The Head of Grounds at Solihull School in the West Midlands, a co-educational independent school for children aged 7-18, says he has taken the school's sports pitches and estates to another level since using a range of products from ICL
Solihull School's history can be traced all the way back to 1560 when the chantry revenues of the Chapels of St. Mary and St. Katherine, in the Parish Church of St. Alphege, were used to establish the Foundation. In 1882, the school moved to its present site and since then it has become one of the most respected schools in the West Midlands.
The school offers a fantastic array of co-curricular activities part of which is the sports department. The 50 acre site includes a sports hall, fitness balcony, swimming pool, floodlit artificial pitch and a modern sports pavilion; along with five rugby pitches, four cricket pitches, and four junior school football pitches.
Tasked with keeping the school's grounds in pristine condition and to keep the school's fine reputation intact is Head of Grounds Karl Brotherhood. It is no easy feat for Karl and his five members of staff, especially with over 1,000 sports fixtures each year - and that is on top of fulfilling all landscaping duties which include attending to the ornamental lawns and all of the plants and trees on campus.
"Using the correct products is essential here at Solihull School and that is why I choose ICL," says Karl. "I first heard of ICL, or Everris as it was then, in my previous job at Edgbaston Cricket Ground where we used the SierrablenPlus range of fertilizers. They were brilliant and I haven't looked back since."
From his experiences of working with the product at Edgbaston, Karl decided that SierrablenPlus Stress Control 15-5-22+2Mg would be one of the first ICL products introduced into his turf maintenance programme at the school. Karl now uses it on the rugby pitches, the training areas and the junior football pitches and praises it for getting him through the majority of the season. He even plans his annual leave around the first application knowing that the pitches will be in good hands, meaning that he can relax.
From the ICL granular fertilizer range, Karl also applies Greenmaster Pro-Lite Autumn 6-5-10+6Fe to his cricket squares. Karl uses this all year round as to optimise turf health throughout the year.
For his cricket outfields Karl applies a tank-mix consisting of plant growth regulator Primo Maxx and Sportsmaster WSF 35-0-14 water soluble fertilizer. Karl applies this combination every four to five weeks from April through to August.
ICL's Sportsmaster Renovator Pro is used twice a year to keep the school's ornamental lawns in pristine condition. The formula contains selective herbicide for routine and heavy weed control and according to Karl it 'works brilliantly'.
Karl, who has now been using ICL products for over ten years, praised the products for helping him stay on target throughout a demanding work schedule.
"We go straight from cricket into winter sports so you need that growth and sward density. I get that from using the ICL products. They all do exactly what I want them to do.
"At first I didn't think all of the ICL products would fit into my budget but when you break it down, you realise that it actually works out more cost-effective in the long run. The products don't give you peaks and troughs with the growth, you're getting good consistency and excellent presentation and you also get that all important sward density. When you look at all the benefits and how long they last it is actually very cost-effective because you are not having to apply them every six to eight weeks.
"It's not just the products we get great results from - Emma Kilby from the company is an invaluable person to talk to ensuring that we have the best possible nutritional programme in place."
ICL products are available to buy from the Pitchcare Store.