On the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal, from a derelict industrial past a new stadium and pitches has been formed for the Salford Reds. White Horse Contractors (Northern) working as specialist pitch contractors to the Buckingham Group have constructed the main stadium pitch, a full size floodlight 3G pitch and a further grass pitch.
At the end of May 2011, as the steel skeleton was erected for the stadium, construction works commenced on the 9500m² stadium pitch. The pitch for the Salford Reds rugby League team was specified by the STRI to meet Super League requirements and to provide a surface that would not only stand the rigorous of rugby league but potentially other users as well. In discussion with the developer and the STRI the final surface chosen was a fibre reinforced root zone with enhanced final fibre content. This would meet the demands for a cost effective robust pitch.
The installation of an intensive drainage scheme followed initial grading works to form the slightly crowned pitch.
The layered construction continued with a gravel carpet over the drains and a base root zone of sand. An upper rootzone layer of an 80:20m sand soil mix was placed prior to the addition of Loksand . Gravel and sand layers were placed on the pitch and graded to final levels using one of our laser grading low ground pressure bulldozers.
Once the bulldozer had completed the placing and grading of the two layer root zone materials the Loksand fibre concentrate was placed by drop spreader. Crucial to this exercise was ensuring a thorough mix of the concentrate materials in to the upper rootzone.
Careful use of irrigation water whilst mechanically mixing with power harrows ensured an even distribution of the Loksand into the upper layer of the pitch construction. As with all fibre construction care must be taken not to overwork the final surface to avoid uneven distribution of reinforcing materials.
Seeding of the stadium pitch was completed by the start of August and the focus then switched to growing in a pitch fit to play rugby on by December. With input from the STRI and able assistance of the experienced groundsman Danny Huffman, an intensive program of fertiliser application coupled with foliar feeding was put in place.
Following an initial application of seaweed meal to boost organic content, this required a schedule for monthly applications of a mix of slow release fertilisers, more immediately available fertiliser compounds, seaweed and high carbohydrate foliar feeds.
The program allowed for a total application of 300Kg /Ha of Nitrogen, 28kg/Ha of phosphorus, and 378kg/Ha of potassium. With growth being pushed hard in to the autumn and the good Manchester weather conditions a Leaf Spot scare was seen off with a timely application of Medallion fungicide.
Posts went up late November and the pitch handed over early December ready for the Reds move to their gleaming new facilities.
White Horse Contractors (Northern) Ltd
Four Acres, Skipton Old Airfield, Sandhutton, Thirsk YO7 4EG
T: 01845 587800 F: 01845 587900