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BIGGA & Syngenta to host major industry event

BIGGA & Syngenta to host major industry event: This summer will see the return of BIGGA’s popular Continue to Learn Extra webinar series and kicking off the programme of learning is a talk with industry expert Glenn Kirby about the high levels of leatherjackets and chafer grubs that have caused tremendous damage to many courses during the early part of 2021.

A recent social media survey by BIGGA Partner Syngenta found that during 2020 just 1% of UK golf courses reported no damage due to these insects. Hidden below the surface of the nation’s golf courses, leatherjackets are threatening the enjoyment and economic viability of the sport. Of the 400 course managers who responded to the survey, almost all reported that their course was negatively impacted by an infestation of the larvae of craneflies – also known as leatherjackets – and chafer grubs.

BIGGA & Syngenta to host major industry event

BIGGA & Syngenta to host major industry event

On 13 May BIGGA will be hosting an important industry event, when Syngenta Technical Manager Glenn Kirby will explain the reasons behind the damage and why it is important for the golfing industry to unite to support golf club teams during this distressing time.

Extensive damage to sports turf is caused by the larvae feeding on the turfgrass, while predators can also cause significant and widespread damage as they hunt for these larvae. The impact on a golf course can be serious, with increased costs as greenkeeping teams battle against the damage and the potential for large losses in revenue as golfers choose to play at courses that have been unaffected by the pests. However, unaffected courses are increasingly in the minority.

Alongside the webinar, BIGGA and Syngenta will be distributing a white paper to the golf industry that will provide an in-depth study of the situation including its causes, impact and potential solutions and will also be encouraging golf’s leading bodies to share this information to a wide audience.

This Continue to Learn Extra webinar is free to attend for anyone involved in golf club our course management. You can register for this vital industry event online now on the BIGGA website.

Syngenta’s Glenn Kirby said: “My goal when I started investigating the problem of leatherjackets was to get all golf courses to zero damage, as that’s what is being expected of course managers. But it has become increasingly clear to me that we are going to have to adjust our expectations. We all want perfect surfaces year-round, but without additional tools in our armoury I suspect that may not be a realistic goal.”

The ‘Managing the Leatherjacket Challenge’ webinar kicks off a summer of online learning for BIGGA members, with other webinars being hosted from May until September 2021. Taking a leading role will be management expert Tyler Bloom, while other topics for discussion will include golf course ecology, Women and Girls’ Golf Week and representatives of the European Institute for Golf Course Architects discussing ways of making golf courses more appealing to a wider audience. Head to the BIGGA website for more information.

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Ranger EV continues to serve Cannon Hall

Ranger EV continues to serve Cannon Hall: Six months on from the delivery of the Ranger EV to Cannon Hall Farm, Farmers Robert and David and dad Roger are utilising all aspects of their new electric utility vehicle…

Featuring on Channel 5’s Friday on the Farm back in October, the Ranger EV has since become a regular guest star on the show, and behind the scenes too, helping with day-to-day farm life.

Ranger EV continues to serve Cannon Hall

Ranger EV continues to serve Cannon Hall

Robert Nicholson, from Cannon Hall Farm, said: “We’ve been really pleasantly surprised by the versatility of the Ranger and it is used every single day around the farm for various tasks. It surprised us by how brilliantly it handled off-road, it is really good in wet conditions and it makes life so much easier for us as it means we can get anywhere on the land without having any problems.”

At just 147cm wide, the Ranger EV is the perfect utility vehicle for fitting through gates and storing inside a barn or garage. Not only that, its smooth, silent motor means it will not spook any animals whilst in operation.

“We’ve used it way more than we thought we would because it is so adaptable – we have even got a tow bar on it now,” continued Robert. “It is used regularly for transporting animals, for training Pip and for checking the stock in our 125 acres of land. It’s been particularly useful in the snow if we’ve needed to bring any animals back to the farm. We’ve even used it to help Farmer David’s fitness regime – he wasn’t quite ready to pull a lorry so the Ranger EV was perfect.”

The Ranger EV has a 680kg towing capacity, along with 227kg bed box capacity for hauling things like animal feed and tools. Cannon Hall Farm’s Ranger EV has been fitted with a livestock canopy from TFM Engineering, which optimises the cargo bed for carrying livestock and for Cannon Hall Farm’s dog, Pip.

