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Gator helps keep the coast clean

Gator helps keep the coast clean: A John Deere Gator utility vehicle supplied by dealer Seamus Weldon Groundcare Equipment to Ireland’s largest Clean Coasts group is adding extra muscle and pulling power to beach cleaning efforts along a 25-mile stretch of the east Cork coastline.

The multi award-winning Clean Coasts Ballynamona Group bought the XUV 855M Gator to help step up its ongoing fight against the scourge of marine litter. Group founder Proinsias Ó Tuama says the vehicle is an essential piece of equipment in tackling the tonnes of litter that wash up on their coastline every year.

Gator helps keep the coast clean

Gator helps keep the coast clean

The Gator has a towing capacity of 680kg and can carry over 450kg of cargo. It is mainly used for helping to pull heavy marine litter such as old, abandoned fishing nets and ropes that wash up on the shore, as well as carrying anything from bags of plastic rubbish to rubber tyres.

Founded in 2015, Clean Coasts Ballynamona is now part of the Sea and Land Trust. It has over 300 regular volunteers that clean and maintain an area representing 1.5 per cent of the total Irish coastline, including two Blue Flag and three Green Coast beaches.

Alongside this effort, the group manages 34 acres of meadowland spread across the county, which is grown to encourage pollinators and wildlife. This is maintained by a John Deere X950R rear discharge/rear collect diesel lawn tractor, also supplied by Weldons. In addition, the group consults with businesses and landowners on biodiversity plans covering a further 600 acres of private and public spaces, so these can be managed more sympathetically to benefit the environment – all free of charge.

“In our first year as a group we lifted 12 tonnes of marine litter on less than a mile of beach at Ballynamona – multiply that up by the entire Irish coastline and you can see the scale of the problem,” says Proinsias Ó Tuama, who is a teacher with the Cork Education and Training Board. “We were using a quad bike and trailer before, which were adequate for the job, but the group is very health and safety conscious so we set about looking for a more effective replacement.

“Having had a good experience with the lawn tractor, it made sense to go back to Michael Weldon at the John Deere dealership, so we sold the quad bike and also got Fisheries Local Action Group funding to help pay for the new Gator and a wider trailer. I’m proud to say we have a 100 per cent safety record to date in the volunteer beach cleaning operation, so the Gator’s proved to be an ideal solution.

“When you’re picking up plastic bottles for example, very often they’re full of sea water, sand and other debris, and this can make the collection bags very heavy to carry safely along a long stretch of beach. This is not ideal, particularly for very young children, so it makes sense to use a four-wheel drive vehicle with a load bed and a decent capacity to carry the full bags back to the beach car park for safe disposal.

“Over the years the group’s been active, we have brought more than 1000 people beach cleaning voluntarily. We’ve always tried to be as inclusive as possible of everyone that wishes to help, and we find kids of all ages get hooked from the start. Educating young people about the environment is a key element of our work and effort, so we liaise with local schools and colleges and are very much engaged with the community.

“Pristine coasts are essential. They are not just very important ecosystems, they are also crucial for the local economy. The addition of this new John Deere Gator has really expanded our beach cleaning capabilities, as well as making the job more efficient and safer for our volunteers.”

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Foamstream helps keep Cornwall streets clean

Foamstream helps keep Cornwall streets clean: Weedingtech’s Foamstream system is helping street and public open spaces cleansing in Cornwall with two Foamstream M1200 systems now being operated in the county.

Foamstream is known to be the most cost-effective and versatile herbicide-free solution for controlling unwanted vegetation and carrying out sanitisation tasks in large green and urban spaces. Its patented low-pressure process combines hot water and biodegradable foam made from natural plant oils and sugars. The active ingredient is the heat from the hot water which the foam insulates to ensure it is maintained and kills or severely damages the unwanted vegetation including weeds, moss and algae.

Foamstream helps keep Cornwall streets clean

Foamstream helps keep Cornwall streets clean

While primarily founded on weed control, Foamstream is also designed for power washing, general sanitisation and chewing gum removal. It is certified organic by the British Soil Association and approved for killing bacteria. As such, it is highly effective for sanitising surfaces and urban cleaning. Optional lances are used in the process, and the eco-friendly system is safe for use around people, animals and delicate environments.

Use of the Foamstream M1200 system ensures minimum environmental impact on Cornwall’s street and public open space weed control and cleansing. The M1200 combines high performance with low-cost operation and fast treatment speed. Mounted on a pickup, flatbed truck or trailer, it comes with a large water capacity and delivers a high flow rate, making it particularly well suited to treating large open areas in urban and rural environments.

