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Meet the Grower

Meet the Grower: Turfgrass Growers Association – Meet the Grower

Stephen Edwards, Inturf

How long have been growing turf for? (including any history facts/ old pictures)

We have been turf growing for 36 years, and it all started with 50 acres, we now produce well in excess of 2000 acres or more than 800 hectares in new money. My father Derek Edwards worked with another turf growing company in the late seventies and early eighties, and helped shape the face of the cultivated turf industry into what it is today, but wanted to carve his own path in the sportsturf World. This was extremely successful, customers included; the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTCC) in Wimbledon, Wembley National Stadium, and many Famous Golf Courses. Since then, we have mechanised and now supply nearly all of the national DIY chains, various Building Merchants, and many Open Championship Golf Courses. We also grew turf in Northern France in the 1990’s from where we re-turfed the Parc des Princes, Paris using our patented ‘turf tile’ and ‘thick-cut big roll’ systems; pioneering systems which were adopted by a handful of other turf growers across the UK and Europe and helped numerous football clubs re-turf during the playing season. We also introduced the ‘standard big roll’ turf format in 1991, and by 1992 no other turf grower anywhere in the world was using this so ubiquitously as Inturf!

Meet the Grower

Meet the Grower

The Team (tell us a bit about your team and what they do in your business)

We have a very dedicated team at Inturf, the majority of whom have been with us for many years, 30 years plus in a few cases, and we are hiring new recruits regularly to keep pace with an inexorable increase in demand for our turf. As the business grows, we will require more and more staff to drive the latest technology and to occupy the growing office.

Employee training and engagement are key markers to retain staff and for success, and we leave no stone un-turned in the respect. Valuing staff is a priority for Inturf.

What is your proudest achievement (within turfgrass work that you have done)?

There are many, however, I think the proudest moment was re-surfacing ‘Centre Court’ at the AELTCC in August 1997. My brother (Alex) and I completed this work behind closed-doors for the club during a very long hot summer. Nearly every court had been re-surfaced using our custom-grown-turf service (another first in the turf world), either before or following the centre court re-turf… to my knowledge, this had not been undertaken before or since our time working with the AELTCC, which spanned circa 20 years.

Why do you love producing turfgrass?

Most importantly, turf is good for our planet… socially, environmentally, and economically and generally speaking the people who operate within the industry are down to earth and helpful. We have an amazing manicured 2000-acre plus garden too, so we benefit from the abundance of positive health benefits turf offers – for instance; it’s noise reductions qualities, flood defensive applications (it reduces water run-off), it has a high efficacy of carbon capturing, in fact, better than any tree per square metre of plantation and turf really does have the ability to calm even the busiest of minds… just try walking on your natural lawn in bare-feet… wearing footwear is an exclusively human characteristic!

What is your favourite piece of equipment or machinery on your turfgrass farm?

It has got to be the turf harvesters, albeit they are temperamental, they cut 4 million square metres of natural turfgrass every year, and without them, we simply could not grow the business in the way we have… hats-off to the Americans for this technology!

If you had one piece of advice for turfgrass customers, what would it be? (can be laying tips, watering tips, choosing the right turf etc)

Prior to turfing; get the ground preparation right by following our ‘online’ advice and easy steps or call a trusted landscaper, lay the turf as quickly as possible (preferably on the day of delivery) and water it well until it is rooted to approximately 100 mm or 4 inches and for no longer than 28 days.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the future of the turf growing industry?

In the short-term, artificial turf has become more ubiquitous and the money and marketing behind the carpet manufacturers is matchless. That said, I think that in the medium to long-term, we have to be careful not to ‘over-cook’ the current high demand for natural turf by using quicker growing methods, such as using plastic netting, which isn’t good for the environment and will only serve to offer the artificial turf producers more ammunition and indeed mitigation against using natural turf in the future… oh, and another global pandemic, because next time, we might not be so lucky!

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For sustainability, meet the EPG

For sustainability, meet the EPG: Senior Environmental Consultant Dr Tom Young introduces the newest member of the STRI family, The Environmental Protection Group (EPG), and takes a closer look as to how the new partnership can help manage water at sports facilities.

The Environmental Protection Group (EPG), established in 1998, is a leading independent geo-environmental engineering design consultancy delivering cost-effective, sustainable designs focused in the areas of contaminated land remediation and gas protection, sustainable water management, flood risk assessment and structural waterproofing.

For sustainability, meet the EPG

For sustainability, meet the EPG

STRI and EPG have been working closely with one another since 2010 when the two companies worked together on a number of London 2012 Olympics projects. It was formally announced in August 2020 that STRI and EPG had joined forces and EPG is now part of the STRI Group.

