With over 13 seasons of experience using Johnsons Sports Seeds J Premier Pitch mixture, Head Groundsman at Cardiff City FC Liam James confidently conducted his renovation during the lockdown period, without doubt that the pitch would be match-fit when play resumed.
In use at the Cardiff City Stadium, together with two of their other sites, the rapid establishment of J Premier Pitch has delivered a pitch that meets the Bluebirds requirements for both play quality and aesthetic appeal.
Under Liam's remit is the Desso pitch at the main club stadium, another full size Desso and fibre-sand surface at the Cardiff International Sports Campus - home to U18's, U23's and Cardiff City FC Women - along with two further Desso GrassMaster systems at one of the club's training grounds. Helping Liam with the maintenance is a team of six groundsmen, and Hewitt Sportsturf, who conduct the end of season renovations. "Our programme is thoroughly tried and tested, with Johnsons already firmly in place when I joined the club. All of these years later and we wouldn't use anything other than J Premier Pitch across our sites, for both our renovations and routine overseeding."
"With this mixture, we achieve a surface that retains good colour, consistency and deep roots - giving us the all-important wear tolerance. When the season re-started following the lockdown, fixtures were taking place thick and fast, putting the newly established pitch through its paces. Following our well-timed renovation, it delivered fantastic sward density and coverage."
Like a lot of stadia, Liam struggles with shade, with some areas receiving no natural sunlight even in the peak of summer. "J Premier Pitch tolerates that really well, along with giving us great resistance to disease which means our single fungicide application is more for preventative purposes than anything else." For a bit of additional winter strength, Liam's regional DLF Technical Manager Ian Barnett suggested incorporating Johnsons J 4Turf into their cold season overseeding programme. Containing DLF's 4Turf tetraploid perennial ryegrass, J 4Turf delivers rapid establishment under soil temperatures as low as 3oc for enhanced disease resistance and strength through the cooler conditions.
Liam concludes, "Getting us through the challenges we face with weather, disease and now big increases in wear, we're fortunate that we have proven programme that we know we can rely on."