Tag Archive for: university

Green-tech transforms University of York campus

Green-tech transforms University of York campus: The University of York has a “Campus for the Future” masterplan which includes delivering a major 1480-bed student accommodation project. The £130m flagship scheme, which has transformed the Heslington East Campus began in November 2019 and has recently been completed. 

The location was chosen to strengthen the link between Campus East and Campus West while maximising views of the lake and surrounding parkland. The student accommodation project will help to meet the news of its expanding global student body as well as aid with the university’s student recruitment strategy.

Green-tech transforms University of York campus

Green-tech transforms University of York campus

Palmer Landscapes was awarded the landscaping contract to create green areas for the students to enjoy and to bring their outdoor space to life. This was achieved by planting tens of thousands of shrubs and hundreds of trees, spreading 10,000 sqm of seeding and turfing all the green spaces.

Green-tech has a long-standing relationship with Palmer Landscapes and supplied all the machine round tree stakes, tree belting, and blocks, MONA irrigation systems, and bespoke grass seed mixes that were used throughout the project.  We also supplied the underground anchor systems and gator watering bags to stabilise and irrigate the trees.

Green-tech is the largest UK supplier of tree planting materials and sundries. The machine round tree stakes used for this project have been treated with Green Osmose AE500 to guarantee longevity and were used with cross bars and belting which secure trees to help reduce tree damage or movement from the wind until roots have established. Green-tech’s Mona Relief Tree Irrigation watering systems are an essential tool to guarantee the success of urban planted trees and shrubs. Lack of water at the tree’s root ball can be detrimental to the lifespan and survival of the tree. The Mona Relief is a robust unit that delivers water straight to the roots of the tree. Installed with a perforated pipe that surrounds the tree’s rootball, the Mona Relief system is a cost-effective solution for preventing drought with newly planted trees. By proactively installing a system that will irrigate at the root ball the tree’s roots instantly receive the much-needed water to aid growth.

Palmer Landscapes Contract Manager Sam Isles comments, “Green-tech was one of our main suppliers for this project.  We have a strong relationship with them. They stocked all the products we needed and provided materials on a quick turnaround timescale. All planting materials were delivered on time and gave that professional finish that we pride ourselves on. The seed specification we were working too was very detailed so being able to tap into their expertise was invaluable and helped us so much.”

The main contractor GRAHAM Building has won the GB & Rol New Build Project of the Year, above £2.5m’ accolade at the CEF 2023 Excellence Awards. The judging panel agreed GRAHAM’s work on this project was a “remarkable achievement.”

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

New ICL research at Bangor University

New ICL research at Bangor University: ICL is collaborating with Bangor University to carry out research on the effects and benefits of organo-mineral fertilizers for turf.

MRes (Masters by Research) student, Deniz Arslan, is carrying out the yearlong research at Bangor University, and believes that the findings could be of great benefit to several sectors.

New ICL research at Bangor University

New ICL research at Bangor University

“We will be looking at how efficient organo-minerals are comparing to mineral and organic versions and how they all effect soil health,” she said. “The outcomes of this research can be important for all fields and will provide information to help fertilizer users make informed decisions.”

Mineral fertilizers are very commonly utilized and there is plenty of research detailing their benefits and the issues which can arise from poor product selection or over-application, for example leaching of unused nutrients from the growing zone of a crop.

On the other hand, organic fertilizers offer other potential benefits, such as supporting microbes in the soil, but are often described as not performing as efficiently or productively as mineral fertilizers.

“Organo-mineral fertilizers, combining the benefits of minerals and organic sources, could be a more sustainable step for turf managers to take,” said Deniz. “I hope to prove that organo-mineral fertilizers are indeed beneficial for the soil and environment, and with no negative performance issues for turfgrass. Agricultural trials do show higher yields and performances which is promising, but of course it is different when measuring turf. You don’t necessarily want to grow more or longer grass.”

Gronamic, ICL’s organo-mineral fertilizer brand, will be used in this research project. The experimental trials will include glasshouse trials of perennial ryegrass with Gronamic Sport High N and Gronamic Golf High N, contrasting with equivalent mineral and organic fertilizers.

“This unique research project will focus on plant growth, soil health and nutrient use efficiency factors, making use of the advanced equipment and facilities available at Bangor University,” said Deniz.

