Pink Spider seen on Mountain slopes in switzerland

Pohled Czech Republic (28 April 2017) It was enough to have arachnologists around the globe in a state of high tension when a giant pink Spider was seen on the mountain pastures in the canton of Obwalden in Switzerland.

However, it was not some previously undiscovered species, but a Spider 2 remote-controlled mower that was being used by a local contractor to maintain the grassed slopes on local farms in the Swiss alps.

His partner’s favourite colour is pink and, where possible, all his farm contracting equipment is painted pink, the plastic coverings for his silage bales are pink, the bells around the cows’ necks are pink and he wears pink shorts during the summer months.

Lubor Hladik, international sales manager at Dvorak, the manufacturers of Spider machines explained,

“We took an enquiry from our Swiss distributor for a Spider 2, but unusually they wanted it painted bright pink; we later discovered that it was the customer’s partner who is obsessed with the colour and it needed to match other equipment on the farm. As the customer is always right, we found the correct colour pigment and fulfilled their request. We’ve produced Spiders in black livery previously, for the Daytona Speedway track in the USA, but never in pink. That was a first!”

About Dvorak

The Dvorak – svahove sekacky Ltd. was founded on July 1, 2004 by Lubomír Dvořák. The patent protected radio controlled Spider slope mower is the principal product of the company. The revolutionary design of the Spider product range created a new sector into the groundscare market when introduced in 2004. During the past 13 years the product portfolio has expanded and a sales network now covers over 40 countries around the world.

Spider mowers can be used in multiple applications on golf courses; local authority open spaces; national, regional and local parks; water and river management; roads, rail and highways; waste management sites, airports and military installations; power generation utilities; vineyards and orchards; national heritage sites; skiing and sport resorts; motor sport arenas and solar farms.

High performance seed for Principality Stadium

As the National stadium of Wales the Principality stadium has to play host not only the country’s rugby team, but also its football, while in the “non grass” season it plays host to a range of different events from rock and pop concerts to speedway and monster trucks. The grounds team led by Head Groundsman Lee Evans now face the additional challenge of hosting one of the most prestigious events in football – The Champions League Final! 

Such high demands call for an equally high performance turf surface which is why Lee uses Johnsons Premier pitch and Johnsons 4 turf for his overseeding program. Johnsons is the first choice for many of the country’s leading sports stadia.

The New Solution For Sports Turf Surface Drainage

Rigby Taylor Ltd and Ground Water Dynamics (GWD) offer sports turf surfaces a revolutionary new vertical drainage system.
Already, GWD has secured some blue-chip clients including:

  • Ascot Racecourse
  • Silverstone Race Circuit
  • Fulham Football Club
  • Edgbaston Cricket Ground
  • East Midlands Airport

GWD is suitable for all soil types and provides the opportunity to manage surface water run-off, nuisance groundwater and localised flooding. Most importantly, rainfall can be dealt with at “source” with no requirement to link up with storm-drains or sewers – a feature which is becoming more prominent as planning authorities struggle with outdated public assets.

* Requires no external energy source,
* Creates very little disruption during installation
* Is environmentally sustainable.

Why GWD?
Firstly, this system is totally different from anything else currently being offered to the industry.

The system is installed by drilling bore-holes up to 12 metres deep with minimal disruption and does not require trenches or major earth works. “An Energy-Passive Ground-Water Recharge Pump (EGRP) system enables rain water to be
captured ‘at source’ instead of simply moving the problem to another area explains Joe O’Meara, Director of Groundworks Dynamics, “ or worse still to a sewerage plant where clean water is processed as effluent at significant cost,” Each bore-hole is no more than 90mm in diameter and, after the insertion of the EGRP device, the bore-hole is top dressed with a root zone mix.

Most of the installations to date have involved installing in areas on a retrofit basis, where other drainage solutions have failed. However, GWD is now getting involved in the project design
stage as, following a test drilling day where we measure infiltration rates, we areable to produce calculations showing how much rain water can be dealt with, and how to design an EGRP system which is bespoke to the clients drainage requirements.

