It's tough being a public green space in a summer like the one we have had - too little rainfall, too much footfall! Fortunately Bourne Sport are there to help restore the lawns, scarifying, re-seeding, top-dressing and generally repairing things. On contract to IdVerde, we are working throughout the London Borough of Camden at present.
Here you can see Richard and Jason unloading various kit at Fortune Green in West Hampstead. In fact, the centre of the small park was still baked so hard that it was really only possible to work the edges - but they got well and truly scarified and overseeded.
Bourne Sport unleashed its new custom built track washer on the Julie Rose stadium in Ashford on Friday.
The track washer was built in our own workshops and designed to improve further on some of the proprietary machines currently on the market. After extensive testing and final adjustments to our initial design the machine performed excellently. It will next appear at the Guildford Spectrum and the Withdean Stadium, Brighton.
The machine is built around a Kubota 50hp compact tractor and comprises a high pressure washer mounted on the front and a high output vacuum pump with clean and dirty water tanks located on the back.
It is designed for cleaning polymeric running tracks but can also address any artificial surface where high pressure washing and removal of dirty water is required.
Where tractor access is restricted, the machine can be used with two high pressure lances on long reels and pedestrian vacuuming units.
Regular washing not only makes the surface look good, but also ensures its longevity and performance. An opportunity for our customers to liven up their summer playing surfaces!
The never ending stream of statistics showing increasing childhood and millennial obesity, and the rise of female sports participation will ensure a growing demand for pitch improvements at all levels.
Many local football and rugby clubs are devising more and more ingenious ways of funding pitch improvements, ranging from commercial sponsorship to landfill tax credits and governmental grants. The success of our recent open day held at Sevenoaks Town FC showed that there is growing interest on the part of regional football and rugby clubs in improving the playability of their pitches.
While the introduction of hybrid pitches at about 60% of the cost of a full 3G pitch is welcome, the cost of some £300k still represents a huge investment for a small club. In the rush for an artificial pitch of some form it is often forgotten that significant improvements can be made to a natural grass pitch to increase its availability at a more reachable price. This is particularly true of the clay based soils on which most local pitches are found.
The installation of piped drainage, enhanced by secondary drainage and a large dose of imported sand can, at a quarter of the price of an artificial pitch of any kind, provide the increased playability sought by small clubs. As an average, while undrained clay soils can sustain only 2/3 hours play a week, a fully drained pitch can stand up to 12 hours play. There is also the added benefit of reducing the number of cancelled fixtures, leading to better attendance figures and bar, refreshment and merchandise sales.
Central to this improvement, however, is the ongoing need to devote resources to maintaining the passage of water through the surface to the drainage system. There is no point installing a full drainage system unless regular efforts are made to ensure water gets off the surface and into the drains. Not doing so results in a waterlogged pitch and cancelled games. The same considerations, incidentally, also apply to the maintenance of artificial pitches – not looking after them can halve the expected lifetime of a carpet costing perhaps £150k.
All natural turf pitch construction specifications will include a requirement to spread at least 100 tonnes of sand on the pitch for the first 3 years after construction. This figure must be built into the capital cost of the project, even though the charge will be incurred over 3 years. This may not be easy for the supplier of the funds, but it has to be provided for by the club in some way. If not carried out, the surface will consolidate and the benefit of the improvements will be lost in a short period of time.
Similarly, regular pitch renovation work at the end of each season, including verti draining, sand spreading and overseeding will ensure that the drainage infrastructure put in at considerable cost will continue to provide the benefits. The extent of works required of course depends on the degree of damage to the surface, which in turn will be dependent on weather conditions through the season.
Clubs looking to invest in an enhanced drainage scheme as a way to accommodate more players must plan not only for ensuring that the three year post construction period is funded, but also that there is a sufficient ongoing income stream to cover annual pitch renovation work.
This is a sneak preview of an e-mail flyer that will be going out all over SE England on Friday, aimed at groundskeepers at football and rugby clubs, parks and local councils.
Now is the time to prepare pitches for the summer season - they will typically need top-dressing, scarifying and re-seeding. If they look like the picture in the flyer, then some verti-draining and perhaps bigger drainage works would be required, too. Sports pitches wear unevenly and special attention will be needed at the goal-mouths, for example.
Note that it's not just natural pitches that need winter maintenance - 3G and hybrid pitches also need looking after, if they are going to survive through their full potential life-span, which could be ten years or more.
This is the time of year to be renovating the grass surfaces of parks, in preparation for the new season. Yes, it was snowing yesterday, even in Newenden, but spring is only around the corner!
So here we are working on various parks around Camden, on behalf of our friends at idverde. Russell Square is the first one - the works involve vertidraining, scarifying, top-dressing and over-seeding. It's a big square - it needs 60 tonnes of rootzone. There are ten more parks to do in this round - will keep us busy!