Given to Roger as a late birthday present last year, Cannon Hall Farm’s Ranger EV is well suited as an access-all-areas vehicle around the land with its on-demand all-wheel-drive technology to give it more forward traction when needed – especially helpful in muddy or slippery conditions – as well as ample space in the cab so Roger can easily get in and out.

Spot the Ranger EV on the latest season of This Week on the Farm on Channel 5, and catch up on-demand on My5.tv.

#FridayOnTheFarm

#ThisWeekOnTheFarm

To see Cannon Hall Farm’s latest adventures with their new Polaris Ranger EV, follow them on Facebook, Instagram or Youtube.

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Supaturfman to the rescue

Supaturfman to the rescue: Greenkeeper Mark Piper claims that the SISIS Supaturfman has made a remarkable difference to the green at Maldon Bowling Club in Essex. 

Maldon, one of the most respectable bowling clubs in Essex, was founded in 1908.

Supaturfman to the rescue

Supaturfman to the rescue

Historically, the green itself was maintained by the local Council for several years, but it is now looked after by a small group of dedicated club members. It was the right decision according to Mark Piper, the greenkeeper who oversees the team of volunteers.

“It was time for us to start caring for the green because it was suffering,” said Mark.

“Unfortunately, the Council couldn’t dedicate enough time and it was affecting the playability of the green. As a club we came to this decision and not only has it made sense financially, but it has also improved the quality of the green.”

Mark took on the responsibility at the start of the year and identified which task required immediate attention.

“The green was suffering quite badly from moss,” he said. “This was because it was receiving no aeration at all throughout the winter.”

After researching various aeration machines, Mark came across the SISIS Supaturfman and decided to call the company after being suitably impressed.

“I really liked the sound of the machine, but I wasn’t too sure if we could afford it. After speaking to Dennis and SISIS, they pointed us in the correct direction so we could obtain a funding package. I was obviously delighted, and it was part of an exceptionally good service from Dennis and SISIS.”

Mark received the necessary funding from SUEZ Communities Trust, which enabled him to purchase the SISIS Supaturfman. This independently powered heavy-duty aerator is ideal for the maintenance of bowling greens. Just as Mark recognised, aeration is important for improving drainage, reducing turf compacting, thatch build up and for generally increasing the health of lawns.

Furthermore, it has a maximum working depth of 10cm (4 inches) and a choice of interchangeable tines to provide excellent lawn care when aeration is needed.

“In just a short amount of time, the Supaturfman has made a huge difference to the green,” said Mark. “It is extremely easy to use, and will be used throughout the season for aeration. When I attach the slitter – not only is it quicker than tining, but it also provides aeration with the added benefit of keeping the Poa Annua down – which we normally get a lot of in spring. I would say that I use the machine a couple of times a month, alternating between the solid tines and the slitter every two weeks.

“As the season approaches, I am planning on using the pencil tines once a month and we also bought the hollow tines should we need to do coring in the autumn.”

Supaturfman to the rescue

Supaturfman to the rescue

For those all-important autumn renovations, Mark also purchased the SISIS Truspred – a versatile hand operated spreader and top dresser for the accurate, even application of grass seed or top-dressing material.

With his new SISIS equipment, Mark now feels that the green is currently in its best ever condition.

“All of the members can see the difference already,” he said. “I’m looking forward to using the Supaturfman for the autumn renovations and keeping the green aerated over winter – I am confident that this will raise the standards of the green even more.”

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact SISIS on 01332 824 777 or visit www.sisis.com

For more news, reviews and insightful views, you can follow SISIS on Twitter or Instagram @SISISMachinery and like the company’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/SISISMachinery You can also view the latest SISIS videos by visiting www.youtube.com/SISISMachinery

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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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Gullane and Toro partnership to hit 25 years

Gullane and Toro partnership to hit 25 years: Gullane Golf Club in Scotland and Toro certainly have history. With the latest deal taking it to 25 years, it’s a partnership claimed to have produced putting surfaces as close to perfection as nature will allow. 

That accolade was made about the effect of the Greensmaster TriFlex Hybrid 3420 mowers on the course for the Scottish Open three years ago and with a new machine in the club’s last order, clearly the Toro effect continues.

Gullane and Toro partnership to hit 25 years

Gullane and Toro partnership to hit 25 years

“Toro gave us the attention to detail to create near-perfect conditions. It always has, and it’s why this latest deal takes our relationship to a quarter of a century,” says course manager Stewart Duff.

