Posts

Prevention is better than cure

Prevention is better than cure: At a recent meeting of the Amenity Forum, Chris Faulkner of Kersten (UK) Limited spoke about the need for all involved in weed management in the sector to further increase the focus on weed prevention.

He said ‘’A common theme of the conversations we have with customers centre around removing, killing or controlling a weed that already exists. Prevention requires us to think about the causes of weeds on a particular surface and how we can make the environment as inhospitable for weeds as possible’’

Prevention is better than cure

Prevention is better than cure

In a recent presentation at a conference in Wales, the Independent Forum Chairman John Moverley, said ‘’prevention certainly on hard surfaces begins with the design of our environment. For example, designing the corner of a kerb with a nice wide radius, rather than a sharp corner allows a sweeper to easily follow the edge of the kerb and collect any detritus trapped there’’

Also at the conference, a representative from Newport Council commented about their success with improved preventative maintenance work. He said ‘’we have been using mechanical weed removal to minimise the soil build-up over winter and the team has seen a big reduction in the amount of weeds coming up in the spring. This has resulted in the diminished use of plant protection products around Newport’’

The amenity sector has been at the fore front of the development of integrated weed management and produces comprehensive guidance notes for the sector. It is important to recognise that integrated means choosing the right approach and choice of methods for weed management including plant protection products. The increased emphasis on moving to carbon zero also will significant impact on future approaches.

A new guidance note on weed prevention will shortly be available on the Amenity Forum website www.amenityforum.co.uk  and it will be just one of the topics to be addressed in Updating events across the UK organised by the Forum in early 2022. For more information contact admin@amenityforum.net

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

Drainage cure for Buckingham West End

Drainage cure for Buckingham West End: Buckingham West End Bowls Club was founded in 1910 and enjoys a strong and loyal membership. Situated in Buckingham itself, the club aims to promote the game of Flat Green Bowls and provide facilities for the social needs and well-being of its members.

As a mixed club, they play men’s, ladies and mixed matches with other clubs in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire. Greenkeeper Ian Jones joined the club in 2013 at which time, he says, the green drained well but in 2018 they started getting problems with drainage. On Christmas Eve 2020, the nearby river flooded the green to a depth of about 2ft. Although most of the water drained away within 24 hours, because of the drainage problem, part of the green remained underwater so long the roots of the grass began to rot.

Drainage cure for Buckingham West End

Drainage cure for Buckingham West End

“We use contractors Avonmore Associates to do spraying, aeration in autumn and top dressing and we worked with Avonmore’s Brian Buttler to take some core samples. While the topsoil was good, we found there was no drainage layer,” says Ian. Brian’s view was the constant walking on the green over the many years had caused severe compaction. They coupled this with another reason. The green sits on yellow clay, being near Bedford, which is famous for brick making using the clay over the past hundred years. Ian had seen an article on a South Wales bowling club that had a similar drainage problem and they had called in Terrain Aeration, whom Brian also knew of. Whereas normal aeration is an accepted part of a good greenkeeping regime, it only reaches a depth of inches.

Terrain Aeration’s system treats the ground down to a depth of one metre. At this depth, the ground is usually so compacted it requires fracturing to open up fissures and allow drainage. Their Terralift machine hammers a hollow probe through the soil using a JCB road breaker gun, and compressed air is released up to 20Bar (280psi). At the end of the air blast, they inject dried seaweed, which sticks to the fissure walls. This expands and contracts with the moisture in the soil to keep the area breathing. Ian and club member volunteers who help maintain the green backfilled the 1.5-inch probe holes with Lytag aggregate and covered with topsoil. The green was playable almost immediately.

Drainage cure for Buckingham West End

Drainage cure for Buckingham West End

“Had we put in field drains it would have been very disruptive and using Terrain Aeration’s system meant we could do the work in the season,” says Ian. “Then we had no rain for some weeks so we had no idea if it had worked until the heaven’s opened in June. After severe downpours, we found the green drained far better than in years and the club is overjoyed with the result.”

Terrain Aeration 01449 673783 www.terrainaeration.co.uk

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

Prevention better than cure

Prevention better than cure: Ian Robson Prosport UK & Ireland Importer/Distributor for Foley United, explains why relief grinding maximises the performance of reels by giving a factory finish every time.

Firstly, why is having sharp cylinders (reels) that are the correct shape so important anyway? The answer is obvious – unhealthy turf brings a whole host of other issues which are costly to correct. Therefore, prevention is a far more economic approach than a cure.

Prevention better than cure

A huge amount of research and development has gone into designing a cutting unit to produce the cleanest cut possible with the least amount of fraying and tissue damage to the plant.

The result is that all manufacturers of grass cutting equipment supply new units with relief ground edges.

Why Relief Grind?

Tests carried out by leading manufacturers have established that relief ground cylinders stay on cut up to three times longer than spun ground ones and require less horse power to drive the unit, resulting in greater fuel efficiency and less stress on the hydraulic power systems. In addition, a relief ground cylinder will withstand the abrasive effects of top dressing far better than one spun ground because the relief edge on both the bedknife and the cylinder allows the top dressing to clear the cutting blades easily, helping to prevent the dulling effect seen on spun only units.

