STIHL Returns To Glee

STIHL Returns To Glee: Following the success of last year’s show, STIHL will be returning to Glee on 10th – 12th September to showcase its range of cordless garden tools.

As the popularity of battery powered products continues to rise amongst keen gardeners, STIHL’s Lithium-Ion powered cordless range is designed to meet the needs of domestic users. Delivering high performance, the affordable tools are supplied with either built in or interchangeable Lithium-Ion batteries, making garden tasks even easier to complete.

STIHL Returns To Glee

The full range now includes more than 35 light-weight, well balanced and quiet machines such as; chainsaws, hedge and grass trimmers, pole pruners, long reach hedge trimmers, lawn mowers and much more. These join STIHL’s range of electrical tools including pressure washers, grass and hedge trimmers as well as blowers and vacuum shredders.

Traditionally only available through its network of over 700 garden machinery and forestry specialists, STIHL’s cordless range is now also stocked in select gardening centres throughout the UK, including Dobbies and Hilliers.

Simon Hewitt, Head of Marketing at STIHL GB, said: “We’re delighted to be returning to Glee as the show presents the perfect platform to exhibit our range of accessible cordless tools and how they can benefit everyday gardeners.

“The STIHL Lithium-Ion range and award-winning STIHL Compact Cordless System have proven to be incredibly popular with domestic users, and we look forward to welcoming visitors to the stand to find out more about the products.”

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Otterbine Diffuses The Situation

Otterbine Diffuses The Situation: Weeks of high temperatures have turned golf courses across the country brown and triggered Amber health warnings, and while there’s not much to be done to counteract either, one thing you can do is keep your lakes and ponds well aerated to prevent them from becoming stagnate.

A perfect example of this on an epic scale comes from Frilford Heath, the 54-hole championship golf course complex near Oxford, which had an Otterbine Air Flo 3 diffuser installed in its 6m, 10-million-gallon reservoir to aerate the water two years ago. The idea was to make the water good enough quality to irrigate the course, says course manager Sid Arrowsmith.

Otterbine Diffuses The Situation

“We always knew this was a long-term and challenging project. The water comes from a brook downstream through farming fields, full of pollutants and run-off nitrates,” Sid says. “Add to the fact that the silt and sediment at the bottom of the reservoir literally hadn’t seen the light of day for ten years and we knew the diffuser had its work cut out. Even so, none of us expected the extent!

“We experienced, as anticipated, algal growth; the surprise was how much algal growth! Reesink’s Rob Jackson visited us regularly and I think even he was surprised at how abundant it was.”

But that’s nature for you. And water full of nutrients like Frilford Heath’s is, as Sid explains, “going to have an inordinate amount of organic mixture in it”. However, the Air Flo 3 kept busy and Sid “never once doubted” it was up to the job.

The water now is crystal clear again and while Sid is under no illusion that an algal bloom is possible, especially in this weather, the diffuser is ready for the challenge. “There is more oxygen in that reservoir than ever before. If we did incur another algal bloom, the water is in the best possible position to counteract it.”

Meantime, the water is being used all over the course, doing exactly what Sid intended. So, at what saving does this come? “Back in the very dry summers of ‘94, ‘95 and ‘96, we were spending £25,000 a year irrigating the course off the mains. It is literally a fraction of that now. The only thing we use mains water for is washing the turf machinery and toilet facilities.”

For Sid, the Otterbine diffuser has done exactly what he intended it to do – it has made 10-million-gallons of water ready to use and given the club a degree of self-sufficiency it hasn’t experienced before. And as Sid, a greenkeeping veteran, one of only 70 BIGGA Master Greenkeepers in the UK and ex-BIGGA president, says: “greenkeeping wouldn’t be greenkeeping without a few challenges along the way!”

And we guess that statement now includes the country’s longest heatwave for 42 years! It’s not all in the preparation either, Otterbine’s extensive range of efficient aerators can make quick work of smaller ponds and lakes, so if the hot weather is creating problem water features, contact Otterbine’s distributor Reesink today.