The scholarship named KESS (Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship) is led by Bangor University and links companies with academic expertise and universities to collaborate in research projects for PhD and Research Master qualifications. ICL supports several research collaborations and has close ties with the universities in order to help bridge the gap between industry and academia.

For Deniz it means that she has a direct link to the industry and access to expert knowledge in high quality turf management. With all the resources at her disposal she is hopeful that this research could have a global reach.

“Finding solutions for conventional mineral fertilizers will be beneficial for all fields and industries, from agriculture and turf management to landscaping, and hopefully I can be part of that development.

In the long term it can even impact the low-income nations and industrializing nations as well, for instance by applying it to urban green spaces and sustainable land management whilst keeping prices low as mineral resources are slowly depleting,” she said.

Please contact ICL on 01473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie if you are in Ireland.

For more news and insightful views, you can follow ICL on Twitter @ICL_Turf

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

University enjoys H&S benefits

University enjoys H&S benefits: Agria UK’s remotely controlled agria 9600 hybrid bank mower makes lots of friends in high places. Recent converts include the 16 members of the University of Aberdeen’s grounds’ team, all now fully trained and regular users.

Bruce Reid, Grounds Officer in the University’s Estates and Facilities Department, said he knew instantly it was a machine that suited their purpose:

University enjoys H&S benefits

“It works well for us because it’s not complicated; it is so H&S focused and does a thoroughly good job. Tending steep banking both safely and quickly is imperative and that’s why the agria 9600 stood out. On first view at its demo, it looked like a high climbing miniature tank patrolling the grounds. We were an early adopter and purchased one of the first in July.”

“We have our fair share of extreme slopes and banked areas. There are three distinct campuses.  King’s College campus, is over 500 years old, and dominates the section of the city known as Old Aberdeen.  It lies approximately two miles north of the city centre.  To the west, there is the more recent Foresterhill campus, next door to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and home to the School of Medicine and Dentistry, as well as the School of Medical Sciences and then to the east is Hillhead campus which is predominantly student halls. Together with research and lecture buildings, all sites have bespoke grounds, sports facilities and green areas. Hillhead in particular, has purpose built student residences set among landscaped areas which house several thousand students.  Typically, it’s here where we have many steep slopes, gradients easily in the 30° to 50° range, all at varying heights. We try to cut and mulch these fortnightly during the growing season,” continued Bruce Reid.

With its low centre of gravity and rubber caterpillar tracks, the agria 9600 powers safely through heavy duty work on high slopes to 50°.  The operator uses a joy stick on a light, hand held LED display control panel to manage six key mower functions. The display shows travel speed, cutting height, hours of operation, the battery charge status, the radio signal strength and an on / off switch.

Range is an impressive 300 m at a generous forward speed of 10 km/ hr allowing some of the most difficult and awkward-to-reach terrain to be tackled from a healthy distance. Should frequency be disturbed, the remote control changes to a different band frequency automatically.

A Hybrid drive concept means the agria 9600 combines a petrol engine with being electrically driven. This set up is therefore more environmentally friendly than hydraulic systems. The petrol engine powers the mower and generator while the generator produces electricity in Safety Extra Low voltage (48V) for driving.

In two widths, 112 cm and 80 cm, it cuts and mulches in two directions and is effortless on a variety of applications, including fine turf.

“The main thing for us is health & safety,” continued Bruce Reid.  “We don’t want operators walking behind mowers on any of our banked areas. It is infinitely safer to have a remote machine perform these tasks. Like everyone else, we have risk assessments for all grounds care activities and right away, a remotely controlled mower minimises risk.

“Ours is the 80 cm wide version. It’s a very straight forward machine yet versatile. The whole team took part in a familiarisation and training session given by Agria UK so everyone is now extremely confident. They feel safe because they don’t need to remain close to the machine nor do they need to set foot on the bank. It’s surprising light machine to transport, it can be popped on a trailer and moved with an ATV which helps save time and transport costs.”

Edzard Michalsky, Product manager for Agria said: “The beauty of this machine –and indeed all remote controlled agria mowing systems – is that there are no hand-arm vibrations to factor. Everyone deserves a healthy working environment and this machine means you can spend a whole shift engaged in cutting and mulching.”