For further detail on Weedingtech and Foamstream, please visit: https://www.weedingtech.com/why-foamstream/

You can also see more about how Foamstream works, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4o1ROoBfGxY&feature=youtu.be

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Sports turf grass health struggling to keep pace

Sports turf grass health struggling to keep pace: FairWay Awards has been monitoring the health of sport turf up and down the country using a satellite-based system that reads the amount and wavelength of light being emitted from vegetation.

The ratio of different light wavelengths from vegetation gives an indication of the vigour or distress of the grass canopy: more red light is emitted when grass is under stress. Below is an example comparing a fairway in spring (left) and winter (right).

Sports turf grass health struggling to keep pace

Sports turf grass health struggling to keep pace

Having analysed satellite data from 50 golf courses across Great Britain from 2018, Mike Heisig from FairWay Awards comments on recent findings: “We have been looking at the health of grass by tracking exactly the same areas of sports turf from 2018 to today. This gives good insight into actual changes on the ground. What we have seen at the end of March 2021 is that grass health is gradually lagging further and further behind the levels that we saw at the end of March in 2020. Historic data shows that normally in March we should expect to see a major up lift in grass health as it comes out of the winter period.”

“This year however, much of that did not happen and UK grass health slipped back around 5% lower in March 2021 compared with March 2020. Much of this downturn can be attributed to the South East, which seems to be struggling more with grass health levels than any other part the country.”

“Looking ahead at this time of year we expect to see increasing grass health through March and April, leading to a peak in May. It remains to be seen how far grass will recover through the year and what the knock on effect will be for autumn grass management”

The good news is that there is plenty of time for greenkeepers to fine-tune the agronomy to help close the gap. Satellite grass health data is easily accessible and simple to use with huge benefits for turf management.

2021 may be the ideal year to join the Precision Sports Turf Revolution.

Regular updates on grass health through 2021 at www.fairwayawards.com or follow @FairwayAwards on twitter

Join the Sports Turf Revolution contact Mike Heisig: Mike-Heisig@btconnect.com

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Abbots Bromley Sports Association keep progress going

Abbots Bromley Sports Association keep progress going: Abbots Bromley Sports Association (ABSA) has continued progress on their £1.2million multi-sport facility with the addition of a New Holland tractor, Trimax Striker and quality training from Campey Turf Care Systems.

Plans for the ambitious project began many years ago when Abbots Bromley Cricket Club started looking for a new home, but when in 2013, after finding a 14-and-a-half-acre site, ABSA was created and the vision expanded to encompass multiple sports.

Abbots Bromley Sports Association keep progress going

Abbots Bromley Sports Association keep progress going

When completed the site will be home to the villages cricket, football, netball and tennis enthusiasts as well as being a community hub for other sports. The completion of the second phase of work means senior, and junior football pitches are now ready for play along with the cricket pitch, which is in its third year. Due to Covid-19, both sports are currently on hold at an amateur level, but it is hoped the pitches will be used at some point during 2021.

To continue the progress already made on the project, ABSA needed new equipment to maintain the ground, which led the trustees, chaired by Chris Wood, to Campey.

Chris explains: “We’re very grateful to be able to partner with such a clearly well established and very professional organisation as Campey. We can’t speak highly enough about their input all the way through this process.

“Our Trustee who looks after the ground, Andrew Kirkland, found out about the offer from Staffordshire FA and Campey and brought it back to the trustees and fortunately we were able to take that forwards. It’s true to say we work very well with Staffordshire FA, and their contribution and the funding from The Football Foundation have been significant. Their introduction to Campey has been nothing short of fantastic.

“Prior to the equipment arriving, Andrew and two volunteers were trained on the new equipment. It is important that we have that level of interaction and support so we are able to get the best results for our facility, and from an insurance point of view, it is absolutely fundamental.

“We’re very fortunate that we have a lot of volunteers in our project and we rely on them, alongside a groundsman to provide the best pitches we can create, and it is imperative that we have the equipment that can deliver that outcome as well. And once we’re fully open and have fixtures at the weekend, we can make sure they are all on by having the pitches in good condition.”

Bringing multiple sports under one roof has made this a truly community led project with people in the local area raising over £110,000. ABSA has also utilised funding from Staffordshire Borough Council, their own Parish Council, Sport England, the ECB, the Premier League and The Football Foundation as well as the help and advice of Staffordshire FA.

The next phase of the project will see an all-weather court for tennis, netball and five-a-side football put down, and the development of car parking and the new clubhouse.

