Campey Turf Care Systems Mini Pitch Renovation Days give Greenock Morton Fans chance to see production of prize winning pitch.
The pitch was rated as one of the top-four in the Scottish Championship with a score of 4.6 out of ten as part of the Scottish Professional Football League licensing scheme in 2016, giving it a platinum rating under the grading system, which is decided by referees.
Morton’s only full-time groundsman is Mark Farrell, who has spent 13-years tending the Cappielow pitch. The traditional soil based pitch doesn’t have any drainage, so provides Mark and his team of volunteers with a number of challenges. “It demands hard core groundsmanship,” Mark explained. “Scarifying, aerating, draining. It can get mentally stressful at times. “It’s not nutrient management like many Premiership clubs, a skill set is required from the groundstaff to keep the pitch in the best possible condition.
Grass roots can replicate it but require dedication and commitment. Inverclyde has the most artificial pitches per head 15 – 60,000 people, but for a tenth of the cost of artificial you can maintain a natural pitch.
“The best way to progress your knowledge is to never think you know everything. I go out and visit sites and invite any one to visit here. Learn, see what’s new and adopt new techniques where you can see the benefits.”
Those who attended the day got to see exactly what Mark spoke about in terms learning. The Campey team provided three days of mini-renovations across the pitch showcasing the latest techniques and machinery, whilst demonstrating how making small changes to a renovation can make a big difference in the long run.
The work started with the surface being cleaned with the KORO® FIELDTOPMAKER® using the Universe® Finesse 5mm blades, meaning the whole pitch was not removed but by using the different Universe® blades available they could scarify and still rip out the unwanted grasses/weeds.
The KORO Recycling Dresser was then used down to a 160mm working depth to aid decompaction and aeration, while also recycling all the nutrients that remained in the soil profile. 40 tons of sand was then applied with a Dakota Turf Tender, brushed, raked and finally re-seeded with a Vredo Overseeder and
Morton’s pitch receives heavy use from its teams as well as the community trust which has 3000 children from 5-16 years old who use the pitch. This amount of use has seen Mark try to introduce a greater proportion of rye grass in a strong Poa pitch. The purpose of the day was to show fans what goes into maintaining the pitch as well as other turf professionals.
As a team Morton prides themselves on their community involvement, and Campey are proud to help increase that while enhancing the quality of the pitch.