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Rare Japanese knotweed hybrid found

Rare Japanese knotweed hybrid found: A team of Swansea University scientists have discovered a rare Japanese knotweed hybrid in south Wales.

Although this could mean further proliferation of knotweed, the Swansea scientists involved believe the discovery could help them develop new ways of managing the spread of this destructive and notoriously difficult to combat plant.

Rare Japanese knotweed hybrid found

The hybrid knotweed, known as Conolly’s knotweed was discovered during a study led by Sophie Hocking, a PhD student funded through the Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS) scheme at Swansea University.  Sophie’s study formed part of intensive research which Swansea University College of Science researchers have conducted over eight years, including the world’s largest Japanese knotweed field trial.  The research has been undertaken in close partnership with Complete Weed Control and Advanced Invasives, a company that has grown from the research.

Sophie said: “We discovered evidence of Conolly’s knotweed during the study, which took place near Cardiff.  Conolly’s knotweed is a hybrid of Japanese knotweed and the common garden plant, Russian Vine. While Conolly’s knotweed is rare in the UK, records of it are increasing across continental Europe.”

Rare Japanese knotweed hybrid found

Sophie said she and the team were surprised to find evidence of the Japanese knotweed hybrid: “Conolly’s knotweed is a bit of a paradox because although it is rare in the wild, it’s the most frequently produced seed found on Japanese knotweed plants in the UK. We didn’t expect to find Japanese knotweed in the seed bank, because plants in the UK come from a single female clone and cannot reproduce successfully without male plants, unless hybridisation with another member of the knotweed family takes place. We actually didn’t expect to find any type of viable invasive knotweed seeds, because it’s extremely unlikely for any to survive wet UK winters.

The fact we did find evidence of Conolly’s knotweed means that hybridisation took place – this could be an important aspect of the Japanese knotweed invasion that we are overlooking.

Japanese knotweed is capable of producing copious amounts of seed when hybridisation occurs. If future climatic conditions become favourable for these seeds to germinate successfully, our Japanese knotweed problem might get worse. A seed bank full of hybrid knotweed could mean a second wave of invasion following treatment of the initial problem.

Finding Conolly’s knotweed in the soil seedbank means that invasive knotweeds may now find an additional means of dispersal.

We are currently looking at the ecology of our Japanese knotweed site to determine whether native plants will regrow after the knotweed has been tackled or whether we need to add new species to restore the habitat. This will help inform a complete best practice for managing invasive plants such as Japanese knotweed, allowing us to move beyond a reactionary approach that has characterised invasive plant management and restoration to date.”

Rare Japanese knotweed hybrid found

The full article is published in Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland News.

For more information, please contact Complete Weed Control’s national office on 01325 324 277 or visit www.completeweedcontrol.co.uk

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Hybrid Pitches To Transform Cricket

Hybrid Pitches To Transform Cricket: SIS Pitches has installed pioneering hybrid cricket pitches at County Cricket Clubs across the United Kingdom ahead of the 2019 cricket season.

The surface installation technology has been developed exclusively by industry experts SIS Pitches and comes as new research reveals it could have significant benefits for players and clubs.

Hybrid Pitches Set To Transform Cricket

The breakthrough has been possible thanks to SISGrass Universal, a compact and 100% electric machine with patented fibre injection technology, which combines speed, mobility and laser precision to deliver high-quality hybrid turf surfaces.

SISGrass hybrid cricket pitches have been installed and trialled in practice net areas and on main ground squares at a number of County Cricket Clubs since 2017.

Together with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), SIS Pitches commissioned research by Dr Iain James, cricket pitch specialist at TGMS Ltd, on SISGrass installed pitches at the Kia Oval, home to Surrey County Cricket Club, designed to provide insight into playability, durability, maintenance and renovation of hybrid wickets.

The report found that the pitches improved surface stability, reduced wear, reduced bowler foot holes and significantly extended hours of playing time. Futher research this summer will be carried out to ascertain whether there is increased pace and carry, and more consistent bounce from hybrid pitches.