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Campey keep EU imports on-time

Campey keep EU imports on-time: Despite the widely reported disruption at ports due to Brexit, Campey Turf Care Systems has maintained their EU import times.

As recently as 26th January machines were collected from Imants in The Netherlands one day and delivered to Campey headquarters the next. This has primarily been due to the work behind the scenes at Campey, with a significant emphasis on maintaining delivery times as part of the high level of customer service expected from the company and customers.

Campey keep EU imports on-time

Campey keep EU imports on-time

Suffering no disruption to date has been down to preparing for the changes as well as keeping on top of COVID-19 protocols, as Campey Director, Lee Morgado, explains.

“We knew with Brexit there would be rule changes and that could have an impact on imports at customs, so we’ve put a lot of work into making sure there are no delays.

“Obviously the circumstances away from Brexit with the pandemic have put a greater strain on the GB-EU border, but that is where we’ve really seen the preparation pay off because we haven’t suffered any unnecessary delays and have been able to stick to our delivery schedules.

“A majority of it has been paperwork based and being proactive as situations change. Doing this means we are now in a place where our customers don’t see a difference. For them, when they order an Imants machine or Air2G2, they still get it when they expect to, which was always our main priority.”

Campey has worked hard throughout the pandemic to ensure that customers at all levels of sport can continue maintaining their turf, whether this is through new Coronavirus protocols or guaranteed delivery times.

Customers who have any queries regarding imports or delivery times are encouraged to contact Campey directly by phone, email or using the contact form an www.campeyturfcare.com.

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Woll GC keep things moving

Woll GC keep things moving: The Woll Golf Course were taking another step forward before the season was stalled due to the coronavirus. Now they are re –setting the membership clock to keep things moving forward!

The Owners of the Woll Golf Course at New Woll Estate were showing great confidence in the golf market with their growing membership at Woll and increasing visitor numbers.  Together this encouraged them to continue with their development of the course over last winter. But now they are having to take bold moves to help their members and ensure the course keeps moving forward.

Woll GC keep things moving

Woll GC keep things moving

The work took on the redevelopment of 2 more greens, the green complexes (surroundings of the greens), new bunkers, 3 new tees and new irrigation, but it doesn’t stop there a number of changes are being made with more new tees coming into play some specifically to encourage the lady golfers. There are also new paths designed to improve movement around the course and help in the winter where the course is able to stay open and playable all year round with normal greens and tees!  Since 2013 16 holes of the 18 hole course have been redeveloped

However now the course is looking better than ever and there are no golfers! Like all the courses in the Borders it is just being looked after by a skeleton staff with essential maintenance until the green light is given to re-open.

Everyone is desperate to welcome golfers back to enjoy it when it is safe to do so and the Owners are trying to help.  They have confirmed to all their members and potential new members that they are  re-setting the membership year – So depending on when restrictions on golf are lifted in the Borders their membership year will restart so no one  loses out.  Essentially existing members, membership year will be extended and new members will benefit from their membership lasting from the date of restrictions lifting for an entire year.

David Brown one of the Owners said
 ‘Up till now Continuing investment and development in the course and all the facilities has seen real benefits with our strong and growing membership.  In the current environment though we are trying to do what is best for members and look to the future.
We are trying to offer the best course, playable all year round and enjoyable and accessible to golfers of all standards.  We are lucky to have such good and hardworking teams throughout the business giving us great end results.  We are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to golf!

Nicholas Brown one of the owners stated
 ‘We believe it is important to actively move forward and ensure we improve all golfers enjoyment of the game with the best course possible and facilities to match, sometimes though it is not all about these large developments but also continued small improvements and robust ongoing maintenance programs and most important of all looking after the members’

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Foxes keep groundsman busy

Foxes keep groundsman busy: A brush with the local fox population is keeping Leeds Rhinos’ groundsman Ryan Golding busy during the coronavirus crisis.

Most of Rhinos’ 150 employees have been placed on furlough, a form of paid leave, but Golding is among a handful still working – and vulpine pitch invaders are giving him plenty to do.

Foxes keep groundsman busy

Foxes keep groundsman busy

“They are a nightmare,” Golding said of the four-legged hooligans.

“They live near the railway track, in all the bushes there.

“On a night, when they are scavenging for food, they come into the stadium and they always dig in the same place on the pitch.

“They are digging bones into the pitch – I am finding bones all the time.”

The urban foxes are sometimes spotted on the terraces after games, which is one reason why cleaning crews are brought in so quickly following the final whistle.

Golding hopes fencing will deter the pests and noted: “It’s a unique problem, with it being an inner-city stadium.