Certain soil types, comprised of horizontal layers of clay & silt, can offer limited drainage capacity resulting in heavily saturated playing surfaces and localised ponding. Groundwater Dynamics’ EGRP system addresses this problem by inserting thesystem vertically into the ground and, once activated, the unique five-chamber design with its mild vacuum connects these horizontal layers of soil and attracts groundwater laterally towards the device before taking it down to lower unsaturated
strata and away from problem areas .

While the system costs approximately 15-20 per cent more than conventional drainage, it requires no maintenance and the system has a life span of over 25 years.

Another advantage is that clients can choose to spread the cost of installation over a number of years – where GWD returns each year to continue installing until the works are complete and the problem solved.

Gary Barwell. Head Groundsman at Edgbaston CC, has experienced first hand the benefits that can be had from installing a Groundwater Dynamics system, he commented:
“The system was installed during May 2013, within the timescales agreed in preparation for the ICC Champions Trophy. The playing surface was not damaged in anyway; this was prerequisite of the install and is a major positive for sports
surface drainage, as other systems would have meant huge disruption.

In terms of performance, any doubts I had about the system were immediately dispelled. We had two heavy rain spells in May where 12mm fell in the day and in June a further 14mm fell in half an hour. On both occasions the area flooded but normally it would have rendered the ground unplayable the following day. However with the GWD installation, the standing water and flooding was gone within hours and left the ground completely dry. This was an excellent results as it enabled the
teams scheduled to practice to use the facility the next day.”

Barenbrug Launches Wildflower Advice Guide

Grass expert, Barenbrug UK, has launched a new wildflowers advice guide alongside a refreshed range of 14 wildflower mixtures.

The free guide provides practical information—for landscapers and local authorities—on evaluating soil fertility, planning for sowing, maintenance tips, and choosing the right mixture for your environment.

Around 15,000 hectares of unimproved grassland are believed to remain nationwide. This figure is now on the increase as more and more public open spaces, gardens and road verges are being established, to provide a habitat for wildlife and protect the unique botanical identity of the UK.

Each Barenbrug mixture caters for the highly precise needs of specific environments, for instance: Hedgerow and Woodland Edge, Short Flowers and Coastal. Bees and Butterflies, for example, contains only flower varieties listed on the RHS Perfect for Pollinators list.


Commenting on wildflowers trends, Barenbrug Wildflower expert, Luke Hunt says:

“Working with key merchants in the industry, we’ve noted two strong trends. Sustainability… to improve the natural habitat of wildlife. And quick to establish, high impact colour. Think: vibrant swathes of colour at the London Olympics. These non-native annuals—such as California Poppy and Cosmos—are incredibly easy to grow, provide a quick hit of colour and are cheaper than bedding plants. That’s why local authorities are increasingly relying on wildflowers to brighten up public open spaces and embankments. We’re also seeing increased interest from agriculture and golf courses.”

To order a free copy of the guide, or to speak to a wildflowers expert, call Barenbrug on 01359 272000, email or visit

Grounds Team of the Season award winners announced for 2016/17

The EFL has announced the winners of the Grounds Team of the Season award for 2016/17 in each of the three divisions.

The awards recognise the importance of the quality of pitches for professional football and acknowledge the clubs and their ground staff who consistently produce the best playing surfaces in the EFL.

In the Sky Bet Championship, Aston Villa win the award for producing a perfect pitch at Villa Park this season. Derby County and Newcastle United are both highly commended.

In Sky Bet League One, Sheffield United’s ground staff followed the example of the club’s playing squad, by picking up the divisional title for the excellent surface at Bramall Lane. Bolton Wanderers and Charlton Athletic are highly commended.

The award for Grounds Team of the Season in Sky Bet League Two this year goes to Carlisle United, while the ground staff of promoted trio Doncaster Rovers, Plymouth Argyle and Portsmouth are all highly commended.

Sky Bet Championship

Winner: Aston Villa
Highly Commended: Derby County
Highly Commended: Newcastle United

Sky Bet League One

Winner: Sheffield United
Highly Commended: Bolton Wanderers
Highly Commended: Charlton Athletic

Sky Bet League Two

Winner: Carlisle United
Highly Commended: Doncaster Rovers
Highly Commended: Plymouth Argyle
Highly Commended: Portsmouth

The EFL’s Grounds Team of the Season Awards are determined initially using marks from referees and away managers for each Sky Bet EFL game and are then followed by detailed pitch inspections and a review of management operations.

