Evolution Naturelle keeps Ham Manor healthy

Evolution Naturelle keeps Ham Manor healthy: According to the Course Manager at Ham Manor Golf Club, Agrovista Amenity’s Evolution Naturelle fertilisers have been a driving factor in producing healthy, dense turf that recovers quickly.

Paul Brown has been the Course Manager at Ham Manor Golf Club in West Sussex for just over five years. It was the job he always wanted and was therefore delighted to be head hunted for the role while working in his previous job at Canterbury Golf Club.

Evolution Naturelle keeps Ham Manor healthy

Evolution Naturelle keeps Ham Manor healthy

Paul may well have been in greenkeeping for an impressive duration of 38 years but admits that he never stops learning – and believes this has certainly been the case over the past year.

“This period during Covid-19 has taught me a lot about turf management,” he said. “There were products that I thought were essential but actually didn’t have any impact when I removed them from the maintenance programme. We were faced with a limited budget and we had to look for value in money in products. Evolution Naturelle is one of those products – it is tried and tested, and we have faith in it.”

The process in which Paul decides on which products to use on the course is rather unique. Whether it is scepticism or the perfectionist in him, Paul always insists on trialling the products somewhat closer to home before applying them to his beloved course.

“If there is a product I haven’t used before, I will more often than not trial it on my own lawn in the garden,” he admitted. “Joe Dormer from Agrovista Amenity gave me some samples of the Evolution Naturelle, and I took them home with me. Boy, did it grow! It was the most amazing lawn anyone could ever have and after that I trialled it on the tees at the course. It worked so well that we rolled it out everywhere – tees, aprons, collars, greens, and areas around the bunkers.”

Evolution Naturelle is a premium range of organo-mineral fertilisers designed with a unique mode of action. Poultry based Evolution Naturelle contains essential nutritional elements such as phosphorus (P), potassium (K), magnesium oxide (MgO), sulphur (S) and iron (Fe) which are compounded to the advanced granulation making them available for plant uptake.

In particular Paul relies on Evolution Naturelle’s Sport Spring – which contains three nitrogen sources blended to optimise consistent grass plant response; and Micro Summer – for phased release and a steady growth response throughout the core of the growing season.

Evolution Naturelle keeps Ham Manor healthy

Evolution Naturelle keeps Ham Manor healthy

“They really are our go-to products,” said Paul. “We apply them throughout the season as a base feed and then will liquid feed or foliar feed on top. There are only two or three months where we can’t use them due to the soil temperatures being a bit low, but generally we are able to apply them most of the year. One of the benefits to using them is that we can use them on a wide variety of areas.”

Further benefits of the Evolution Naturelle range include:

  • Low carbon to nitrogen ratio
  • Provides healthy balanced growth due to phased release of nutrients
  • Complexed potassium for slow release
  • Promotes stimulation of bacterial soil life helping reduce thatch build
  • Hardens turf due to cell division and cell extension as a result of ammonium take up
  • No scorch risk due to low salt index when applied at the correct rates
  • Increased tillering for a denser sward
  • Ammonium produces large volumes of root hairs which ensure active up take of micronutrients

“They really are phenomenal,” continued Paul. “The Evolution Naturelle products have been a big driving factor in producing dense, healthy turf that is resistant to divot damage and recovers quickly from environmental factors such as Leatherjacket activity.

“We find that they provide a decent amount of growth without that huge push and they feed consistently for us. They are also a lot gentler than many similar products we have used in the past which is great because over the past few years my focus has been on encouraging soil health. When I started working here, the organic matter was 28% in the top 60mm and now we are around 3.5% and part of that, apart from all the cultural activities and thatch eating products, is the fact we have stayed clear of harsh products. Evolution Naturelle has been part of that process.

“I’d like to thank Joe Dormer for recommending the products,” added Paul. “Being a former greenkeeper, he is very knowledgeable and now he has an incredible range of products in his portfolio. There is a lot of mutual respect between us and I think there are times where we both learn from each other.”

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Quality sand = healthy sports pitches

Quality sand = healthy sports pitches: A high-quality sand is vital to the overall health and performance of a sports pitch and Gary Cunningham, Football & Golf Sales Representative for Mansfield Sand, explains why.

Mansfield Sand has pioneered the development and production of premium silica sand-based products for over 170 years. The company provides a wide range of innovative products for sports, landscaping, and equestrian uses. These include stadium and training ground facilities; championship golf courses and world class show jumping arenas.

Quality sand = healthy sports pitches

Quality sand = healthy sports pitches

With a wide range of sand-based products available, it can sometimes be difficult to know which one will be most suitable. So, what should we be looking for in a good sports pitch dressing?

“Ideally a good quality silica sand dressing, aerated into the surface is all winter sports pitches require,” said Gary. “However, it is important to select the right industry grade of sand which is suitable for sports dressing application.

“A quality washed sports grade silica sand will be graded between 30 and 45 and each grade will be proceeded by two letters which designate the quarry they are supplied from. The lower the number, the coarser the sand is and vice versa – the higher the number, the finer the sand.