Figure 1

Figure 1

EPG has a huge amount of experience in water management plans, site-wide drainage schemes and sustainable water harvesting. Coupled with STRI’s agronomic, research and design capabilities, the Group now has the ability to further assist sports facilities. In particular, EPG has vast experience in designing Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), which are now more commonplace and often required as part of any planning conditions. EPG was actually co-author of the CIRIA SuDS Manual, a key piece of industry guidance, which is the go-to document for any SuDS engineer.

Harvesting water from buildings

  • STRI and EPG can accurately model and predict volumes of water that can be collected from buildings, which can be easily collected and stored for later reuse
  • This solution can be ideal for small sports facilities that currently rely on mains water
  • Water collected can easily be incorporated into a small-scale irrigation system with the pump station preferentially using collected rainwater before mains water
  • In the example in
    Figure 2

    Figure 2

    Figure 1, a small cricket club in London could potentially harvest nearly 270m3 a year from their clubhouse roof and 400m3 a year from the club car park. This could potentially reduce the club’s mains water requirements by 20-50%. The design of the storage tank is critical in these situations; in order to provide a cost effect solution, but to also be large enough to take advantage of large storm events

Harvesting water from whole sites

  • STRI and EPG can also produce much larger water models for whole sites. This allows us to predict:
    a) how much water falls across an whole site and when
    b) where this water ends up
    c) how much of this water can be transported and stored for later reuse
  • This detailed approach is very much cutting edge, with STRI and EPG optimising hydraulic models based on experience from other sectors and making them appropriate for sports turf situations
  • Key issues to consider include detailed analysis of site drainage systems, rootzone composition, = effect of vegetation on runoff and effect of climate change on future rainfall events
  • In the case study shown in Figure 2, STRI and EPG were able to accurately model the entire drainage network of an 18-hole golf course
Figure 3

Figure 3

  • It was found that an average volume of 3750m3 a month was potentially available for the club once local topographical issues, losses in ground infiltration and inherent water capture by
    vegetation were taken into account
  • With a current demand of 10,000m3 a month, water harvested from the course easily accommodates all the club’s irrigation demand, and also allows the club to seriously look into the addition of fairway irrigation
  • Runoff from the winter when demand is low can be stored to create a surplus of water for the summer when the irrigation demands are at their peak. Therefore, the club would require a reservoir largeenough to not only meet demand throughout the year but also to build up surpluses during the winter
  • The club is now looking into the concept in more detail, with STRI and EPG supporting with detailed designs, reservoir sizing and help with Environment Agency permission

Flood risk Assessments/ mitigating effects of flooding

  • In some situations, flooding of certain areas of buildings is problematic and STRI and EPG are required to design sites to accommodate water from elsewhere
  • EPG is very experienced in running detailed Flood Risk Assessments (FRA) for sites and then designing solutions if flooding is predicted
  • In Figure 3, a site was predicted to undergo serious flooding on a regular basis. EPG was able to mitigate against this by designing the site to accommodate water elsewhere. This was achieved by a simple depression across the site that could accommodate additional flood water (Figure 4)
Figure 4a & 4b

Figure 4a & 4b

Green/Blue roofs

  • The runoff from most new buildings needs to be slowed down in order to reduce the amount and speed of runoff from the building. This can be achieved via the use of rainwater storage tanks as shown in Figure 1. However, sometimes it is more appropriate to store the water on the roofs of buildings (for example in more built up areas or when excavation for tanks is expensive). This can also be combined with vegetation of a roof. Known as Blue (storage of water), Green (vegetation) or Blue-Green (water storage with vegetation) roofs, this method can really improve the look as well as environmental credentials of most buildings
  • In the example given in Figure 5, STRI and EPG were tasked with reducing the runoff from the roof of a new building, whilst storing the water for later reuse in irrigating large planters placed on the roof to provide screening for the building
  • The innovative design stored water across the entire roof level in a shallow modular tank (85mmdeep) which was located across the entire roof slab removing the need to have a large storage tank located in the development boundary. Each roof on the building is connected so once one tank is full, it cascades into the one below
Figure 5

Figure 5

  • Underneath the planters, subsurface irrigation ‘wicks’ were installed to passively wick water from the shallow storage area into the rootzone above. This provides sufficient water for the plants to survive, whilst reducing the need for potable water across the site
  • The design allowed the site engineers to save significant amounts of money by removing an entire large soakaway tank (50m x 4m x 2m)

These examples only demonstrate a small amount of the joint expertise that the two companies have now combined. If you are interested in any of the problem-solving methods discussed, please get in contact with Tom Young at tom.young@strigroup.com

Reproduced from the STRI Bulletin, September 2020, with thanks.