For more information, visit: reesinkturfcare.co.uk

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Groundsmen Look To The Heavens

Groundsmen Look To The Heavens: It was around this time in the long, hot summer of 1976 that things were getting really desperate for the nation’s greenkeepers and groundsmen. It remains the hottest, driest summer on record, though one that this year is threatening to outdo, and it forced those in search of water to keep their well-tended turf alive to get creative.

Exeter City drew up a plan to pour 10,000 gallons of treated sewage effluent on to the pitch. Torquay United trucked in waste water from a sewage works in Heathfield, and Brentford brought in 30,000 gallons from their local treatment plant. The only way the rugby league club New Hunslet could render the ground at their Elland Road Greyhound Stadium soft enough for a cup tie against Keighley to go ahead was to use a tanker full of water collected from a nearby car factory, which was contaminated with oil and “other waste materials”. “Tests on it show that it does not constitute a hazard to health,” wrote the Times, reassuringly.

Groundsmen Look To The Heavens

David Oxley, secretary of the Rugby League, said that though “this is traditionally a hard game for hard men”, playing it on hard ground would be one hard too many. “When it becomes parched and cracks open, that’s the danger point,” he said. “We have suggested that clubs might use purified sewage water, or any similar method. It is very much a local affair. Each club will have to decide for itself but having watched a game last Sunday when it looked more like a battlefield, I think the time is not far off when we shall be forced to call games off.”

The Rugby Football Union and its Welsh equivalent both suggested that clubs should consider cancelling games if pitches remained parched. “We are leaving it to the common sense of the clubs,” a Welsh Rugby Union spokesman said, “but if they did come to us for advice I think we would have to say don’t play unless it rains.”

The Guardian’s Frank Keating spoke to the director of the Sports Turf Research Institute, John Escritt, whose advice to groundsmen was simple: “The first advice is to trust in the power of prayer – and if that doesn’t work, which it won’t, leave the grass long because it can then collect what bit of moisture there might be around at dawn.”

At Cardiff Arms Park there was no need for prayer. Workmen had been laying the foundations of a new stand when the desperate groundsman, Bill Hardiman, pleaded with them to dig at the river end of the pitch to see if they found water. They did, just nine feet down, and again at the opposite end. From then on Hardiman sprayed his pitch for 12 hours a day. “I have had the water analysed and it is quite drinkable,” he said. “I drink it every day.”

Tony Bell, now Middlesbrough’s head groundsman, was just a child in 1976. “I remember thinking it was fantastic,” he recalls. This year Bell and his team, named the best in the Championship last season, have had to cope with similar challenges. “We’ve had dry times before, but not as long as this, day after day after day,” he says. “Irrigation’s OK, but it doesn’t go on the same as rain. It’s never as even. You only need a breath of wind and it blows about. Some parts of the pitch are getting double what they need, others nothing at all.”

Bell has several advantages over 1970s-era groundskeepers, including automatic irrigation sprinklers, moisture meters, consultant agronomists, and four decades’ worth of advances in turf science. Half the seed he laid this summer was tetraploid grass, a new, hardier, stronger kind of rye. He also has a borehole that provides plentiful water to the training ground. Yet still he has struggled. “Temperature has been the biggest challenge,” he says. “The heat basically forces us to put water on during the day just to keep the grass alive, but that also creates disease. We’ve had pythium blight, which is a warm-weather disease you very rarely get in this country. It’s devastating, it just makes the grass go strawlike. We had a lot of pitches that were severely knocked back, and they’re only just recovering now. Down south it’s been 30-odd degrees, which is far more challenging. Up here 21-22 is a normal summer, but 25-plus is a different ball game.”

Christian Spring is UK research operations manager at the Sports Turf Research Institute, and was recently at Carnoustie to monitor playing conditions at the Open. “They’ve not had a huge amount of rain, certainly a lot less than they’re used to,” he says. “It’s been about managing the water reserves that they’ve got and trying to keep everything ticking over so it looks authentic, feels authentic but still plays well as a golf course. This year was an opportunity to hold an Open Championship in true summer conditions. It’s a different challenge. Overwatering can be just as bad as underwatering. As with all things in life, finding the right balance is difficult. The art of a groundsman is knowing when to back off and not be tempted to turn on the tap.”

