0 Let's keep it as natural grass!

Manchester City take Barenbrug seed to new stadium

By Lucy Ohsten

After achieving major success with Barenbrug's BAR Stadia grass seed at its Maine Road ground, Manchester City Football Club has used the same mixture for its new pitch in the £110 million City of Manchester Stadium. BarenManCity1.jpg

The club has combined BAR Stadia with a Desso system to create a stable, divot-free surface that will stay looking good and be tough enough to last the whole season.

Manchester City's deputy head Groundsman Lee Jackson explains how BAR Stadia suits their needs: "This mixture is ideal for football because it's been specially developed for areas with both shade and wear. It also flourishes here where we have high stands and limited air movement around the ground. We find it hard-wearing as well, so it recovers quickly and keeps its quality.

"BAR Stadia really proved itself at Maine Road. We started using it about four years ago and saw tremendous results. In fact the pitch looked so good that in 2002/2003 head Groundsman Roy Rigby, assisted by myself and the rest of the grounds staff, won both the Barclaycard best pitch award and the IOG Professional Groundsman of the Year award. This was in no small way attributable to the Barenbrug seed, so we had no hesitation in bringing it to the new ground."

Although BAR Stadia is flourishing at the new venue, Lee is looking for an even greater improvement. Barenbrug is working closely with the club to set up trials next year which will see the 15 per cent Concerto perennial ryegrass contained in the mix replaced with Bargold.

"We are hoping to create a speciality mix for the club which will give even denser, longer-lasting turf. It's very important that Barenbrug has the skills to help us achieve this. It shows how committed the company is to developing good quality natural surfaces."

Like many Groundsmen, Lee is opposed to synthetic surfaces. "All the players I have spoken to prefer grass. It's what they're used to. The game isn't the same on a synthetic surface.

"Our aim is to continually improve the turf to achieve the best possible playing surface, by using high-quality seed like BAR Stadia and experimenting with new technology. For example, we are currently trying out a travelling light system on the pitch to help promote grass growth. The unit, which we've set up over the goal mouth, is fitted with 64 sodium bulbs which are on 20 hours a day. Early results are very encouraging."

BAR Stadia has been formulated for use where wear and shade are combined. The mixture contains 40 percent Barcampsia tufted hair grass; 25 per cent Barlinda perennial ryegrass; 15 per cent Concerto perennial ryegrass and 15 per cent Barcrown slender creeping red fescue.

For more information please contact Barenbrug UK on 01359 272000 or email: info@baruk.co.uk

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