Continual relief grinding also decreases the squeezing and tearing of the grass as the units get dull, and most importantly it allows the cylinder to be returned to a factory specification perfect cylinder as quickly as possible.

The overall cleaner cut achieved by relief grinding gives a better after-cut appearance, increased recovery rate due to the clean cut of the grass and reduces the stress on components because less horsepower is needed to drive the cylinder.

Horse Power Study

As a reel wears flat and loses shape (becomes coned), more stress and strain is put on the cutting systems.

Using the figures from the above study a 5-gang cutting unit with relief can require up to 4.5 HP (5 x 0.88HP = 4.5HP) to drive the cutting units therefore a 35HP engine has 30.5HP remaining to drive the rest of the traction system. A 5-gang unit which has been spun ground only, can require up to 13Hp (5 x 2.59HP = 13HP) leaving only 22HP to drive the rest of the traction system.

So, it has been established that relief grinding your cutting units saves you money not only by reducing workshop maintenance time with far fewer grinds but also through a reduction in fuel costs and replacement parts.

It is also important to acknowledge what relief grinding does for a reel. By removing metal from the trailing edge of the blade it forms a relief angle, which reduces the contact area of the cutting edges, resulting in less friction, longer wear life. Typically, when a new mower is delivered the reels will be a perfect cylindrical shape. Over time the blade naturally loses shape, and the sharp edge it arrives with becomes flat and dull, often meaning the reel is no longer a perfect cylinder from end to end. This is referred to as ‘coning’ and a natural point for grinding to take place.

The decision then sits between touch-up and spin grinding, or relief grinding. If there is sufficient relief still on the reel then a quick touch-up is fine but once more than 50% of the relief has gone my advice would be to relief grind again and remove any coning. Failure to remove the coning will eventually be seen in an uneven cut appearance of your turf.

But, the main question mentioned at the beginning comes back; how to get the most out of your workshop resources by choosing the most effective method to sharpen your cutting units. The answer is to trust the manufacturers judgement and return the reels as close to the original factory standard as possible, and for that, relief grinding is the best option. The bonus is this method also maximises performance and gives the best cut.

ICL Cure Greens At Blackwell GC

ICL Cure Greens At Blackwell GC: After some shading issues were resolved at the exclusive Blackwell Golf Club located in Worcestershire, Head Greenkeeper Rhys Thomas has since restored the greens back to their full health thanks to a range of fertilizers from ICL.

Blackwell Golf Club may well be the most exclusive club in the Midlands. With approximately 170 members, but despite the club always having a small membership, it has never stopped the club from achieving. In fact, Blackwell has been ranked in the top 100 UK courses for a number of years, boasts three English Amateur Champions, has hosted the Open Championship Regional Qualifying Event six times and was home to the Midland Boys Championship, won one year by a 14 year old Sandy Lyle.

ICL Cure Greens At Blackwell GC

Blackwell Golf Club will be celebrating its 125th centenary and throughout that time the course hasn’t changed much from the original 18 hole design. The truth is – it hasn’t really needed to, which is perhaps testament to the vision of Herbert Fowler and Tom Simpson who designed the course in 1923.

“Following a ecology report from the STRI (Sports Turf Research Institute), we decided to remove the trees around the greens and tees that had been planted 50 years ago,” says Rhys. “The trees had had little maintenance and the greens were in the shade and we’d struggle to get growth through the winter. Obviously, they would have a lot of wear during the summer and they never had an opportunity to recover.”

After the trees were removed, it was apparent that the greens would need a lot of attention after being in the shade for such a long time. Disease had crept in, which had resulted in a few scars and damage, and in Rhys’ own words – “If someone has a cold or is ill and they don’t take any medicine, then they don’t get any better. It’s the same with the greens – they need good products to keep them healthy.”

“ICL’s Greenmaster Pro-Lite Cold Start is great for the spring,” Rhys continues. “We know that the greens will kick-off immediately once we get it applied in March. Previously, members used to say the greens were not playing well until June. The right products are being used now and the members have certainly noticed the difference.”

Rhys was also quick to highlight Sierraform GT K-STEP 6-0-27+2MgO+TE, which has a high potassium content to harden the turf in particularly stressful winter conditions.

ICL Cure Greens At Blackwell GC

“In January or February, we turn to Sierraform GT K-STEP which trickles along nicely and we normally get a good amount of growth following application. We may also re-apply it in March if we are doing some renovation work just to give us a bit of recovery.

“Because of the microclimate we have here at Blackwell, it does make it hard to have a strict programme in place – we just have to judge it as and when. But I’ve been using ICL products for a long time and I use them because I know how they work and I can judge the timing of the fertilizers.

“The ICL fertilizers have significantly improved the greens because they are a lot healthier now.

On hand to offer Rhys all-year-round assistance is ICL’s Emma Kilby and he revealed that she has been instrumental in helping him bring the greens back to the standard expected by Blackwell members.

“I have a great relationship with Emma and she is always available if I need her.

Please contact ICL on 01473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie if you are in Ireland.

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.