“You

wouldn’t have a problem like that on an industrial site, it’s just another thing we have to deal with.”

On the other hand, the foxes do keep Emerald Headingley’s pigeons – another traditional groundsman’s enemy – at bay.

“They are stalking around the pitch on a night, waiting for the pigeons to land,” Golding reported.

“There are feathers everywhere! On a morning I have to go around picking pigeon carcasses up.

“It is like a war zone, but they don’t go near our feed, fertilizers or chemicals, which is good.”

Even without the foxes, Golding has his hands full restoring the pitch to its usual glory following unprecedented rainfall last winter.

“My assistants have been furloughed, so it’s just me,” he said.

“I am having to look after all the stadium and all of Kirkstall [Rhinos’ training base] on my own.

“It is challenging, but it’s quite enjoyable – it is taking me back to when I was younger, getting my hands dirty.

“It is very negative circumstances, but it is what it is – there’s people dying, so you can’t really moan.”

The last few months have been tough for Rhinos’ ground crew who, as well as looking after Headingley, had to cope with flooding at Kirkstall.

Golding recalled: “We had a record three months of rainfall – around 300-350 millimetres.

“That is a hell of a lot – and it wasn’t necessarily the weather, it was the timing.

“We always seemed to get downpours the night before games and the morning of.

“We weren’t really getting any luck and the game where it turned was the double-header [when Headingley staged Rhinos’ Betfred Super League opener against Hull immediately after Castleford Tigers had faced Toronto Wolfpack].

“We had a lot more rain than expected after the first game.

“I had two choices, to leave it as it is and have a slow surface, or take it on the chin and make it a fast one.”

Rhinos scored 154 points in their three home games after the loss to Hull and Golding added: “People say it looks like a beach, but it plays really well.

“That’s something I had to discuss with the management team, Rich [Agar, Rhinos’ coach] and Kev [Sinfield, director of rugby].

“I am not bothered what people say if it allows us to play fast rugby and get two points.

“That’s what we did, we applied sand quite regularly to make a fast, stable surface to enable the players to gain purchase – rather than it turning into a mudbath.”

The break has allowed Golding time to work on the pitch, but – with no clear indication when rugby will resume – he explained: “I don’t want to throw everything into recovery yet.

“It’s a bit like a finely-tuned athlete, you don’t want to hand it all the supplements and everything it requires now because it’s going to keep needing that.

“It is a sand-based surface so it drains very quickly and leaches nutrients very quickly, so I have to be careful with what I am applying.”

Life won’t get any less hectic for Golding – and his team – when the season eventually resumes.

Midweek matches are likely as Super League clubs race to make up for lost time, but Golding has no concerns over having to prepare the ground for multiple games in a short space of time.

He stressed: “I don’t see it as a bad thing.

“You get some groundsmen who are very much ‘keep off the pitch’, but I wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for the sport so let’s get as many games on as we can and get back to enjoying sport.”

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Woods Batwings help keep Stansted flying

Woods Batwings help keep Stansted flying: Supplied through the Chelmsford based R C Boreham dealership Stansted airport has taken delivery of two Woods heavy duty BW240XHD batwing mowers.

Matt Boreham commented, “we demonstrated the machines and the Stansted staff were impressed with the combination of performance and competitive cost. They will be used to maintain huge areas of grass to prevent vermin and birds becoming a safety risk”

Woods Batwings help keep Stansted flying

Simon Richard UK Sales Agent for the woods range added, the Woods BW240 XHD Batwing is the largest in the range with a cutting width of 6.10 metres and is capable of cutting tall brush and trees up to 7.6 cm in diameter, making it ideal for maintaining both wide areas and roadsides. Features include a double deck built to handle a host of applications, easy to reach quick-change blade pins and a side frame depth of 33.7 cm which handles more material and distributes it evenly.  Greaseable pivot points are located on turnbuckle and axle arms to increase durability and reduce wear.

There are three duties, Standard, Heavy Duty and Extreme in the Woods range. This year has seen a big swing to the Heavy Duty model as many people are unhappy with the durability of competitor machines. Woods offer heavier duty machines with options of single spring, sprung axles or walking tandem axles”

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Keep It Sharp With Toro Blades

Keep It Sharp With Toro Blades: Switch out the old and bring in the new. With grass growth fast and furious make sure you and your machines are ready for high season with Toro’s rotary blades and guarantee a beautiful finish.

Too often, we talk about how important it is to have a good quality mower and forget that, just as important as the mower, are the parts you put in it. Now, with grass growth at its peak, is the time to be vigilant and ensure rotary blades are sharp and ready to deliver the best cut possible.