As this summer continues along its arid path, although this weekend’s rain has brought some relief, it is also about looking beseechingly at the heavens and hoping that at some point nature will take care of that job for you, and ideally before the borehole runs dry, the hosepipe bans kick in and you’re forced to put in a call to the sewage plant.

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Germinal’s New Amenity Website

Germinal’s New Amenity Website: Germinal has confirmed the launch of a brand new, amenity specific website aimed at making it easier for landscape architects and sports turf professionals to get the very best results from their amenity spaces.

 The new website, www.germinalamenity.com, contains all the information landscape architects and turf professionals need to optimise the performance of their amenity facilities: the website includes complete specifications and usage guides for Germinal’s Grade ‘A’ range of landscaping and sports grass seed mixtures as well as full details of its grass and wildflower landscaping mixtures for everything from low maintenance reclaimed land to saline road verges, shaded habitats, fine lawns and an array of natural habitats.  All product details can be easily cut and pasted into external documents, making it simple for landscape architects to insert them directly into the appropriate project specification.

Germinal's New Amenity Website

“As well as constantly investing in research and development to bring first class grass and wildflower seeds and turf care products to the landscaping and sports turf sectors, we are also conscious of the constant need to provide the industry with the latest news and advice,” explains Richard Brown, Germinal Amenity Sales Manager.

“Our popular range of ‘Grade A’ grass seed mixtures is always evolving to ensure our sports and landscaping specific products remain the best available.  The new website has therefore been developed to make it easier for new and existing customers to keep abreast of our developing range of products and to enable them to specify the most appropriate products to suit each site’s individual requirements.

“We’ve also populated the new website with a collection of advice guides and video resources covering a range of useful topics from simple over-seeding and sowing ‘how-to’ guides, to more detailed explanations of the importance of key success factors such as soil pH, the use and application of macro and micro nutrients and how to physically manage recently renovated and established swards and amenity landscapes.”

The website also contains a selection of standardised fertiliser plans – written and designed by Germinal’s FACTS (Fertiliser Advisers Certification and Training Scheme) qualified experts – to enable everyone from novice gardeners to professional turf growers to get the best results from their amenity facilities.

The new www.germinalamenity.com website also features a ‘Product Selector’ tool which has been designed to make it as easy and simple as possible for landscape architects to find the most appropriate products for each project’s specific needs.  “As well as our extensive Grade ‘A’ range of landscaping specific grass seed mixtures, our portfolio also includes a wide range of ‘Regional Environmental’ and ‘General Landscaping’ wildflower mixtures.

“These products, which contain only the very best quality grass and wild flower seeds – including an extensive selection of 100% native species – enable landscape architects to choose the most appropriate wild flower and/or grass seed mixtures to suit their specific project,” Richard Brown adds.  “However, with such a wide variety of options to choose from, specifying the right products for each individual project can often be a time-consuming, and, at times, confusing process.  We’ve therefore developed an interactive configurator tool which streamlines the process and makes it fast and simple for landscape architects to select the best products for each project.  And, just as before, any orders placed before 2pm will be shipped and delivered the next working day.”

A new section, which contains details of a range of CPD resources and seminars, has also been added: landscape architects can contact their local Germinal technical specialist who will be happy to visit them to provide more detail on a range of topics such as how to establish and maintain wildflowers and understanding the latest plant nutrition protocols.

MCC’s Mick Hunt To Retire

MCC’s Mick Hunt To Retire: MCC has today announced that Head Groundsman Mick Hunt is to retire at the end of the 2018 season.

Mick joined the groundstaff in December 1969 and was appointed Head Groundsman in 1985, following the retirement of Jim Fairbrother. The search will now begin for Mick’s successor, with a view to recruiting a replacement who can take the reins for the 2019 season.

MCC's Mick Hunt To Retire

“Mick has given outstanding service to MCC and to Lord’s, and he will be a very tough act to follow,” said John Stephenson, MCC Assistant Secretary (Cricket).