Wilson Morrison, Sales Manager from dealer Fairways GM, who distribute Agria UK products in Scotland, said: “Bruce and his team put H&S at the top of their list. The agria 9600 gives them a head start. For example, if for any reason the transmission signal between machine and operator is lost the machine automatically shuts down.  Both the machine and the remote control offer emergency shut off switches and safety flaps giving protection against thrown objects, this has been tested independently by industry experts. At 420 kgs theirs is a light easily transportable machine. Running time is approx. 15 hours on each charge.  Each unit comes with a replacement battery and charger which almost doubles the working time.  Fuel consumption is around 20 litres per six hours run time. Developments like these help future proof the industry.”

See the agria 9600 at BTME on Stand RED 202 alongside sister company, Wiedenmann UK on 218.

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

Terrain Aeration At Cambridge Uni

Terrain Aeration At Cambridge Uni: Cambridge University Botanic Garden welcomes 300,000 visitors a year, making it the most visited university botanic garden in the UK. Situated in the centre of Cambridge, the Grade II listed Heritage Garden covers 40 acres and is home to a collection of over 8,000 plant species to facilitate teaching and research.

Equally, since its foundation it has provided a beautiful and tranquil place for everyone to enjoy. The Garden boasts four show lawns and the combination of foot traffic, marquee trucks and ride-on mowers leads to compaction. The Garden has been using Terrain Aeration’s decompaction services since as far back as 2013 and chose the deep aeration treatment for the high-profile area of the Main Lawn in front of the majestic glasshouses.

Terrain Aeration Visit Cambridge University

“We know Terrain Aeration’s work from years ago when development had been done at the Station Road Entrance and the lawn at the back of Cory Lodge,” says Adrian Holmes, Landscape and Machinery Supervisor at the Garden. “The lawns had been re-built after the work but were found to be compacted and the soil was not good. We had a waterlogging issue for a couple of years. The Terrain Aeration treatment rectified the problem and we know from experience it’s a long-term solution.”

This year, the Garden’s Main Lawn area was cordoned off, the machine operation creating considerable interest amongst students and visitors, and Terrain Aeration’s Terralift set to work. The weather was very good and dry, and the ground was worked easily without the need to use the Terralift’s JCB hammer drill. The machine’s probe is driven down a metre deep and highly compressed air released up to a maximum of 20Bar (280psi) to fracture the soil, opening it up for aeration, drainage and to get oxygen to the roots of the plant. On the tail end of the air blast, dried seaweed is incorporated which sticks to the walls of the fractures and fissures created by the main air blast. As pressure drops, the seaweed is mixed in the hopper unit where it swirls around with the remaining air and is then released. The seaweed swells in wet weather and keeps the fissures open. On the Main Lawn the same process was repeated in two-metre spacings, so the underground fracturing is thoroughly linked. In some extreme cases this is demonstrated by water fountains appearing from previous probe holes. In this instance the ground was found to be not as compacted as expected and the 2,500sq metre area was completed in two days, not the original three as had been expected.

“The Terrain Aeration guys were very good, prompt and efficient and quite knowledgeable,” says Adrian, “they backfilled the probe holes with Lytag, lightweight aggregate and it was as if they had never been there. It was great to have everything back to normal so quickly.” The aeration treatment completed, the lawn area was immediately open for unrestricted access to the fountains, glasshouses and horticultural and National Plant Collections.

Terrain Aeration www.terrainaeration.co.uk  01449 673783

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

E-Z-GO 14-Seater At Edge Hill University

E-Z-GO 14-Seater At Edge Hill University: Edge Hill University in Lancashire has purchased the first E-Z-GO 14-seater shuttle bus to be sold in the U.K.. Local dealer Sharrocks supplied the shuttle bus, as well as nine Cushman Hauler Pro vehicles for navigating the 160-acre campus.

Commenting on the purchase of the E-Z-GO shuttle bus, Fleet Administrator Andy Timon said:

E-Z-GO 14-Seater At Edge Hill University

“A temporary car parking facility has recently opened on campus to provide more spaces for students. However, whilst still on campus, the car park is a distance from the main hub of the University. We have purchased the E-Z-GO 14-seater Shuttle Bus to provide a shuttle service from the new car park to the centre of campus. Instead of a long walk, it’s now a 4-5-minute comfortable shuttle ride.”

Launched this year, the E-Z-GO Shuttle Bus is a 14-seater electric vehicle that is designed to easily transport people around facilities. With a quiet and smooth 72V AC drive train the E-Z-GO Shuttle Bus can operate in indoor and outdoor spaces.

