Now Lets Have A Holiday!
I completed my pitch renovations last week. As many of you will know I had the whole pitch re-laid in February, so really it was just a matter of improving what I have already. I have hollow cored the pitch at 50mm centres and top dressed with 50 tons of a " Rufford " sand and soil mix that we have used for a number of years.
Mick Hunt is the man at Rufford who has made up all my sands and root zones from when the whole pitch was replaced in 1998 so he knows the specification of just what I need.
With the Strath-ayr system being so good at draining I needed a top dressing that drains but holds enough moisture and nutrient to grow grass. My biggest problem is getting the rain through the top 40mm of turf into the drainage system.
I aerate as often as I can but the new top dressing will aid my surface drainage.
To this end I have also used a system called " Drill n Fill" or " Ecosol". This is so simple it is untrue. It involves a machine with 24 drill bits that each drill holes into the pitch; the machine then releases a required amount of sand or top dress into the hole thus connecting the surface with your drains.
For the past couple of years I have been using a product called " Profile". This is a soil amendment that is porous and ceramic. It is widely used in the states, particularly in the golf world. I was introduced to this product by Brian Robinson from " Grass Science".
The "Ecosol" drill can be used as deep as 12 inches and filled accordingly. I only had to break through my 40mm turf so I had it set at a depth of 65mm. This will enable the roots to have something to grow into in the root zone.
With the drill spacing set at 150mm (6 inches) it is enough to remove any surface water in the worst that the weather can throw at us. I used the machine through the diamond (the main wear areas of the pitch).
D & W Contractor carried out the work; Richard Sharock was the man operating the machine on the job. Richard was here at Old Trafford for about a day and a half. The weather was bad which did not really help matters. A total of 8mm of rain fell Saturday afternoon. We finished the job on Sunday evening. I was delighted with the result, so much so that I looked forward to the next heavy downpours.
On Monday I carried on working all day and by 8-30pm the renovations were complete.
As I drove the tractor off the pitch it began to rain. The drive home was in a nice steady rain, but I had a smile on my face. Its funny the things that cheer up a Groundsman?
Now I am ready for my holidays…
I have received an invite from 'Green tech' to travel to America to have a look at a new pitch installation going into the Michigan State University. The invite came from Simon Jacob, the ex-Head Groundsman of West Ham United who now works for the company. We fly out on the 4th and fly back on the 6th. So as you can see by the dates I will not be seeing a great deal of anything else while out there.
There are a few lucky souls travelling from England including some of my fellow Groundsmen and agronomists. I love these trips because you're never sure who else is going. That is part of the magic of a trip like this, almost into the unknown but surrounded by people just as keen as you to learn.
A trip at this time of the year is nice, to be able to go away from the day to day routine and hopefully relax in a bit of sunshine. The new season will be here all the faster with the world cup being played, so a break is just what the doctor ordered.
I will write a report on what I find when I get back. Until then promise me you will all take a break!