With three 18-hole courses, Gullane No. 1 carved into ancient links turf, Gullane No. 2 sweeping down to a nature reserve, and Gullane No. 3 with views across Aberlady Bay to the Firth of Forth and beyond, it’s no wonder the club is regarded as one of the most picturesque golf spots in the world. And with a state of the art short game practice area, driving range and children’s course as well, Toro certainly has a lot of area to cover when it comes to maintaining the course. Helping with that is the Groundsmaster 4700-D, which is a like-for-like replacement in the last order from Toro distributor Reesink Turfcare.

Stewart explains: “We split our Toro fleet between the courses as we have so much ground to cover, but there are a couple of machines we use across all three; the Groundsmaster 4700-D is one of those machines. With a cutting width of 12.5ft alongside a high-powered engine it’s incredibly productive.”

And it certainly gets put to good use at Gullane, says Stewart: “In the growing season we have the machine in use five days a week across all the courses, doing three times the amount of work compared to our machines that just work on the one course. So the 4700-D that we had in our last fleet for four years, actually did the equivalent of 12 years’ worth of work – but even then, it was still going strong when we signed the new agreement.”

Joining the Groundsmaster 4700-D and the Greensmaster TriFlex Hybrid 3420 mowers in the last fleet purchase was the Toro Workman utility vehicle and ProPass 200 topdresser.

Stewart continues: “We’re constantly looking at small tweaks we can make in order to get the best possible results and improve the courses for all, and Toro plays a big part in that. For example, we opted for the two Reelmaster 3550-D fairway mowers as the smaller sized cutting units allowed us to follow the contours better, which results in a better quality of cut. The slick tyres on the machines also prevent any turf damage when turning.”

Included as part of Gullane’s tournament support fleet in 2018 were Toro’s GTX electric utility vehicles and they certainly impressed Stewart with him saying at the time he’d be changing his utility vehicles to be Toro based on his positive experience. The arrival of three Workman utility vehicles in the last order sees Stewart true to his word and it sounds as though Toro will be around for many more years to come at Gullane.

Stewart concludes: “The team and I are delighted to have Toro here at the club for another five years; although realistically that’s more than likely going to be another 10 years. We really do feel as though we have the best possible machinery for the courses and with a club that wholeheartedly supports that relationship, I can only see us continuing to invest in Toro in the future.”

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Club continues to invest in technology from Toro

Club continues to invest in technology from Toro: Royal Norwich continues to invest in the latest innovation from Toro. The club in Norfolk has taken advantage of the electric power revolution Toro spearheads with the delivery of an electric Workman GTX-e utility vehicle, alongside the latest pedestrian mower, Toro’s Greensmaster 1026 and is the first club in the country to order Toro’s new NozzAlert Flow Monitoring System with MultiPro 5800 sprayer.

It would have been hard to miss Toro’s meteoric rise in bringing electric and hybrid power to the turfcare market. Off the back of last years’ launch of the first all-electric riding greens mower, the Greensmaster eTriFlex 3370, it’s good to revisit the machine that in a way started it all; the Workman GTX-e utility vehicle, one of the brand’s first triumphs in the electric power arena.

Club continues to invest in technology from Toro

Club continues to invest in technology from Toro

The Workman GTX electric features a 48-volt brushless AC induction drive along with an easily accessible on-board charger, about which estate manager and director at Royal Norwich Peter Todd says: “Toro led the way with the inception of electric power and continues to do so; it’s hard to believe they are still the only brand with a lithium battery electric utility vehicle! By simply removing the lead acid diesel battery in the GTX-e Workman, Toro made this machine much lighter, it’s the equivalent I’d guess of removing a passenger! When running it over fine turf, that’s an important consideration. The battery is sealed for life, there’s less maintenance and performance is better.”

Royal Norwich is the first club in the country to benefit from even more precise spraying. The efficient flow of spray the new NozzAlert provides when installed on Toro’s Multi Pro sprayers is essential for reducing waste and ensuring application efficacy and ideal spraying conditions.

Peter says: “Royal Norwich has been a Toro customer for many years and the reason being is that it has constantly and consistently delivered the quality we need and the innovation we’re after to continually improve the course.”