These visits were carried out by Dr Stephen Baker, Head of Sports Surface Technology at the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI).

To read the original article, click here

The 2017 Updating Tour!

Over the last two months, the Amenity Forum has been on tour across the UK holding some 13 free events aiming to update those involved in the amenity sector of current issues and matters related to weed, pest and disease control. Some 450 people attended in total and the topics discussed were wide ranging. However each demonstrated the important and essential nature of weed, pest and disease control impacting upon every UK citizen in terms of creating safe, healthy and fit for purpose amenity areas. The launch of the website was widely well received, emphasising as it does the important role of amenity in society. Just one example recently was to those who watched the FA Cup semi-finals played on an excellent pitch. We take this quality too often for granted but it would not happen without the dedication and actions of those who maintain such surfaces.

We are in the grip of both local and national elections – a good time to emphasise to those seeking office, how important amenity is to us all and that maintenance of our streets, pavements, railways and more is so vitally important. We should also not miss the opportunity to emphasise that decisions need to be based upon science and evidence, not just opinion. We still see headlines about methods of weed control which do not have such evidence checking.

Approved professionals engaged in the amenity sector, certainly those who are members of the Amenity Forum, always put health and safety at the top of their list in terms of choosing the appropriate methods of weed, pest and disease management.

John Moverley, chairman of the Amenity Forum, commenting upon the recent round of events, said ‘’It was certainly quite hectic to visit so many locations in such a short time but equally it was inspiring. It was great to see so many elements of our vital sector represented and to talk to those directly engaged in the activities. Whether in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales or the regions of England, this stood out loud and proud. We do need to communicate this even more widely to all. What is undertaken is vital and important and impacts upon everyone’

The Forum will continue to engage in discussions and events throughout the summer and on October 12th, will hold its annual conference and exhibition at the Pirelli Stadium at Burton on Trent, now regarded as a must attend event for anyone involved in or with an interest in weed, pest and disease control and amenity. Full details are available on the Forum website or by emailing,

Firefighters Tackle Fire At SIS Factory

Emergency services were called out at 1.30pm yesterday.

A police spokesman said: “Emergency services are continuing to tackle a fire at Glasson Industrial Estate in Maryport.

“Members of the public are advised to keep their windows closed due to the level of smoke.”

A statement released by SIS Pitches said: “No individuals were injured in the blaze and there are ongoing police investigations into the cause of the fire.

“The nearby factory, which produces the synthetic pitches, has been unaffected and will continue production as normal.”

Bryn Lee, managing director of SIS Pitches, said: “Our highest priority is the safety and well being of our staff and those within the vicinity of the fire and we are thankful that nobody has been injured.

“We pride ourselves on our excellent safety procedures and will be carrying out a full investigation into the cause of the fire.

“The incident was contained within one facility and all other SIS Pitches facilities are in full operation.”

Police evacuated nearby offices as crews from eight fire engines and an aerial ladder platform tackled the blaze.

One driver said: “It took me an hour and 45 minutes to pick my son up from Netherhall School! Our back roads can’t cope with the amounts of traffic being pushed around them.”

At 5.10pm, spokesman for Cumbria Fire and Rescue said: “Firefighters are continuing to tackle the blaze. This incident is expected to continue for some time.”

A passer-by at the scene said: “It looks as though rolls of artificial turf have gone up in flames and it spread really quickly. The wind has fanned the flames.

“Lots of units nearby are in danger. The heat is unbelievable.

“Fire trucks are having trouble getting to the fire and are looking for a way to get water there.”

Fire engines were going to the harbour to fill up with water to fight the flames.

Workers from Fearons Builders, which is based next to SIS, were called to the scene by fire chiefs to move fuel stored at its premises.

Jacqui Towers, of Grasslot Street, said she has had her windows and doors shut all afternoon.

She said: “The fire was just a couple of hundred of yards from where I live. The smoke was unbelievable. It is a terrible thing.”

Smoke from the blaze could be seen in Workington, Cockermouth and Great Broughton and reports are coming in that it could be seen from Whitehaven, the Greenbank estate and St Bees.

