Tailor-made Turf for the Perfect Pitch.
By Sue Meeken
The perfect pitch is now achievable, thanks to a unique new turf-growing initiative from SIS (Support in Sport Ltd). The company has undertaken scientific research to determine ideal turf production conditions, and will encourage clubs to be involved at every stage from seed selection to pre-harvest maintenance, so that their exact requirements can be met.
SIS, who specialise in the design and installation of new sports surfaces, commissioned Cranfield University to identify the best area in the UK for growing turf according to SIS's stadium requirements.
Suffolk emerged as one of a group of locations with excellent soil profiles. This, combined with the unique conditions where the growing season is longer than most parts of the UK, determined it as the ideal location. Consequently SIS have teamed up with Sovereign Turf of Woodbridge in the east of the county, who will grow the 'signature' turf at their 1,000 acres of nursery sites under conditions tailored to the client's exact requirements.
George Mullan, Chief Executive Officer of Support in Sport, believes this is a quantum leap forward. "Our scientific approach ensures that clubs get what they need for the perfect pitch. Because every sports ground is different in terms of climate, soil types, usage and so on, we are offering turf individualised to each client. Imported rootzones will be used and the optimum seed mixture will be discussed with each club or its consultants.
"Clubs can specify the feeding regime for the grass, and the turf will be marked out and maintained by professionally trained grounds staff using exactly the same equipment as used on a stadium pitch. When the sward is harvested and laid in place, it will be instantly at home and tailor-made for its environment," says George Mullan.
David Waring, Managing Director of Sovereign Turf, is enthusiastic about the new initiative. "This is an excellent opportunity for sports clubs to have a pitch of the best possible quality, tailored for their specific circumstances."
"Given our company's increasing presence on the Continent, with a production facility in Portugal, and SIS' experience of pitch installation throughout Europe, the scope of this joint initiative is simply huge," he says.
The SIS/Sovereign initiative offers maximum production flexibility. The nurseries are able to grow conventional turf, Fibresand turf with a reinforced rootzone, and XtraGrass, which combines real grass with resilient polypropylene fibres for maximum durability.