“I saw the NozzAlert when it launched at the GIS show last year and talked through the new technology with the design engineers on stand. They explained how operators no longer have to judge spray flow based on visibility when using this new bit of kit; instead, NozzAlert delivers continuous monitoring of the entire spray boom and provides both visual and audible alerts if there are any flow disparities. To be told immediately when there’s a blocked nozzle rather than having to wait until your return trip down the fairway appealed then and there!

“Since using the NozzAlerts we’ve become aware of so many advantages that make the vital job of spraying that much easier. It eliminates the chance of spray misses for example and improves the quality of the application.”

The Greensmaster 1026 pedestrian mower is part of Toro’s redesigned classic Greensmaster 1000 series and is new from the tip of its handle to its driveline and chassis. All that remains the same are the patented DPA cutting units, but even that has a modular build to allow the driveline and chassis to be removable for eased servicing.

The reason for this choice was, says Peter for more efficient cutting of the rectangular tee boxes: “Previously we were using a ride-on for cutting the corners and it was a faff and taking too much time,” he says. “We already use the Flex 2120 on the greens and everyone finds it really easy to use and love the telescoping loop handle. The telescoping handle on both makes light work of adjusting for operator heights and handling more user friendly with the loop shape. It’s easy to see more engineering has been brought in with the redesign.”

This approach to having the latest and most innovative turfcare machinery technology is an attitude that spreads across the whole ethos at Royal Norwich as Pete explains: “We’ve always sought to use the most innovative methods. From our greenkeeping facilities which are mostly green – we used recycled materials to build it and PV solar panels to power it. The golf buggies have the latest GPS mapping so we can zone out areas and measure distance to the pin, which means we don’t need markers on the course, and we have Trackman in the practice range providing accuracy stats for players. We’re always on the look-out for the next big thing to make our jobs more efficient and effective and the game more enjoyable for our members.”

And it’s certainly an approach that’s working with membership up by 1,000 since relocating to the new site in 2019.

To talk to someone about Toro technology and how the Toro range would suit your course, call 01480 226800.

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TriCure AD™ & Terafirm™ combo come to the rescue

TriCure AD™ & Terafirm™ combo come to the rescue: With the Jacobean-style mansion providing the backdrop to some of the courses 18 parkland holes, Warwickshire’s Welcombe Golf Club delivers undulations which are a challenge to player and greenkeeper alike.

In charge of the maintenance is Golf Course & Estates Manager Richard Sheldon who, with a rather aged fleet of equipment at his disposal, has turned to a combination of TriCure AD™ and Terafirm™ from Headland Amenity to tackle the issue of water management.

TriCure AD™ & Terafirm™ combo come to the rescue

TriCure AD™ & Terafirm™ combo come to the rescue

Richard’s first task when he joined the club in January 2020 was to assess his inherited fleet of machinery and spotted the notable absence of a deep aerator. “Our greens are constructed using rootzone and have the ability to drain well but due to the lack of deep aeration we were getting very shallow rooting caused by a pan layer, which also affected the distribution of moisture through the profile” explains Richard, who is assisted by a team of three. In addition, when Richard decided to fire up the club’s irrigation system during the first national lockdown, he found that around 90% of the tee sprinklers were broken! Thankfully, his knowledge and experience of Headland’s TriCure AD™ saved the day.

“It was a really hot period and we were seeing a loss of coverage on both the greens and the tees very quickly. We began using TriCure AD™ on the greens, which helped to retain any moisture near the surface, and in turn the roots, but this also penetrated through the pan layer and in just twelve months, the pan effect has gone. Our recent soil samples showed new deeper rooting through the profile. We also used TriCure AD™ on the tees and, alongside getting the sprinklers replaced, this undoubtedly saved the tees.”

TriCure AD™ multi-molecular soil surfactant improves soil surface dry-down and prevents hydrophobic conditions. Its three different active surfactant chemistries mean that it can treat all types of rootzone particles and can be applied at much lower rates (like for like) than competitor surfactants. “We are now applying TriCure AD™ on a monthly basis throughout the summer, on all greens, tees and approaches. In the winter we switch over to monthly applications of Terafirm™ advanced soil penetrant which has been really impressive.”

“Because we try and keep inputs to a minimum as part of our organic matter control, you can just begin to tell when the Terafirm™ is reaching the end of its field longevity and then, after spraying, the difference is quickly noticeable – the greens are firm, dry and free-from puddling. We had some lovely feedback from local Course Managers on the condition of our greens, even following the heavy rainfall we saw in January of this year.”

