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EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENTS


Two battery-powered Infinicut mowers allow for mowing to continue around classrooms


where the equipment, which is currently spread around the campus, can be housed in one place with a modern washdown. “This will make a big difference,” comments Deputy Head Groundsman, Matt Barnes. “Not only for improved security, but also convenience, saving us having to walk across the grounds to get tools for simple tasks like mower adjustment.” Due for renovation later this year is the floodlit rugby pitch. To tackle its undulations and waterlogging, the surface will be stripped, 200 tonnes of sand spread and the pitches laser levelled before another 200 tonnes of sand are applied.


Soils are relatively easy with the sandy loams drying quickly, allowing the team to get on and mow after rain.


With prestigious fixtures on a frequent basis - mid-June saw sixth formers play a men’s side from the MCC, for example - presentation is a priority and this has been factored into some of the new machinery purchases. Clippings from the triples are blown and collected in the new Gator for


I’m looking to trial four seed mixes and four feeds between the two pitch areas that get the same amount of wear to gauge the differences. I’d love to have more trial plots, but time is the issue - it should be easier next year





Cricket nets sit cheek by jowl with the Halse Pavillion which has completed the school’s indoor sports centre


84 PC August/September 2019


Tom Cullen, operating the new five-gang Toro Reelmaster 3575- D fairway mower, is also the school’s landscape gardener as well as assisting the grounds team


disposal, and the SISIS flexi brush is also used to tidy up the surfaces. To tackle the hard conditions last year, Duncan engaged a local contractor to verti- drain pitches monthly. “The first time, the tines only went in


7.5cm! We have since seen a major improvement in infiltration and tines are going down to 28cm. We’ve now invested in a Charterhouse Verti-Drain 2220 and, as it is a high-speed machine, it could treat the whole site in two days if necessary.” He has been particularly impressed with some new purchases: “We bought four Dennis Pro 34R rotary mowers which are excellent for rugby clean-ups, and they are also proving their worth on the cricket pitches - after hosting the Edgbaston under- 12s, the clean-up took less than half an hour on two squares. The Infinicut battery mowers give such a fantastic finish and have low noise levels, which is important as we have to avoid noise close to exam rooms. With the Infinicut, we can still carry on and prepare pitches.”


In an ideal world, he would like to move to more pedestrian kit, but with limited resources and the workload being as high it is, adding a five-gang Toro Reelmaster 3575- D fairway mower to the existing 3100-D triple has been essential.


A suite of battery powered tools from Husqvarna means that strimming, hedge cutting, tree work with a pole saw and leaf blowing can all be carried out with minimal noise.


“There’s a huge difference compared to a petrol blower, for example,” comments Duncan. “Operators tend to use the kit for no more than four hours, so one backpack and one portable battery covers all the tools, as long as they remember to put them on charge!”


A new approach to fertiliser takes account of the generally good soil and aims to be organic where possible, with the impending purchase of a 600l Team Sprayer allowing the use of biostimulants. “We’re looking at slow release products so that we’re not constantly having to be on


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