“World Cup Finals, Tests and One-Day Internationals featuring some of the biggest names in cricket have all been played here on pitches that he has prepared.

“There is something special about playing on the hallowed turf at Lord’s that inspires cricketers at every level to deliver great performances, with some earning a place on the Dressing Room Honours Boards.

“Mick retires one year short of a half-century, but his place in the history of Lord’s is assured.”

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The Power Of Deep Aeration

The Power Of Deep Aeration: The concept of one metre deep aeration, to relieve compaction and improve drainage, really needs to be seen in action to appreciate the long-term benefits. A long and very hot summer with little amounts of rain will, without doubt, lead to compaction and drainage problems on the sports pitch, the golf course and bowling green and inevitably in amenity areas and gardens. Terrain Aeration have produced a new video that shows precisely how to alleviate the problem, using the proven Terralift system that has been in operation for over twenty-five years. As soon as the heavy rains come areas of turf compaction and panning become self-evident with large stretches of standing water.

Normal aeration and scarifying are of course essential to promoting a healthy sward but the penetration isn’t deep enough to get to where the real problem lies. Go down a metre with a hollow probe, using a JCB breaker gun to penetrate the hard compaction in the soil, and release compressed air up to a maximum of 20Bar (280psi). This fractures the soil, creating and opening up the fissures that will allow the water to drain. Repeat the process on a staggered grid pattern at two metre spacings and you ensure each air blast interconnects the underground labyrinth of cracks and fissures.

The Power Of Deep Aeration

As you can see on the Terrain Aeration video, that is how the Terrain Aeration system works but it doesn’t stop there. Dried seaweed is injected on the tail end of the blast and this sticks to the walls of the probe hole and cracks. Over time it expands and contracts with the moisture content and maintains the drainage when the heavier rains fall. Water storing polymers can also be added at this stage as an extra insurance with water retention. The interconnecting system created also allows oxygen and nutrients to get to the roots, while the grass pushes them down to reach the deeper water supply and help promote top growth. The probe holes are back filled with porous Lytag aggregate and finished with the usual top dressing to encourage grass growth over the probe holes. In the case of the golf green, tee or sports pitch play can resume immediately.

Once treated, the area will benefit for many years to come as has been demonstrated by Terrain Aeration over the years for thousands of sports venues, golf courses, parks and amenity areas. The deep penetration process is used to great effect around trees, especially where the ground has become very compacted due to foot traffic. The Terralift system has treated such notable areas as the Royal Parks, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and many National Trust properties. But it is equally beneficial in relieving compaction and creating drainage on formal lawns and even small gardens as well as sports pitches and golf greens. You can see the video at: https://youtu.be/uw9k35PA5kM

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Reesink Award Winners Announced

Reesink Award Winners Announced: Reesink Turfcare is delighted to announce the winners of its Aftermarket Dealer Awards. The awards recognise Outstanding Performances in the three areas of Service, Parts and Skills, as well as recognising an overall Dealer of the Year for ‘Excellence in Customer Support’.

In keeping with its Service Level Agreement (SLA), which benchmarks great customer service, Reesink awards those dealers achieving the best scores, rated on quarterly Key Performance Indicators (KPI), within each of the three sections, while the Dealer of the Year Award combines the KPI scores from all three.

Reesink Award Winners Announced

The winners are: Outstanding Performance in Service goes to Redtech in Coventry, while Lloyd Ltd in Carlisle excelled in Skills, and Revill Mowers in Gloucestershire in Parts. The coveted Dealer of the Year award has two joint winners: Cheshire Turf Machinery in Stockport and Revill Mowers in Gloucestershire.

The runners-up are: Russells Groundcare in Yorkshire for both Parts and Service, and Oliver Landpower in Kings Langley for Skills.

Ever since Reesink adopted the principles of a customer service level agreement to set a baseline standard for after-sales customer support in 2015, its strategy has been to ensure that it delivers strong customer service with all its business partners, says David Jackman, Reesink’s aftermarket manager: “We’re looking to continually improve on our customer experience after a sale completes, and our Service Level Agreement outlines the core customer service standards, goals and considerations adopted by all our Authorised Service and Dealer Locations, which helps to earn the loyalty of our customers.