“There are also some sands that are unsuitable for winter sports pitches,” continued Gary. “Generally, you need to stay away from fine and coarse/grit sands. Finer/building sand will in effect seal up the surface while coarser products can destabilise the surface over time. Any reputable supplier of sports sand products will be able to provide you with a product grading and technical sheet.

“At Mansfield Sand, we predominately provide two grades of silica sand to the sports market, MM35 and MM40 – which are sourced directly from the company’s Two Oaks quarry in Mansfield.”

Gary spends most of his days travelling up and down the country visiting a variety of sports clubs from world class stadia through to grass roots. The most popular choices are 29 tone and 20 tonne loose tipped deliveries for full pitch dressings and 1 tonne bulk bags for when a little is required for touch up’s and divots.

Gary further explained best practice when it comes to divoting and touch up’s – particularly in goal mouth areas.

“Post-match divoting is best done with a fork by teasing the surface back together with a light dusting of sand to aid surface levels. For bigger deeper scars, a small amount of sandy rootzone mixed with a little seed can be used to add a little body to prevent it being kicked out. As only a small amount/hand full of rootzone are being used, it is possible to ensure it is stone free.

“Goal mouth areas are one such area needing extra attention – no amount of aeration and dressing will stop the grass thinning out on a sand soil surface. In severe situations if wanting to level the surface you can dig out the compacted rootzone and replace with a depth of fresh rootzone or even a reinforced product. If the area is just experiencing general wear, then a normal renovation sand dressing can be OK with an overseed.”

Gary also claimed that there can sometimes be some confusion between a rootzone and a pitch dressing.

“I quite often get asked for a sand soil dressing or a rootzone product to be spread over a pitch, but this always sets off alarm bells as this is not what rootzones are designed for,” he said.

“Rootzones are manufactured products of differing sand soil blends to be used in pitch construction as the growing medium for the grass. Rootzones all contain small stones which when spread over the surface can damage mowing machinery or cause player injury.

Mansfield Sand sieve down to 6mm for rootzone products.”

Gary recommends somewhere between 60-90 tonnes of sand for an end of season renovation on a full-sized playing area but stressed the importance of applying it properly.

“It will be important not to spread to much sand so as not to smother the grass plant or have a lot of sand laying over bare areas. It is good practice is to aerate during the sand dressing process, working the material into the upper rootzone profile.”

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Healthy Water At Millets Farm

Healthy Water At Millets Farm: With two mature lakes covering roughly four acres and home to hundreds of fish, Millets Farm Fly Fishing Club takes its water quality incredibly seriously. So, it’s no surprise it’s turned to Otterbine to help achieve the best water quality possible.

Having installed an Otterbine Fractional aerator last year in one of its lakes and seen vast improvements, the club has now opted to install a second Otterbine aerator which is vital to keeps its waters and fish healthy. Head Squared Aquatics chief executive Giles Head, who recommended and installed the Otterbine aerators for the club, explains.

Healthy Water at Millets Farm

“In the lakes at Millets Farm there’s a high level of anaerobic digestion, whereby bacteria break down organic and biological waste into carbon dioxide, ammonia and methane and this severely reduces the dissolved oxygen in the water. Plus, the lakes were suffering from thermal stratification, which is where the temperature changes at different depths in the lake which trout in particular are very sensitive to. It’s therefore vital to maintain high levels of dissolved oxygen to ensure the waters stay healthy, an even temperature throughout and suitable for aquatic life.”

And never has this been more evident to Giles than when one of the Otterbine aerators was damaged by fishing wire and had to be removed.

“Within just four days the oxygen levels dropped dramatically. Luckily for the fishing club they were loaned a replacement motor unit by Otterbine’s distributor Reesink Turfcare, so they could get the oxygen levels back to where they needed to be while their aerator was being repaired. But it just goes to show how delicate the water balance is and how quickly it can be disrupted.”

And with the poor results the fishing club were seeing with its last aerators, Otterbine has brought a welcome change, says Giles: “The club’s old aerators were only resulting in dissolved oxygen levels of between four and six percent. With the Otterbine Fractional aerators in place, the lakes are up to saturation point, getting the full amount possible.

“That’s why I recommend Otterbine systems,” he says. “I’ve been in the industry for a long time and seen that for every pound spent on an aerator, you’ll get twice as much dissolved oxygen in the water from an Otterbine than anything else. Plus, the customer service from Otterbine and Reesink is second to none.”

With the larger of two lakes at the club now benefitting from two Otterbine aerators, there are plans to potentially install another two in the other lake. Although smaller and served by a spring, and therefore not suffering as much and requiring the same urgent attention as the larger lake, ensuring water quality is the best it can be is very important to the club.

Eric Evans, fishery manager at the club concludes: “After speaking to Giles about the issues we were having, he supplied and fitted an Otterbine aerator after only three days, and within the week dissolved oxygen levels had reached super saturation and completely transformed the lake.

“We are thrilled with the service from Head Squared Aquatic and Reesink Turfcare, particularly with their loan of a replacement unit while ours was damaged, and we thank them both for their continued support.”

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