The ECB became the first to install two trial wickets using SISGrass technology at the prestigious National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough and they have now approved hybrid pitches for use in the Royal London One Day Cup, Vitality Blast and all formats of second XI cricket for the 2019 season.

The pitches combine a majority of natural turf grass with less than 5% of uniquely engineered, soft polyethylene yarn, a system which has also been used to improve the quality of golf tees, goal areas, tennis courts and pitch surrounds.

Hybrid Pitches Set To Transform Cricket

In addition, repair works after play were reduced with a faster grass recovery time, while the surface remained more than 95% natural turf, meaning it will crucially still behave like a normal wicket.

Chris Wood, ECB’s Pitches Consultant, said: “The ECB is delighted with the incredibly positive results of these stitched, reinforced hybrid pitches to date and feedback from County Clubs has been most profound and encouraging.

“SIS Pitches have demonstrated their willingness through imaginative foresight, attention to detail and technological development towards converting a notion into reality which through the ongoing research since conception.

“This product has the potential to be a real gamechanger for the future of cricket, particularly in the lucrative, limited over, whiteball form of the game through increased usage and possible freeing up of central TV pitches, most importantly, without sacrificing quality over quantity.

“I’m aware that many clubs and indeed international governing bodies are viewing the ongoing progress with increasing interest.”

Weighing less than two tons and standing at 1.20m wide and 2m in length, the SISGrass Universal machine provides quick, accurate and flexible stitching, with different depths and spacing using precise laser guidance making it a practical solution for groundskeepers who are challenged to maintain uniform grass quality in high-wear areas.

One 10ft cricket pitch strip contains approximately 190,000 individual stitches of SISGrass fibre, made up of 46kg of yarn, totalling 38km, and can be installed in just five hours using SISGrass Universal.

After installation, pitches are maintained for a minimum of eight weeks to allow the profile to settle and for all holes to close and anchor the SISGrass fibres.

Phil Blackwell, SISGrass Director in the UK, said: “Some of the world’s biggest professional rugby and football teams have already seen significant benefits from the introduction of our hybrid pitch technology, and SISGrass Universal has the potential to transform the maintenance and durability of cricket pitches.

Hybrid Pitches Set To Transform Cricket

“We’re excited to see the impact it’s already having in the UK and anticipate demand from cricket clubs around the world.

“Our research and feedback from clubs and ground staff has been extremely positive so far, and our hope is that in the future hybrid pitches can be used as an alternative option to traditional wickets for practice and short formats of the game.”

Following successful trial installations, and positive feedback from players, coaches and ground staff, the demand for hybrid cricket pitches has increased with many of the top county cricket grounds choosing to have between two and six installed.

Hybrid cricket pitches have now been installed at Surrey, Lord’s, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Glamorgan, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Durham, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and at Loughborough University.

Watch the SISGrass Universal cricket pitch installation at The Oval, Surrey County Cricket Club

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Hearts Install New Hybrid Pitch

Hearts Install New Hybrid Pitch: Leading Scottish football club Heart of Midlothian Football Club has upgraded its famed Tynecastle Park in Edinburgh with a new state-of-the-art hybrid pitch thanks to Aggregate Industries’ drainage stone, sand and rootzone.

Having used a natural grass pitch and without a full pitch replacement in over 20 years, Heart of Midlothian Football Club wanted to significantly invest in a state-of-the-art pitch that would give the first team the best playing surface possible.

Hearts Install New Hybrid Pitch

Keen to invest in a robust pitch that will serve players and fans alike for years to come, Heart of Midlothian Football Club opted for the installation of a new £1m hybrid pitch combining natural grass with synthetic reinforcing fibres. The pitch includes a comprehensive piped drainage system, stone layer, base sand and rootzone layer, along with an entirely new irrigation system and upgraded undersoil heating system.