“Part of this extensive remit are the awards, which give us a standard set of common goals, targets and values that can be shared and promoted to the end user, benefitting customer retention and business growth across our dealer network. As we expected it would be, this has been met with great enthusiasm by our dedicated dealers and has done a fantastic job of driving the aftermarket business forward.

Reesink Award Winners Announced

“We’re delighted to be able to recognise the winners and runners-up of these awards, which not only provide a snapshot of each dealers’ performance with us but also our support for them. Overall, the major benefit of this process is the benefit it brings to the end customer, which is what we’re all in it for.”

 And it’s certainly an approach that has worked with Reesink having been recognised by The Toro Company for its outstanding performance in Parts, Service and Technical Training in the past.

For more information, visit: reesinkturfcare.co.uk

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Disease Management Trials

Disease Management Trials: This year’s STRI Research event will see Bayer continuing its study into disease prevention in pursuit of the best programme for tackling Microdochium Patch in light of recent losses to curative chemistry.

Dr Colin Mumford, Bayer technical manager, explains that the new research will build on results from last season’s set of trials, that showed preventative options outshone curatives.

Disease Management Trials

“This year the aim is to reinforce these findings and see how we can improve on current disease management programmes, with alternative and new products, as well as different application rates and timings.

“A variety of different fungicides will be put to the test, including Exteris® Stressgard® and Dedicate®, alongside a number of plant health promoting products, from two of our main distributors, Headland Amenity and Rigby Taylor,” he says.

“Once again, we’ll be testing the Microdochium Patch cover, colour and quality of the turf, with a variety of programmes including preventative fungicides, plant health products, and the last remaining curative options that mimic a more traditional approach.”

He points out that the conditions this year could be quite different to the low disease threat experienced by the STRI last season. “The turf has taken a bashing this summer, with prolonged periods of high temperatures and strong sunlight, so it’ll be very interesting to see how the turf fairs with a stressful start to the disease season.”

The trials are due to start in late August, to pre-condition the turf for improved health, and should run until spring 2019, to see if there is any effect on green-up ahead of the key playing season.

Colin explains that during the event, along with representatives from Headland Amenity and Rigby Taylor, the Bayer team will present on each of the combinations being applied to the plots, their regularity and the expected outcomes.

For more information, please visit www.environmentalscience.bayer.co.uk, Headland Amenity www.headlandamenity.com or Rigby Taylor www.rigbytaylor.com

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Glasgow Academy’s Koro FIELDTOPMAKER

Glasgow Academy’s Koro FIELDTOPMAKER: The Glasgow Academy has become the first independent school in Scotland to purchase their own 2018 model KoroÒ FIELDTOPMAKERÒ (Koro FTMÒ) with the patented Universe® rotor from Campey Turf Care Systems.

The demands of maintaining pitches for a school that offers football, rugby, hockey, cricket and athletics on eight pitches across four locations as well as a separate sand and water based astro pitches has its own unique issues when it comes to renovations with a short 10-week window at the end of the school year.

Glasgow Academy's Koro FIELDTOPMAKER

For head groundsman, Robert Cheape, there is very little crossover time during terms with sports seasons often overlapping. His team of five also have the main school and prep school grounds to maintain and the decision to bring in a new Koro FTMÒ was to provide flexibility and choice to renovations.

“We have multiple sports with very little downtime between them,” he said. “As one season finishes the next season starts and that was one of the reasons behind getting our own KoroÒ, because we wanted the flexibility to manage the pitches in a better way.

“In our situation being able to vary to what degree we use the Koro FTMÒ on the pitches is massive and directly tackles the issue of short periods of downtime.

“We’ve got the Universe® Finesse 5mm blades on it and the material that’s been coming out with it has been unbelievable and the organic matter it’s been ripping up is very impressive, especially when we compare it other machines we’ve used in the past, it’s far superior to everything else.