Richard concludes, “I used Headland products at my previous club and have always been impressed with the results. This is the first time I’ve been responsible for pricing up supplies and, having seen that the Headland products were competitive, we have converted our entire nutritional programme over to Headland over the last 15 months with fantastic results course-wide.”

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Earlestown Athletic look to the future

Earlestown Athletic look to the future: Grassroots football cub, Earlestown Athletic JFC, has ensured the long-term quality and improvement of their four-pitch site, The Hive, with a New Holland Boomer 35 Tractor, Trimax Striker Mower and Sisis Quadraplay from Campey Turf Care Systems.

The Warrington based club has 21 teams from the ages of three to under-17 level, with a vast majority of games played at The Hive. The development of the five-acre site on what was the former St Aelred’s Catholic School field, which over the years was left derelict took place four years ago with the help of funding from The Football Foundation, Corby Environmental and Sport England.

Earlestown Athletic look to the future

Earlestown Athletic look to the future

With that money and a 99-year lease from the council, the club renovated the ground, installed drainage, a modular building with toilets, a kitchen and a car park. To this point, The Hive has become one of the best football facilities in the area, and it is the aim of Chairman, Carl Hollingsworth, that this can be improved thanks to the help of Campey Product Specialist, Ethan Yates, and their new machinery.

“I’ve been with the club for nearly nine years now, mainly as a coach, but it’s only been in the last year and a half since becoming Chairman that I’ve seen a lot more happening behind the scenes than I ever had before,” Carl explains. “It’s been a bit of an eye-opener, with plenty of ups and downs, but thankfully we have a fantastic committee who put the Club first. Between myself, Dave Edwards our Secretary, and rest of the Committee we’ve steered the club through some pretty tough times with the COVID-19 lockdown and the premature ending of last season. Credit also must go to our players families who have supported us throughout.

“During this summer we applied for and received the Pitch Improvement Grant to help us do the maintenance on the fields, and the latest money is from that programme again, but on the equipment side of things and without them we’d be up the creek without a paddle basically, I can’t thank The Football Foundation enough.”

“Our old mower kept breaking down and about two months ago the wheel fell off so we had to source new bolts and a new a wheel head, but the bolts weren’t right, so it fell off again and it was sat in the middle of a field. That really prompted us to push even more for the new equipment.

“Once we realised we could get it, and raise the money we needed, Campey were brilliant in bringing a mower to demonstrate, and Ethan especially has been great. He’s been brilliant in taking my phone calls after work as we went through the process, and on the day, he dropped the machine off, he spent hours going through it with the coaches and me.

“It’s going to get more use because more coaches are willing to use it whereas the old one it was a bit of a no-go area for some of them because they were a bit intimidated by it. Whereas this is brand-new equipment, and they want to use it, which is good because it takes the pressure off me.”

The quality of The Hive has been recognised over the last two seasons with the award of the Warrington Junior Football League Presidents Cup and Alf Holt Cup finals, with the third round of finals also due to be played on the site unfortunately cancelled due to COVID-19.

Whether your club is striving to maintain or improve their pitch quality, Campey can assist you with advice on machinery and provide a full and comprehensive service of consultation and back-up to ensure you get the machinery you need to make a difference for your club.

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New Stillwater club to feature revetted EcoBunkers

New Stillwater club to feature revetted EcoBunkers: Set to open in late 2021, the all-new Stillwater community and golf club will be located in Northeast Florida between Jacksonville and St. Augustine. This 18-hole layout will mark the area’s first new golf course since 2004.

Pete Dye protégé Bobby Weed, fresh off his new golf course build for Michael Jordan at The Grove XXIII, has been commissioned to design Stillwater. Set to debut as a semi-private course and hallmark for developer Lennar Corporation’s 550-home active adult community, the par-71 will stretch about 6,800 yards.

New Stillwater club to feature revetted EcoBunkers

New Stillwater club to feature revetted EcoBunkers

Unique to the area, Stillwater will feature revetted pot bunkers, made possible by EcoBunker’s synthetic bunker edging system. Synthetic grass tiles are built on top of each other to create a layered effect. The end product is a fortified bunker that reduces wind-based erosion and yields a beautiful on-course aesthetic. “Don’t expect a golf course from the past,” said architect Weed. “As the area’s first new course in almost two decades, we are providing Lennar with something distinct and different.”

