Review by Laurence Gale MSc.
Sports Turf and Amenity Grassland Management is a brand new book published for the Turfgrass industry. The book focuses on the management of turf and amenity grass land. What makes this book particularly interesting is that it is a UK publication written by Stewart Brown a Senior Lecturer from the Department of Landscape Management at Writtle College in Essex.
Stewart has well over twenty five years experience within the industry. He started his working life as an apprentice Groundsman and then spent a few years working in both public and private sector organisations, managing sports turf and amenity landscape facilities. Stewart's contribution to the industry is commendable, being a Pitchcare member, a fellow of the Institute of Groundsmanship, a member of the Institute of Leisure and Amenity Management (ILAM) and a registered Practitioner for the Higher Education Academy. Stewart is currently the Senior Lecturer at Writtle College, where he teaches a range of agronomic sports turf and amenity landscape subjects to undergraduates.
The book is divided into eight chapters.
Chapter one: Grasses and their Uses (14 pages) Comprehensively covers grasses and their uses, explaining about the grass family, cool and warm season grasses, basic plant biology terms and grass identification and species checklist.
Chapter two: Mowing (28 pages) Covers mowing, one of the most important and time consuming and costly tasks within our industry, mowing can account for more than 75% of labour costs in the cutting season. The chapter covers the history of mowing, the effects of mowing, mowing heights, choice and performance of mowers and finally mower maintenance.
Chapter three: Irrigation (18 pages) Gives an in depth insight into irrigation, detailing the importance of water in relation to growing grass and pitch playability. The chapter details information about water requirements of the grass plant, water measurement, water resources, water management and delivery.
Chapter four: Nutrition and Fertilizer Application (40 Pages) Provides information about plant nutrition and fertilizer applications. Soil chemistry, soil pH, macro and micro nutrients are also explained in detail along with some recommendations of fertilizer applications for specific sports facilities. This is concluded with information about the different modes of application and conversion tables to help calibrate fertilizer requirements.
Chapter five: Aeration, Thatch Control and Topdressing (24 pages) Describes several aspects of turf maintenance with the main focus on aeration, thatch control and top dressing techniques used in the maintenance of natural turf.
Chapter six: Diseases, Pests and Weeds (20 pages) Discusses the influence disease, pest and weeds have on natural turf facilities. The chapter explains and identifies a range of pests and diseases, clearly defined methods and ways of controlling these problems are presented.
Chapter seven: Turf Establishment and Renovation (32 pages) Provides concise information on practices and techniques of turf establishment, explaining the benefits of good seed bed preparation, importance of choosing the right grass species for the site and detailing after care maintenance operations.
Chapter Eight: Species-rich Swards (11 pages) Discusses the management and importance of managing and maintaining diverse grassland swards. In particular flower studded meadows which have been in decline since 1947. In recent years many seed companies are now selling and promoting a range of wild flower seed mixes. Having a understanding of the benefits of implementing the planting of such swards will go a long way towards enriching our landscape.
Metric / Imperial Conversion factors:
The book is in a paperback form with 190 pages of information, illustrations and photographs. The book is well laid out and contains a wealth of detailed practical information that will be invaluable to Groundsmen, Greenkeepers, Turf Professionals and Students.
This book provides a contemporary, comprehensive insight into the maintenance and management of sports turf and amenity grass land. The information is presented well, simple to understand and is beneficial to Groundsmen at all levels. The book features useful tables, illustrations, and pictures highlighting the most up to date information and current practices being implemented in our industry.
I am sure that it will be a useful reference resource for all Groundsmen / Greenkeepers and Students coming into our industry. With the book priced at £16.95 (RRP 19.95) it offers excellent value for money and should become a valuable resource for all practicing turf grass professionals.