Working with main contractor Carrick Sports Construction and surface specialists STRI, Aggregate Industries was tasked with supplying high-quality drainage stone, sand and rootzone on an incredibly tight schedule. One of the main challenges included working within a restrictive traffic management plan and driving through narrow roads due to residential, commercial and school buildings surrounding the site.

An investment of this level demands the highest level of performance, hence the Aggregate Industries team at Levenseat Quarry in West Lothian suggested the use of a bespoke mix of solutions. This included ProPitch Root Zone, a blend of quality screened topsoil and the firm’s ProPitch 25 medium-fine silica sand, to produce a high quality growing medium as well as the best aggregates for drainage.

During a four-week construction programme which commenced on 10 May 2018, Aggregate Industries delivered 1,800 tonnes of ProPitch Rootzone to create a 100mm top layer, 1,800 tonnes of ProPitch 25 to create a 100mm middle layer and 1,500 tonnes of 2-6mm aggregate to create a 100mm bottom layer for drainage.

With precise planning and working collaboratively with all project partners, Aggregate Industries was able to achieve consistent and punctual deliveries throughout the project, helping Heart of Midlothian Football Club create the most precision-managed pitch in the world – on-time and to budget, while receiving glowing customer feedback in the process.

Hearts Install New Hybrid Pitch

Stewart Aird, Managing Director at Carrick Sports Construction, comments: “We were delighted to work with Aggregate Industries on this project as the team’s technical knowledge coupled with high-quality materials proved second to none. I’d also like to thank them for their excellent delivery service – the tight timeframe meant there was no room for delay and our suppliers had to deliver on time while observing a restrictive traffic management plan – and Aggregate Industries managed this well.”

Duncan McCool, sales manager at Aggregate Industries, said: “As one of the most high-profile pitch construction projects in Scotland, using the best quality materials is essential to creating a hybrid pitch that will truly stand the test of time. We are delighted that our bespoke mix of drainage aggregates, sand and rootzone, as well as precisely scheduled deliveries, were able to meet the unique specifications of this ambitious scheme.”

For further information, please call Levenseat Sands on 01525 237911 or email scotlandsales@aggregate.com

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GrassMaster’s Hybrid Solutions At SALTEX

GrassMaster’s Hybrid Solutions At SALTEX: GrassMaster Solutions, the hybrid grass division of Tarkett Sports, continues to lead the hybrid sports grass industry since 1989. Their expertise has been used on more than 700 pitches worldwide of which 15 are football clubs within the English Premier League and 15 pitches used in past World Cup’s.

The stitched hybrid grass system GrassMaster contains 100% natural grass, reinforced with 20 million in-house produced High Performance PP fibres with a proven lifespan of 15 years and more. The natural grass roots entwine with the fibres building a stronger and healthier rootzone, ensuring an always even and stable surface with a fast recovery.

GrassMaster's Hybrid Solutions At SALTEX

PlayMaster is the carpet-based hybrid technology that provides a horizontal reinforcement that offers fast installation and instant playability. This system gives extreme flexibility for multifunctional venues.

Both systems offer a tailor-made solution for the requirements of professional stadiums, training pitches and multifunctional venues.

To help extend the lifespan of a hybrid pitch, GrassMaster Solutions also employs in-house professional pitch consultants to offer product specific training, guidance or assistance with the aim of maintaining a perfect pitch, anytime and anywhere.

Visit our stand E190 and discover our hybrid grass systems and interesting references while meeting with our professional and dedicated team.

More info on www.grassmastersolutions.com

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Lords Set For Hybrid Pitch

Lords Set For Hybrid Pitch: The cricketing venue of Lord’s is revered as the Mecca of Cricket. The ground is arguably the most iconic venue in the world cricket. Every cricket aspirant wishes to play at the ground at least once in their lifetime. The ground officials and the administrators also ensure that they keep the venue updated to the newest trends.

