Sports fields in Norwich are enjoying a quality boost thanks to a newly acquired Verti-Drain 7626, the biggest model in the renowned line-up of deep turf aerators.
The maintenance of public turfed areas is the responsibility of Morrison Cleanaway Ltd, trading as CityCare. A private company, it has been the main contractor to Norwich City Council since 2000.
According to Gary Mutten, CityCare's Grounds Maintenance Contracts Manager, the organisation needed a high work-rate aerating solution for use throughout Norwich as an integral part of its ongoing sports pitch renovation programme. CityCare are also called in by parish councils to maintain village playing fields, so a robust unit was required to cope with the heavy workload.
CityCare obtained their 2.6m-wide (8ft 3in) Verti-Drain 7626 from local dealer, Ben Burgess Ltd. It has a heavy-duty gearbox and the machine's weight of 2 tonnes helps it to penetrate seriously compacted ground. A large rear roller ensures performance in tough conditions.
The machine has 25mm (1in) diameter, 400mm (16in) long solid tines as standard, and can accept the full range of solid and hollow tines. Despite its weight, it is designed so that pressure on the turf is minimised.
"We already had a suitably sized tractor to take the 7626, which allows us to cover large areas quickly," says Gary Mutten. "The local facilities are heavily used, with junior and adult league games being held several times a week during the main season.
"We use the 7626 to de-compact the soil and aerate it, and to encourage moisture to percolate through to the main drains. This is our third Verti-Drain and we were familiar with the impressive results it can achieve."
The 7626 operates with the same action as other Verti-Drains, which are distributed in the UK by Charterhouse Turf Machinery. It achieves a 'heave' effect that lets more air into the rootzone and improves drainage. This also encourages nutrient take-up.
The 7626 features several design enhancements, such as fewer grease points for speedier maintenance. Improved machine guards are amongst Health & Safety plus-points.
"Downtime is reduced and productivity has increased," says Gary Mutten. "The 7626 is performing excellently, just as we knew it would."