Meet the latest Corvus family members

Meet the latest Corvus family members: “Two more significant pieces in the Corvus UK 4×4 utility dealer network jigsaw are complete.” Says Phil Everett, MD of BOSS ORV, the UK distributor of the Corvus Terrain range.

A big welcome to the family is extended to Colin Catley and all his team at Catley Engineering in Leicestershire, and to RHS in the North East of Scotland. Both dealerships will be selling, supporting and servicing the Corvus Terrain range of utility Side by Side vehicles.

Meet the latest Corvus family members

Meet the latest Corvus family members

Based in the Leicestershire village of Peckleton, Catley Engineering has been supporting the local agricultural industry for almost a decade, offering a whole range of services in the sale, repair and servicing of tractors and agricultural machinery. “Our passion is providing the highest quality engineering and machinery sales at great value for money.” Says Colin Catley.

“It’s great to have such a professional and customer service orientated company join the future of UTVs.” Says Phil.

Meet the latest Corvus family members

Meet the latest Corvus family members

North of the border, RHS is a family run company established in 1995 with a depot and 24- hour on-site service specialising in hoses and hydraulic systems together with a specialist ATV centre. “I am absolutely delighted to announce that RHS Ltd is the latest member of the Corvus family.” Says Phil. “I have known and worked (on and off) with Neil, Heather and Iain for over 25 years so I fully understand the exceptional levels of customer support and service levels they will bring to our dealer network. If ever the old adage of ‘you could eat your dinner off the workshop floor’ applies to anywhere it is here. It’s great that they are now embracing the future with Corvus UTVs and also by bringing in Fraser Reid (in photo) to fully secure the future of RHS.”

For more information about the Corvus Terrain range, you can call 01597 810188, E-mail: sales@bossorv.co.uk or visit www.bossorv.co.uk

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AriensCo meet Lawn Care Legends

AriensCo meet Lawn Care Legends: AriensCo collaborated with Kawasaki Engines Europe on 30th January 2020 to host a dedicated day for lawncare professionals from the online community Lawn Care Legends.

Members of the Facebook group visited the company’s UK Headquarters in Great Haseley, Oxfordshire. The day consisted of an introduction to AriensCo, its history and the brands it manufactures and distributes. This was followed by product demos of the Ariens zero-turns, ECHO outdoor power equipment, and Countax and Westwood garden tractors, complemented by workshops on machinery maintenance from Kawasaki Engines Europe and ECHO Tools UK.

AriensCo meet Lawn Care Legends

AriensCo meet Lawn Care Legends

The attendees were given a factory tour of the new zero-turn production line – the first in Europe – giving them the chance to see precisely how Ariens zero-turns are manufactured and assembled. A series of demonstrations followed, with the opportunity to try products from the existing range of Ariens zero-turns, including IKON X, APEX, and ZENITH as well as two prototype machines.  A range of petrol and battery-powered tools were displayed in the ECHO mobile demo unit, including the new CS-2511WES chainsaw and the PB-8010  power blower as well as a selection of professional brushcutters and hedgetrimmers. These were all available for demonstration. A zero-turn challenge, with prizes for the three lowest scores, was run and saw many eager participants battling it out, manoeuvring zero-turns around a series of cones, to take the three top spots.

“The day offered the perfect opportunity to demonstrate to attendees from Lawn Care Legends that Ariens and ECHO offer a wide range of products in the outdoor power equipment and arborist marketplace for commercial operators,” said Darren Spencer, Vice President EMEA and Asia.

The day ended with a Q and A session and industry updates, with discussions amongst attendees including new products and future industry considerations for 2020.

“Events like this show the value and importance of relationships between manufacturers and end-users,” said John Ryan, founder of Lawn Care Legends, “everyone came away feeling uplifted by the experience.”

The members’ positive outlook on the Ariens zero-turns was accentuated by the demos and seeing first-hand the craftsmanship of the manufacturing at the UK factory. The same can be said for the ECHO product offering and the quality of the tools manufactured in Japan and distributed by AriensCo. There was excellent feedback from everyone who attended the day and they are excited to come back next year! If you would like further information on Ariens zero-turns visit https://www.ariens.com/en-gb/lawn-products, ECHO products visit https://www.echo-tools.co.uk/ or call 01844 278800.