Schoolchildren at the nearby Grasslot Infant School were sent home at 2.20pm.

Headteacher Karen Loudon said: “Although there was no threat to the school, children were getting upset and with roads closing we thought it was wise to close the school.”

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service said: “Eight fire engines and an aerial ladder platform have been called to the scene which is a building fire.

“The building, used for manufacturing synthetic turf, measures 40m x 50m and is heavily involved in fire. Firefighters are tackling the blaze using main jets.”

Jim McBride, of Wigton, described seeing flames “100ft to 150ft in the air”.

“I’m sat on Mote Hill and the flames are level with me,” he said.

“There’s a thick black pall of smoke and it looks like several units are alight.”

To read the original article, click here

Dennis & SISIS kick start 2017 bowls seminars

Dennis and SISIS have successfully kick-started their 2017 series of bowls maintenance seminars, after the first two were recently held at Attenborough Bowls Club in Nottingham and the Ye Olde Knowle Bowls Club in Birmingham.

The popular seminars, which are designed to educate greenkeepers on how to maintain and look after bowling greens, have been credited for improving the greens at numerous bowls clubs throughout the country. Combining insightful seminars and practical tips, a number of industry experts take to the stage to discuss a wide range of key topics.

As a key event for those who are tasked with maintaining bowling greens, over 150 delegates made their way to the two seminars.

Following a warm welcome from Jason Briggs, area sales manager for Dennis and SISIS, seminar delegates heard from Alan Lewis, a leading sports turf consultant, who offered guidance on the maintenance of a bowling green. In his presentation Alan discussed best practice including tips on brushing, scarifying, spraying, verticutting, aerating, watering and also revealed how certain renovations can significantly improve green speed.

Alex McDermott from Vitax Amenity and Paul Moreton from Germinal offered valuable insights into how to select the correct seed and fertiliser for a green. Phil Brown, president of the British Crown Green Bowling Association (BCGBA) then provided an update on the recent developments in the world of crown green bowls.

Delegates then stepped on to the green to hear from Andy Walker, field support manager for Dennis and SISIS, on how to get the best performance from a mower, before a complimentary lunch was served.

Lunchtime proved, as always, to be a great networking opportunity as delegates got the chance to meet and greet one another as well as talk to seminar sponsors Germinal, Midlands Grounds Machinery, Platts Harris and Vitax Amenity.

After lunch delegates then made their way into the spring sunshine where an on-green demonstration commenced. The demonstration not only provided a perfect opportunity to see some of the sport’s best maintenance equipment in action but experts from Dennis and SISIS, Midlands Grounds Machinery and Alan Lewis offered some fantastic tips on how to prepare and maintain bowling greens.

The seminars concluded with the hugely popular Turf Clinic Q&A session, which allowed the delegates to ask advice about their own projects or any issues that they may have had.
Keith Freakley, from Wycliffe Bowls Club in Leicestershire, was one of the many attendees who reported a successful seminar: “If you are a greenkeeper then you can’t wish for a better day out in coming to one of these Dennis and SISIS seminars. You learn a lot about renovation, maintenance, different types of machinery, greenkeeping, fertilisers and everything else which you really want to know to help you on a green.”

Peter Cross from Buckingham Bowls Club agreed: “I came along today to see if there was any information I could pick up and it’s been very informative. I would recommend this kind of event to any greenkeeper and even to bowlers. Every little helps and I don’t care how many times you come to one of these – you are always going to learn something new. It has been absolutely superb.”

A video of the recent seminar can be viewed by visiting

Please contact Roger Moore on 01332 824777 or email to enquire about upcoming seminar dates.

Further information about the range of bowls maintenance products available can be found by visiting /

Keeping Park Aesthetics Up Is Easy With Toro

With research reporting widespread budget cuts, Reesink Turfcare looks at how to make that all-important budget go further without a drop in park appeal.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) found in its 2016 ‘State of the UK Public Parks’ report that 92 percent of park managers have had cuts made to their revenue budget over the last three years and 95 percent of park managers are anticipating cuts to their revenue budget over the next three years.