“The new shuttle is totally electric, which means there aren’t any engine emissions, and there is also a reduction in noise pollution,” Andy continued. “The charge lasts a full day and performs consistently across the different terrains we have on site. As well as complementing our environmental pledge, the shuttle gives a great first impression to visitors and students alike. We pride ourselves on providing the best facilities and learning environment around, and the new E-Z-GO shuttle bus is the latest addition to the University’s ongoing investments.

“Thank you to Sharrocks for supplying us with the shuttle bus as well as the new Cushman vehicles. We have been very impressed with the level of service and product knowledge of the staff at Sharrocks and look forward to continuing our strong relationship moving forwards. We are very proud to be the first institution to own an E-Z-GO 14-seater Shuttle Bus in the U.K.!”

E-Z-GO 14-Seater At Edge Hill University

Edge Hill University is based in Ormskirk, close to Liverpool and Manchester. Providing higher education since 1885, Edge Hill is one of the select few to have held the coveted U.K. University of the Year title, awarded by Times Higher Education (2014/15). The campus has also been recognised as one of the world’s best green spaces for the seventh year in a row, achieving another Green Flag award.

Further investment by the University includes its flagship £27 million Catalyst building which opened this year, a £17 million Creative Edge building, a new Arts Centre building, new Technology, Biosciences and Geosciences facilities and a £13.5 million Student Hub. The £30 million Sports Centre opened in September 2015 and allows students, staff and the local community to enjoy some of the best sports facilities in the country.

Find out more about Edge Hill University, here: www.edgehill.ac.uk

Find out more about E-Z-GO vehicles, here: www.ransomesjacobsen.com

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

The World’s Best

The World’s Best: Laurence Gale goes back to university to discover what has made Loughborough the world’s best university for sport

Loughborough has been named the best sporting university in the world in the global QS higher education league table. It is actually the first time the annual QS World University Rankings by subject have included a list of the world’s best places to study sports-related subjects and Loughborough ranked joint-first with the University of Sydney, Australia.

This is a fantastic testament but fully justified by all the hard work done by both staff and graduates over the last 60 years. The ethos of the university brings together exceptional athletes, facilities, coaching and research expertise with extensive partnerships with major sporting organisations, such as Sport England, RFU, ECB to name a few.


Loughborough won the title in recognition of its unparalleled role in the triumph of the British Olympic and Paralympic teams at Rio 2016.

Over 80 students, graduates and Loughborough-linked athletes travelled to Rio to participate in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. In the Olympic competition they secured 12 medals, including five golds, and if Loughborough University was a country they would have finished 17th on the medal table. Similarly during the Paralympic competition Loughborough-linked athletes secured a further 22 medals, signifying that Loughborough would have finished 10th in the Paralympics medal table if they were a nation.

With a total of plus 15,000 students on campus, coupled with around 400 performance student athletes, the university is a busy place to be during term times.

The World’s BestA total of 71% of students at Loughborough University regularly participate in sport at least once a week – Sport England Higher Education Sport Participation and satisfaction Survey for 2015/16.

From alumni to collaborative partners, and organisations that use campus as their HQ, Loughborough University is associated with a number of household names.

Some of the most celebrated names in sport have studied at Loughborough including Sebastian Coe, Paula Radcliffe, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and Sir Clive Woodward.

Loughborough University is home to the country’s largest concentration of world-class facilities across a wide range of sports, they include an indoor athletics centre and outdoor stadium, sports halls and all-weather pitches, a 50-metre swimming pool, squash, badminton and netball courts, an indoor tennis centre and outdoor courts, and state of the art fitness centres.

The grounds and gardens are maintained by the university’s own in-house grounds maintenance team consisting of 12 full time groundsmen and  20 full time gardeners of which two are fully trained  arborists. These teams are supervised by Managers William Relf (25 years’ service) who oversees all the sports facilities while Karen Setchell (32 years’ service) manages the gardening teams.

Will and Karen took over the running of the department in 2016 when the previous Estates Manager Mark Freeman retired.

The sports grounds team are split into three teams of four, one solely looking after all the Cricket facilities on campus, whereas the other two teams are split by geographical areas and cover a multitude of sports facilities.

The gardening team consists of five working teams, each with their own areas to manage and maintain. The Arborist team (one man and one woman) maintains all mature trees, two heritage woodlands and plantations on the site.

