Stoke City FC's Head Groundsman Andy Jackson has observed remarkable results from using a Scotts iTurf programme on the Britannia Stadium pitch.
"You can always spot a pitch that Scotts products have been used on from the depth of colour during the winter months," says Andy, who has been at Stoke City for 14 years, and head groundsman for seven.
"We have a clear programme worked out in conjunction with our Account Manager, Mark Rayner, and that takes us through the whole year."
With fertilisers at the core, I've developed a programme that works well for us using Greenmaster Pro-Lite throughout the year in conjunction with Sierraform GT slow-release granules."
Greenmaster is applied at 12 to 18-day intervals while the Sierraform is applied every six to eight weeks.
In the summer he uses Greenmaster 12-0-12, then from September to the end of November, 7-0-14. From December to February he uses 4-0-8 and from February to April 7-0-14.
Sierraform GT 15-0-26 is used from March to October and 6-0-27 is applied in the winter months.
He also uses Scotts Greenmaster Blade, a carbohydrate and nutrient supplement to stimulate a healthier and more vigorous rootzone.
The programme also combines nutrition with disease prevention. "We plan in advance and have a prevention system in place", he confirms. When disease has struck, Andy has used Heritage, Banner MAXX and Daconil fungicide against leaf spot, with good results.
"We have excellent results - year round colour, good root density and strong, healthy growth," says Andy, who, with a groundstaff of four, maintain the stadium pitch and training ground.
"The great thing about Scotts is that we get good technical back-up from Mark Rayner. The programme approach really pays which is evident by the way the pitch looks and performs."
"Stoke City's requirement from their iTurf programme is for fast establishment with good, quick root growth after renovation", Mark Rayner from Scotts explained.
"They don't want too much soft top growth when the plant is being pushed in the early stages during June and July, so balanced nutrition is needed to produce root and leaf growth, minimising disease. A hardy, resilient sward, maximum ground cover with good winter colour is needed for August as the playing season begins, then we want to minimise divot damage to enable the surface to remain in good condition through to the spring."
To find out how your pitch could benefit from an iTurf programme, visit www.scottsiturf.co.uk