In the recent times, there has been a lot of talk about using the hybrid pitches in cricket. Last season, the County Club of Warwickshire had expressed their plans of using these hybrid pitches for some matches in the future. And now, as per the reports in Sky Sports, the Lord’s is in process of having a partly synthetic pitch installed on the grandstand side of the iconic pitch square at the venue.

Lords Set For Hybrid Pitch

This pitch, when completely installed, could potentially be the first ever artificial surface to host a County match. However, it is being speculated that the wicket will predominantly be used for practice and the minor games. For now, the surface could host the limited overs matches of Middlesex. However, it is not allowed to host the international matches or First Class matches. This is because of the reason that the artificial surfaces are not sanctioned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) yet.

What are hybrid pitches?

Hybrid pitches are common in football. The iconic Wembley Stadium uses this technology. About 90 per cent of the pitch will be grass. But in addition to that, the pitch will also have plastic yarn which will be inserted into the ground using a laser-guided stitching machine, helping to bind the grass roots together. Edgbaston already uses a synthetic pitch on the edge of the square at their venue.

They had installed the same in the end of the 2016 season. Meanwhile, the Worcestershire club uses these hybrid surfaces in their nets. If Lord’s gets these hybrid pitches, then it is expected to be a historic move. Many other clubs could follow the move after witnessing the developments at the iconic venue.

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Warwickshire’s Hybrid Experiment

Warwickshire’s Hybrid Experiment: Partially artificial cricket pitches could be used for matches as early as the 2019 season if testing progresses well.

Warwickshire have already laid a hybrid pitch – containing strands of plastic – on the edge of their square and hope to play some age-group or second XI cricket on it in the coming season to gain a further understanding of its characteristics. If those tests go well, they could lay another such pitch somewhere near the middle of the square before the end of the year.

Warwickshire's Hybrid Experiment

There are several potential benefits in the use of hybrid surfaces. For a start, they show little signs of wear which could render them ideal for multiple use. With the demand on pitches becoming unsustainable at some grounds – especially the pitches in the centre of squares which are favoured by television broadcasters – it could ease the pressure substantially.

It also appears (on the limited evidence collected so far) that hybrid surfaces offer more pace and bounce than many county pitches. Several England bowlers – notably Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes – bowled on the pitch ahead of the day-night Test at Edgbaston in 2017 and found it offered greater carry than might have been anticipated.

While there are also some down sides – the pitches are unlikely to deteriorate so might be deemed unsuitable for first-class cricket and adding top dressing eventually hides any trace of the plastic implants – it is thought the surfaces could prove suitable for T20 cricket, in particular. Every game in the new-team competition – due to start in 2020 – is to be televised, meaning the demands on groundsmen (and their surfaces) could become especially onerous.

While Warwickshire are currently the only first-class county to have laid such a pitch, Worcestershire used one in the net area last year with excellent results and there are also trials on-going at the ECB’s performance centre in Loughborough. The groundsmen at both Edgbaston and New Road are happy to share their findings with their county colleagues.

The cost of such surfaces is currently between 7,000 to 10,000 – many times cheaper than a drop-in option – and it is hoped they have a lifespan of up to 10 years. Neither Worcestershire or Warwickshire is thought to have been given any extra funding from the ECB for the trials.

Warwickshire will require dispensation from the ECB to use such a surface at county level. Groundsmen, who see their every surface rated and reported, may also require confirmation they will face no sanctions if the tests result in an unsatisfactory surface.

While stressing these are early days in the testing process, Barwell, confirmed the potential of the surfaces.

“Building on the excellent work of Tim Packwood, the Worcestershire groundsman, it looks as if the surfaces last longer and come back quicker,” Barwell told ESPNcricinfo. “We need to progress in a methodical way and, in an ideal world, you might to like to test the pitches over two or three years.

“But if there are no restrictions and everyone agrees on the element of risk, it is possible we could have a trial game this year, put in another pitch nearer the centre of the square and play a [first-class, List A or T20] game on one in 2019.”

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