As for natural grass pitches the university provides thirteen senior natural grass pitches – six football, four rugby, one American football and one lacrosse. The pitches are renovated and topdressed every year using compatible sand dressings, applying between 60 and 100 tonnes per pitch.

Loughborough is also the home of the ECB National Cricket Academy and boasts some of the best cricket practice and playing facilities in the world.

The facilities include: Two natural grass cricket squares and outfields, sixteen outdoor cricket natural grass net areas (on Ongar clay), eleven artificial wickets (five outdoor and six indoor) Complete full size indoor net areas with full bowlers run up and wicket keeper area.

The university also provides some of the finest indoor and outdoor athletics facilities in the country. This includes the indoor High Performance Athletics Centre (HIPAC) enabling athletes to train and perform in the best environment available.

A new dedicated Athletics throwing arena is currently under construction and will be ready in the new year.

Tennis is exceptionally well catered for with 17 artificial courts of which, three are overhead irrigated American Fast Dry outdoor clay courts.  Three outdoor acrylic courts, Four indoor acrylic courts, four Plexipave indoor acrylic courts, plus two tarmac courts. The World’s Best

The university also has several full size artificial pitches on campus, all having different playing characteristics and maintenance requirements.

In the past many artificial surfaces were sold on the back of maintenance free advertising. This is just not the case at Loughborough. Will and his team spends nearly as much time on their artificial surfaces as they do on natural surfaces. The university has spent a lot of money investing in specialist brushing and vacuum machinery to keep these surfaces clean.

As for the tennis courts these are brushed daily while the American fast dry courts are again brushed daily, the frequency being dependent on use. This will usually be twice a day when busy. Generally, they are dragmatted with a rubber dragmat across the line of play, followed by another with a brush in the line of play.

They are then watered, using the pop up automatic irrigation system, to damp down the clay ready for play. It usually takes about an hour and half for one man to complete all the daily work on the three clay courts.

The courts also require topdressing twice a year, regular supplementary dressings throughout the season to maintain levels and a regular rolling programme.

A recent visit enabled me to meet up with Will and walk around the campus to see some of the latest industry developments going on. Will was keen to show me the new reinforced cricket pitch trials, where a number of his existing Onga and Boughton loam pitches and net areas have been sown with some artificial fibres simulating a SIS Grass/Desso style hybrid pitch system.

The results have been amazing with a dramatic reduction in wear and foothole damage, while ball bounce and turn has not been adversely affected.  Two colours of yarn have been tried, a green one and a brown one to see which one is ascetically pleasing to coaches and players.  It will be interesting to see how these pitches respond and recover from their end of season renovations. Will also said, that many of the players had not even noticed these fibres.

We then went on to see another ECB backed trial, that began last June, which saw three drop-in pitches installed into the universities cricket square.

Each pitch is contained in three steel trays, the object of the project is to be able to transport and use the pitch in a large capacity stadium, thus having the ability to play a cricket match at a different venue. Early signs are good, the 200mm deep trays are performing well. It is now a case of progressing to the next stage. Transporting and installing the pitches at a national stadium, and then play an international match on them?

Will was then keen for me to see the new throwing arena being built, that will house an outdoor covered throwing facility to accommodate javelin, discus and hammer athletes. This purpose built training centre will enable athletes to train all year round. The World’s Best

Just driving around the campus, made me realise how big and busy this place is, wherever you looked, there was a different sport activity going on.

One of the busiest times for Will and his staff is during late spring, when they have to change over from a winter sporting calendar into the summer feast of sports. This work also includes having to undertake spring renovations on some of the pitches.

Renovations are carried out on a rotational/need basis, and generally involves a programme of work that involves scarifying, aeration, topdressing and overseeding with some pitches getting a few weeks rest and recuperation.

Having a large fleet of machinery helps enormously, the ability to get around the campus quickly is paramount, all the teams are given a John Deere Gator to help transport themselves, machinery, tools and materials. Will also has a modern cutting fleet of ride on mowers to help cut the grass efficiently. A laser guided Kombi line marking system also saves time when marking pitches on a weekly basis.

The university have also invested in their own sprayers and aeration equipment to ensure they are able to carry out this work promptly and when they choose too, instead of waiting on contractor time frames.

As ever, Loughborough is definitely up there with the best Universities when it comes to managing and maintaining its estate, however, with so many top sports performers based at Loughborough expectations will always be high and the main driver for the grounds team to deliver top class sport facilities.