“I was very impressed with it then but even more so now with the new model because of the flexibility when it comes to the different blade sizes on the Universe® rotor because it gives you the option to use what you need.

“I’d love to “Koro” off the pitches completely but because of the overlap of the various sports we just don’t get the time, it would mean taking some time off of cricket, so it would be them who would suffer, and although they are flexible there’s only so much room to manoeuvre.”

The machine was first used on the site in June 2018 and that was the first time any Koro FTMÒ had been used on the school grounds. Despite being aware of the machine through various magazine articles and demonstration days hosted by Campey, Robert had never used the machine.

With the help of Campey product specialist, Richard Heywood, during the installation, Robert and his team of seven quickly became familiar with the machine, and the man who has worked at Glasgow Academy for 30-years is already very impressed with the operation and results.

“I’ve been aware of the machine for a good few years now,” he said. “I’ve seen it in all the magazines and I’ve seen it at a couple of demos, one at Stirling Albion in 2016 and one in Fleetwood four or five years ago and Greenock Morton.

“We’ve never had the machine working in our place before, so this is the first time it’s been used. We try to keep all of our work in-house but occasionally for the bigger jobs like primary drainage we use other contractors but generally, we do it all ourselves with machines like the ShockWave 220.

“We got a good demonstration from Richard Heywood when he delivered the machine, but I think by using it more we’ll build the familiarity with it and be able to use it to greater effect on the site.”

The weight and balance of the Koro FTMÒ have been analysed resulting in a lighter, steadier ma-chine with the redistribution of weight using a removable 100kgs meaning a much smaller tractor can be used to run the machine. This is because the centre of gravity has been shifted towards the tractor making it easier to lift. Even when the weight is removed the machine still has improved balance against previous models.

For more information, visit: www.campeyturfcare.com

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Samantha Butler’s Travels With Campey

Samantha Butler’s Travels With Campey: It has been a long and mixed few months for Australians in Europe. The Socceroos put in a valiant but ultimately disappointing display at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the Australian cricket team fell to a 6-0 one day international loss at the hands of England.

But, for one Australian travelling to Europe under the Campey Turf Care banner it’s been a positive experience – maybe even a winning one. Samantha Butler is a horticulturist and greenkeeper back in her native Australia based at the Sydney Olympic Park and wanted to extend her knowledge and skill set to progress her career.

Samantha Butler's Travels With Campey

Her desire to do this was such that she was happy to take time off work and travel halfway around the world and swap the heat of New South Wales for the  colder climate of Macclesfield, although the heat wave has been an unexpected bonus!

“It’s been a wonderful experience and a real eye-opener,” she said. “I work for a company called the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales which is based in Sydney Olympic Park. Being one of the only females working in a major sports stadium back in Australia and wanting career progression I originally reached out to Mike O’Keefe from the Ohio State programme.

“With 3 months at Campey I’ve been to a couple of countries because they never stop. I’ve been very well looked after, and they’ve made sure everything has been in place for me and it’s been wonderful.

“I wasn’t keen on focusing on just golf because I work in a stadium that has all sorts of sports from A to Z, so, I wanted to see how different venues do different things and with Campey I’ve been to football pitches, cricket pitches, golf clubs and a few stadiums like the Aviva Stadium and Croke Park where they host similar sports to us.

“It’s a lot different over here and a lot of that is down to the cold weather. it’s interesting to know situations change in different climates and how turf comes back from colder weather. When I was in Ireland the fog was so bad you couldn’t see 10 feet in front of you, so I went to some of the nicest courses, but I couldn’t see anything!

“You get to see through the eyes of different groundsman and get a feel for what they do as well as getting to speak to them and see their machinery and equipment.

“It’s given me a good idea of how other people operate and helped me make contacts in the industry, and helps to bolster my CV, which was one of the main points of the trip.”

Following her time with Campeys, Sam will join Steve Braddock at Arsenal Football Club for 3 months to get the first-hand experience of maintaining one of the most prestigious training grounds in world football.

For more information, visit: www.campeyturfcare.com

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