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A Winning Combination

A Winning Combination: Stuart Lambert, Head Groundsman at Gloucester Rugby, says that a combination of two seed mixtures from Limagrain UK ensures that the pitch at the Kingsholm Stadium stands up to the rigours of training sessions and matchdays.

Having been in the turf industry all his career Stuart has been the Head Groundsman at Gloucester Rugby for nearly three years now. Prior to moving to the Kingsholm Stadium, he was already accustomed to the Limagrain range of grass seed.

A Winning Combination

A Winning Combination

“I had first used Limagrain’s MM50 seed in my previous role at Bromsgrove School,” said Stuart. “We used it on the cricket squares, and I was instantly impressed. When I first arrived at Gloucester, the club were already using Limagrain and I knew what it could do so I decided to stick with it.”

Stuart, who competes with up to three training sessions a week on top of matchdays, always starts the season with MM60; which is renowned for producing an excellent playing surface in a stadium environment. With the added benefit of being treated with Headstart® GOLD, a biological germination accelerator, MM60 delivers stronger more resilient seedling grass, giving turf the best possible start.

“We always use the MM60 mixture for our summer renovation and we will go with a rate of 50g per square metre – which is absolutely perfect,” said Stuart. “One of the biggest benefits of the seed is just how quickly it germinates. Last year, the grass was growing within five days of applying the seed and I couldn’t believe it.”

After his summer renovation, Stuart ensures that he has enough bags of MM60 left over so that he can overseed some of the high usage areas throughout the season. He will continue to overseed these areas with MM60 until October and it is at this point that Stuart switches to Limagrain’s Tetra Sport mixture to see him through the winter period.

“As soon as October comes, we switch to the Tetra Sport seed, because we find that it grows in a lot colder temperatures,” he said.

A traditional repair mixture, especially useful for overseeding of high quality sportsfields to improve sward composition and aid recovery from disease scarring, Tetra Sport consists of Tetraploid Ryegrasses and is ideal for when the cooler weather arrives.

Stuart undertakes a rather unique pre-germination process before even applying the seed mixture – as he explains.

“We start by tipping the seed into buckets; we then fill the buckets with water and leave the seed to soak for 24 hours,” he said. “The seed then goes from a light brown colour to a dark brown colour because it has absorbed all the water; and then we will drain the water off, leave it in a heated shed with a heat lamp, and it will stay there for two further days. We then apply the seed to the pitch immediately.

“Ultimately, this pre-germination process gives us a great head-start. I would say that it speeds the process up by about three weeks. On the particularly bad areas we will put the grow lights over the top and that helps in anchoring the seed and helping the grass to stand up.

“It is a process that not a lot of people do,” continued Stuart. “But a lot of lower league clubs could and should be doing it because it buys time and makes a big difference – particularly in the winter.

“Limagrain’s seed is the strongest seed I have come across and our soil samples prove that we get decent root growth as well. Quite simply, both MM60 and Tetra Sport tick every box for us. These two seed mixtures, combined with our feeding programme, certainly helps the pitch stand up to such heavy usage.”

For further information, please contact Limagrain UK on 01472 371471 or visit the company’s website www.lgseeds.co.uk/amenity – you can also follow the company on Twitter: @MM_Seed

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Combination ticks all the boxes for Eastleigh

Combination ticks all the boxes for Eastleigh: Managing a high wear pitch, on a relatively tight budget is probably a story with which most non and lower league club grounds managers can relate.

For Eastleigh FC Head Groundsman Dan Barnes, the task is made slightly easier by getting the right seed in the ground first and foremost – and for this, he turns to Johnsons J Premier Pitch. Along with delivering superior wear tolerance, its resistance to disease has meant Dan has only applied fungicide once in the last four years.

Combination ticks all the boxes for Eastleigh

Combination ticks all the boxes for Eastleigh

Eastleigh FC moved to their home at the Silverlake Stadium in the 1950’s and limited investment since then has resulted in a pitch that struggles with drainage and requires thoughtful management – a challenge Dan picked up four years ago, despite having no previous Groundsmanship experience! “In those first few months I spent a lot of time undertaking qualifications and networking with other groundsmen as I sought to build a bank of suppliers” explains Dan, who is assisted only by a team of volunteers. “When it came to seed, after I tried Johnsons J Premier Pitch mixture, I’ve never wanted to use anything else.”

“Despite our challenging ground conditions, this mixture delivers on all of the key performance characteristics – it’s hard-wearing, gives us fantastic visual merit and has demonstrated fantastic tolerance to disease. In four years, we’ve had just one Fusarium outbreak which we could attribute to the use of pitch covers.” Due to budget constraints, Dan has to be creative when it comes to seeding, usually applying 50g per m2 during summer renovations and then overseeding at 25-30g per m2 in the autumn and again in the spring to see them through to the end of the season.

Last winter, Dan supplemented Premier Pitch with Johnsons J 4Turf to benefit from the lower temperature germination of DLF’s tetraploid ryegrass. “This gave the pitch a real boost through the winter and undoubtedly helped us get through a fixture pile-up we had in February 2021 where we hosted five games in a 19-day period. The increased root length we get with the J 4Turf mixture provides great additional strength and, along with J Premier Pitch, recovers brilliantly.”

“There is nothing more satisfying than being proud of the surface you present” Dan concludes. “This combination of Johnsons mixtures gives us a pitch that is always fit and ready for play which, in turn, satisfies the following of fans we are really fortunate to have here at the club.”

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A tried and tested combination

A tried and tested combination: The Bishopton, Renfrewshire based dealership, Hamilton Ross Group, has recently supplied a customer with five Muthing MU-FM160 flails fitted to their Kubota F3090 tractors.

For the company Ground care Manager Jamie Gardiner said, “The combination of the Muthing MU-FM 160 flail on the Kubota F3090 power unit has proved very popular with our customers. This fleet deal proves how effective the equipment is for large scale operations, even in the toughest of environments on the West Coast of Scotland”

A tried and tested combination

A tried and tested combination

Simon Richard, UK Agent for the Muthing range says, “The restrictions on movement during these difficult times will leave some challenging areas when we eventually get back to cutting grass and the MU-FM 160, for power units up to 40hp, is the perfect combination for the widest range of contractor and local authority grounds maintenance tasks. The well balanced Muthing rotor, with specially formed flail lugs, protects against damage from obstacles and the self-cleaning roller with well-rounded edges preserves both soil and turf. The optimised distance between the outer rotor circle and the roller guarantees perfect contour following and even quality of cut. Market leading reduction in foreign object deflection make it the flail of choice when working safely in public areas”

For more information visit www.slopemower.co.uk

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