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PUBLIC PLACES


Time management is critical for us and we are keen to complete a huge task as quickly and efficiently as we can


The team aren’t tripling all year round though and work round periods of heavy guest traffic in the gardens. “We bring out the 2653 around mid-March and cut down to two or three inches on the large grassed areas and give a higher clearance in winter. Backlapping we do in-house and avoid regrinding as far as possible to trim costs. In any case, the 2653 is only used about 100 hours a season. The Dennis FT 551 walkbehinds, “with all the accessories”, keep the grassed areas controlled in the formal gardens.”


The 18-hole putting green, Mike’s brainchild, along with the croquet lawn, is the most intensively used sports facility on


site. “It’s a suntrap on the south side and attracts up to fifty guests daily round the year, so it can become heavily compacted and encourage moss. The Verticutter and Sarel spiking roller come in handy then. They can be changed over in a couple of minutes. The Groundsman Aerator hollow cores the surfaces too.


Moss has proved an issue and Mike brought in contractors to apply selective herbicide and prepare and reseed the surfaces.


Other Warner gems:


 Grade 1 listed Tudor manor house built in the mid-1500s.


Henry V111 courted Jane Seymour here and the D-Day landings were planned within the house, which contains the only surviving Cromwellian chapel in private hands.


- 


Top of the shop is the 30in Atco Royal. “The machine’s 23 years old now and working well, with new bottom blade. Some guests recognise it and want to know how we keep it in such great condition.” The Honda HRH Pro mower with roller is also used regularly across the sports surfaces as are the two hydrostatic units. “Bought in 2001, regular servicing and replacement of filter plugs and blades keeps them fully functioning.”


“Before fertilising, we bring out our SISIS spiker roller and the chisel slitter over winter. We’ve introduced iron to control moss in selected areas. We buy in one tonne bags of topdressing to apply across the sports areas, but limit overseeding on the putting greens because grass cannot establish itself due to heavy footfall.”


Although turf machinery is diesel-based, hand tools such as Holme Lacy’s Stihl strimmers and hedgecutters are increasing electrically powered. “We’re moving over to batteries as that’s more environmentally friendly - no fumes and quieter.” Under the continuing programme to upgrade the formal areas surrounding the main house, the team are renovating the two formal ponds. “The butyl liners laid by Kenchester in the mid ‘90s to replace the cracked concrete bases are remaining in place,” says Mike. “Although they have a 20-year lifetime, they are costly to replace so we’ll soldier on with them for now as they are still in good condition.” Gravel pathways criss-crossing the grounds need constant attention, if only to ensure the safety of guests. Spot spraying


116 PC April/May 2019





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