Edinburgh City Council has estimated that for every £1 spent on green infrastructure around £12 of social, economic and environmental benefits are delivered through the community use of parks and green spaces. So with that kind of return on investment, Danny Lake, regional grounds manager at Reesink Turfcare, looks here at what groundsmen can do to ensure green land is maintained in the most efficient and cost effective way.

“The pressure to implement further cuts means that investment in good machinery is imperative for long term plans,” says Danny. “Traditionally lots of councils would use triple cylinder mowers, which provide the best cut and after-cut appearance, but can only cope with grass that is cut quite frequently – difficult during the spring and autumn growth. Councils are now cutting verges, parks and recreational areas less often in order to make savings and this has meant that many are moving to rotary mowers, which can cope with longer grass, less frequent cuts and are cheaper to maintain. This has partly solved the problem, but the finish a rotary mower leaves isn’t always aesthetically pleasing and can cause extra clean up work around paths where grass clippings and debris are left.”

The solution to the problem is to consider a triple flail mower such as the Toro LT-F3000, which mimics the size, cutting width and manoeuvrability of a traditional triple cylinder mower. The flail cutting heads are able to cut long and short grass, wet or dry, and leave a much better after-cut appearance than a rotary mower.

Danny continues: “Customers can be a little nervous of investing in the unknown such as a flail instead of a traditional cylinder or rotary mower, which goes against a purchasing decision they’ve been making for years. But the technology around today and tough field testing means perceptions are starting to change and councils and contractors are seeing this as a viable solution for solving a lot of the mowing issues these budget constraints and less frequent mowing cycles create.”

Another savvy way to save money is for owners of the LT-F3000 to invest in the interchangeable cylinder attachment which gives the front-facing triple mower the capability to cut two ways: tougher cutting with the flail or finer with the cylinder. This is very useful for contractors maintaining roadside verges and local parks or playing fields, for example.

Demonstrating how Toro’s new product development programme reflects its customers’ requirements and circumstances, Reesink Turfcare says the attachment will appeal to councils and landscape contractors looking for even more productivity and versatility.

The LT-F3000 offers a completely new cutting concept to triple mowing, giving users a chance to cut longer, wetter and coarser grass in one sweep. With lower operating costs and affordable replacement parts it provided the groundscare sector with the ideal machine to maximise productivity and cost effectiveness. This new attachment only serves to strengthen that position by adding value and giving the machine a dual purpose – one machine can now do the job of two – and a machine that was originally intended as a flail mower can now cut as a cylinder mower.

We all know the value parks and recreational places bring to our communities. From pre-school children to retired adults they bring a place to play and relax, encouraging physical exercise, promoting mental well-being and bringing people together. A Fields in Trust’s survey in 2015 found nearly a quarter of respondents use their local park at least twice a week. Therefore, it’s not hard to imagine the negative impact not having a useable outside space will have.

To discuss how Toro groundscare machinery can benefit your budget and cutting requirements, you can contact Reesink Turfcare on 01480 226800.

Qatar World Cup Stadium Claims Turfing World Record

A pitch specially developed in Qatar has been laid in record time at Khalifa International Stadium, as the first proposed host venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar advances towards completion. reports that in the space of just 13 and a half hours, the pitch measuring around 7,800 square metres was moved from the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) and Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) Turf Nursery and laid down inside the venue by a team of 40 specialists on site.

Up to eight specialised machines were used by the 40 people moving the grass and laying it down in the proposed host venue for matches up to the quarter-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar.

According to the report, the record improved the previous best set by the team when returfing Al Sadd Sports Club’s stadium in 2016 in 14 hours and 40 minutes.

The turf was planted at the Turf Nursery and took nine months to reach the optimum 14 millimetres in length, before it was harvested and transferred to the Khalifa International Stadium.

“We would like to congratulate our partners at Aspire Zone Foundation in laying the pitch for Khalifa International Stadium in the record time of 13 and a half hours,” Youssif Al Musleh, competition venues deputy executive director at the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, said.

“Khalifa International Stadium is a historic venue in the eyes of the local community and region, and the fan and player experience in 2022 will ensure that it becomes a memorable venue for the world when Qatar hosts the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

A short time-lapse video of the work can be viewed here.