead grass and loosen the hard soil," explains Ryan. Where the ground was completely bare, we applied the product until the soil underneath was barely visible. On areas where grass coverage was thin, we applied around 50% coverage, then we watered it in with a watering can - it's as easy as that. Once you add water, the Quick Seed Pro turns dark brown and you can see how it swells around the seeds. You know when to water it again because it turns light brown, indicating that it's drying out."
"We observed initial germination on 30th May and the grass plant reaching first leaf stage on 2nd June. By 6th June we had partial covering and by 13th the area was completely covered. It married in well with the existing sward and a visitor to the site wouldn't have been able to identify the area at all by mid-June."
Divot repair made easy
Divot repair must be carried out quickly and frequently in order to maintain a high-quality playing surface. Quick Seed Pro could prove to be a valuable tool for use in areas where turf is subjected to intensive wear and tear, as it has been developed to thrive in almost every condition.
On winter games pitches, repairing divots, scars, worn goalmouths and linesmen's runs becomes increasingly difficult as the season progresses. Ground and air temperatures decrease while match schedules intensify making it harder to regenerate grass coverage, even with a pre-germinated divot mix.
On golf courses, damage to playing surfaces must be repaired with a high quality seed mixture. Time is of the essence to ensure that playability is maintained and to prevent the encroachment of Poa annua. In these areas, Quick Seed Pro can deliver better results than a standard seed mixture in less time. It can also be useful on other areas of the course under stress from heavy wear, such as pathways, and on areas of maintained turf where establishing regular seed mixtures has proved problematic, such as exposed spots and in enclosed or heavily shaded areas.
Chris Kennedy, Golf Courses Manager at The Wentworth Club, saw Quick Seed Pro for the first time at the recent Turf Science Live event hosted by Everris and Syngenta at The Belfry.
He is interested in how the product performs on the golf course.
"Any product that accelerates divot recovery on short hole tees and landing areas would be a useful aid for golf course managers," he said.