Bunker maintenance is an intense labour commitment for clubs, and importing sand is expensive. By building revetted bunkers, clubs can keep more sand down while still offering strategic playing options. “We were satisfied using EcoBunker during our renovation at Medalist Golf Club in 2015,” Weed added. “We had a nine-inch rainstorm during construction, and they did not fail. Stillwater will also benefit from EcoBunker with noticeably less time and money spent on bunker maintenance.” Stillwater’s soil is relatively sandy, and thus does not require bunkers to be lined. However, there is sufficient drainage under them. The revetted walls sit at angles between 55 and 75 degrees.

“Revetted bunkers are exceptionally rare in warm season grass environments,” said Richard Allen, inventor and CEO of EcoBunker. “The extreme nature of these climates means that bunker faces can easily be destroyed by heavy rain. Our product helps solve that problem.”

Bobby Weed Golf Design is a leader in building environmentally conscious golf courses. Stillwater will be no exception. With EcoBunker’s support, Stillwater will feature just 70 acres of irrigated turf. Weed has also designed a more flexible layout for the course. It features loops of three, six and nine holes returning to the clubhouse, allowing members to play as their time permits.

To date, twelve holes have been shaped at Stillwater. Grassing should be completed by the end of August, and the course is expected to open by Thanksgiving in November. Stillwater marks an important milestone for EcoBunker in the US, as it has recently changed the channel through which it markets its solution in the country. Allen said: “The EcoBunker system made an exciting entry into the USA five years ago with fabulous projects at Medalist, Secession, LedgeRock and several others. After a period of marketing our product in the USA under a different brand name, we have decided to reinstate the EcoBunker brand, remove the middleman and provide our products and services directly, with all the client benefits that come with that. Stillwater will provide another stunning example of the possibilities of the EcoBunker system and we thank Bobby Weed for the opportunity to use this project as a key part of our re-launch.”

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Can sand dressing provide a solution to worm casts?

Can sand dressing provide a solution to worm casts?: Mansfield Sand has revealed that an increasing number of sports turf mangers are relying on a sand dressing as a solution to earthworm casting.

“After over three decades of greenkeeping and a few years of winter sports turf management, I am fully aware of the frustration caused by worm casts,” said Gary Cunningham, Football & Golf Sales Representative for Mansfield Sand.

Can sand dressing provide a solution to worm casts?

Can sand dressing provide a solution to worm casts?

“Whilst most earthworm activity goes unnoticed and has a role to play in soil management, its activity can have a detrimental impact on managed amenity grass surfaces. Besides being unsightly, it can lead to the deterioration in playing surfaces – allowing weed infestation, less resistance to turf disease and damage to mowing equipment. All of these inevitably also lead to increased management costs.”

Historically, surface casting was controlled by various chemical solutions. However, over recent years these options have been withdrawn from the market due to environmental protection concerns. This has left turf managers looking for alternative solutions to an age-old inconvenience.

There are several great articles and studies which have been published, and in each situation, sand dressing is shown to supress casting worm activity to some extent on managed areas.

Whilst this is not a quick fix and does depend on several factors such as local climate, soil temperature and time of year, what is apparent is that a sustained programme of sand dressing problem areas does reduce casting worm activity. In turn, casts become a sandier loam which can be easily dispersed without any smearing. This will also lessen the material build-up and not cause any issues with mowing equipment.

Mansfield Sand provides two well-known grades of silica sand to the sports market, MM35 and MM40 – which are sourced directly from the company’s Two Oaks quarry in Mansfield.

“Regular topdressing with MM35 or MM40 can help to manage casting worm activity,” continued Gary. “It can certainly help to make it easier once you build up the level of sand in the rootzone.

“Furthermore, using the right grade of high-quality sand is vital to the overall health and performance of a managed sports surface. Therefore, sports facilities that regularly apply sand dressings as part of their management programme, benefit from improved rootzones leading to better drainage and plant health.

“We may never be able to supress casting earthworm activity completely, but more and more turf managers are significantly reducing them by topdressing with sand.”

From winter sports pitches, golf courses, bowling greens and all amenity turf areas – Mansfield Sand has a solution for all, and the products have long been relied upon at stadium and training ground facilities; championship golf courses and world class show jumping arenas.

For more information visit www.mansfield-sand.co.uk

You can also follow the company on Twitter – @MansfieldSand and Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MansfieldSandSportSurfaces/

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