Keep It Sharp With Toro Blades

Reesink Turfcare’s parts manager Michael Hampton says: “Spring sees greenkeepers tackle large areas of grass much more frequently than other times of the year; activity that can quickly dull rotary blades. Here we look at how to prevent unnecessary downtime and out-of-action machines, with proper maintenance and parts stock planning.”

Maintenance best practice includes checking all blades to ensure they are not twisted or bent as they require more horsepower to operate, damage the turf, create vibration and noise, and shorten spindle life.

Michael comments: “To stay on top of maintenance while mowers are being used more regularly, I highly recommend Toro customers stock up on replacement rotary blades now, rather than waiting until there is an issue. In order to prevent damage to your machine and ensure operator safety, when signs of wear are identified, the blade must be replaced immediately – making on-hand spares extremely useful.”

Choosing blades produced by the manufacturer of your machine is recommended, as is “choosing blades with a toughened steel microstructure to improve wear resistance”, says Michael. “Choosing a generic blade that is not precisely manufactured for the mower may result in poor quality of cut due to incorrect blade angle and height.”

Toro’s precisely engineered blades fit the cutting unit perfectly, but each is carefully crafted to specific turf needs. For example, the ‘No Sail’ (flat) blade is a good choice in high summer working well in very dry and dusty conditions and across areas that are not mowed as regularly, plus these blades make quick work of cutting down weeds.

The ‘High Sail’ is best used early in the spring season when the grass is still thin and wispy or prone to falling over a lot, or if you’re missing grass leaves with other rotary blades.

An ‘Angled’ blade is usually what is supplied as standard with the machine, giving the best all-round cut and the ‘Atomic Sail’ is what’s best later in the season, perfect for mulching up leaves or for use with a recycling deck to mulch the grass.

Genuine Toro rotary blades are designed to work harder for longer, reducing the risk of unexpected wear and breakages other non-genuine parts can suffer. They will not need replacing as often as ‘will-fit’ parts and mowers will deliver a sharper cut for a beautiful finish for longer.

To find out more or place on order, contact Reesink’s parts department on 01480 226870.

For more information, visit: reesinkturfcare.co.uk

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Richard Peel Groundcare keep the water moving at Dyrham Park

Richard Peel Groundcare keep the water moving at Dyrham Park Golf and Country Club: Richard Peel Groundcare has installed sand-banding on 14 greens at Dyrham Park Golf and Country Club to enhance their primary drainage system.

The picturesque Hertfordshire course is renowned for its water hazards, with several placed across the 6,497 yards, but keeping water off the greens is what head greenkeeper, David Hicks was concentrated on.

Richard Peel Groundcare keep the water moving at Dyrham Park

The club had new drainage installed in their greens in 2015 and to make the system more efficient David wanted to use sand banding to link the two systems together, prompting him to use Richard Peel Groundcare’s Imants SandCat for the job.

“We’ve had main drainage installed at a deeper depth on our greens and we just wanted to keep the top surface open, and link the two systems up,” David said. “We wanted to remove the surface water and the sand will aid it getting into the lower drains and prevent any standing water.

“There are four sand based greens here that drain like a sieves so we didn’t have any work done on those, but it did go over 14 of our greens and our putting green which is the size of two greens.

“We’ve had some rain on the course and I’m pleased with how the water has drained through so far, albeit a small amount.”

Richard Peel (contact number is 07930 336594) places great emphasis on having the best machines for the job and this has led to investment in the highest quality possible, in this case the SandCat. “The SandCat offers sand injection to 10-15mm and uses de-compacting blades that cause very little disturbance and have minimal recovery time.” He explains

“Its compact size makes it ideal for greens and tees, and these factors combined are why the 14 greens at Dyrham Park now have consistently draining greens.”

But it wasn’t only the machine that impressed David. He also commended the workmanship and management of the work, which had to be completed during the clubs’ maintenance week.

“Because the project was going on during our maintenance week it was important that we were able to get on with the other work we had on, so it was important for us to be able to leave the operator on his own to work,” David explained.

“The operator, Tom, was a conscientious hard-working lad who picked up our course really quickly and used a good bit of common sense, so we were very comfortable with leaving him to get on with the job.

“I was very happy with the service overall because sometimes you have contractors offer things they can’t deliver, so it was very refreshing to work with a company who delivered on what they said.”

Overall the project took four and a half days to complete, with one day lost due to 51mm of rainfall over 24-hours that stopped all work on the course. However, at a rate of six greens a day all work was completed well within the pre-arranged time frame.

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