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Meet Mowing Challenges Head On

Meet Mowing Challenges Head On: The unique 50:50 articulated steering makes the Park Pro Front cut mowers agile, perfect for large complex areas where manoeuvrability is tight around rocks, trees, corners and confined spaces.  4-wheel drive, power steering, electric height of cut and a range of other professional features come as standard.  The RAC Quick Connect system allows you to switch implements in minutes.  No tools are needed – just click them on and off!  With a selection of seasonal implements ranging from sweepers, snow blades, flail mowers, rakes and carts these mowers are truly versatile.

Visit www.stigalawnmowers.co.uk for more information.

Meet Mowing Challenges Head On

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Rigby Taylor Help Course Manager Meet Expectations

Rigby Taylor Products Help Course Manager Meet All Expectations – Whatever The Weather: Apart from weather patterns that nowadays often mean the seasons seemingly merge into one another, one of the biggest challenges facing Course Manager Justin Robinson is coping with the large temperature differences that he sees at different holes on the Henley-on-Thames Golf Club.

“It’s not unusual to record 6degC variations, on the same day, at different tees and greens due to the topography of the course”, he says. “But after 24 years here and knowing how to vary the treatment of the different greens and tees so that we ‘work with the weather’ – plus help from some world-class amenity supplies – we get things right, despite the vagaries of mother nature.”

Rigby Taylor Help Course Manager Meet Expectations

Justin ‘gets it right’ by inspecting the course every day, deciding exactly what is needed and when by every green and tee. He also works hand-in-hand with Rigby Taylor’s area sales director, Gareth Acteson, to instigate a best-in-class nutrition (spring) and fungicide (autumn) programme of turf care.

“I’ve been utilising Gareth’s knowledge for the past six years or so and the course has definitely benefitted. Based on our twice yearly soil analyses, we plan a treatment programme and I use a range of Rigby Taylor products to give me what I want and when I need it.” He also insists: “I always buy everything I use on a cost versus benefits basis.”

Justin admits that club members ‘play with their eyes’ so first and foremost he ensures the greens look lush and his choice of amenity supplies reflects this quest for top-class presentation.

He continues: “Our agronomist is this year suggesting we incorporate more bent (Rigby Taylor’s 105 browntop bent) grass species on the greens and while this plan will take at least two/three years before we see the full effect, in an attempt to stress the poa annua we have this year applied only one granular and one liquid feed between April and July.

“We’re trying to get the finer grasses on the tees and aprons; often in areas where they wouldn’t normally survive. It is difficult to get dwarf perennial rye to ‘take’ on the tees; the grass is simply not large enough to take that level of play.

Also in an attempt to improve the push-up greens (and the tees and aprons), after the members had spent all year round, due to a mild winter, playing the traditional summer course, Justin implemented a concerted programme of coring, tining and overseeding (with Rigby Taylor’s R105 treated with Germin-8, a unique treatment that stimulates and supports accelerated germination and emergence) plus liberal doses of sand – he often distributes about 100 tonnes throughout the course – “and the course very quickly recovered”.

Justin, plus six full time greenkeepers as well as part-time help from July through to September, keep the greens at 3.5 mm or occasionally down to 3 mm for competitions (and roll them three times a week), while the tees and aprons at maintained at 8 mm (10 mm in winter) and fairways at 15 mm (18 mm in winter) in the quest to consistently produce “true and pure greens” across the 18-hole course.

While Justin says he “loves producing a good golf course for the members”, he points out that course presentability plays a key role in meeting members’ aspirations. This is where Rigby Taylor has been a great help, he says.

“For example, we were having a lot of problems with daisies – being on chalk we always struggle to control these – and Gareth suggested I try the Crossbar selective herbicide. I was blown away by the results!

In addition to the Propel R wetting agent (applied in monthly liquid applications as well as tablet hose-end spot treatments), SeaQuest 100% concentrated seaweed extract is applied for added stress tolerance.

Activate XL biostimulant is also used to assist in the breakdown of organic thatch matter and increased microbial break down; indeed, both biostimulants are used all year round, especially at renovation time to help the establishment of new seed.

Justin also uses a variety of Rigby Taylor fertilisers which, he confirms, “are second to none, including Apex and especially PolyPro which I use on tees, surrounds and fairways”. The micro-granule PolyPro, for consistent, predictable and gradual release, features added calcium and magnesium for improved turf disease tolerance.

“At the end of the day,” Justin adds, “our players want the course to look good and play well. My job is to ensure that is the case, and I will utilise all my experience – and use any products necessary – to give the players exactly what they want.”

For more information, visit: www.rigbytaylor.com

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