A tailored iTurf Programme from ICL has signalled consistent and excellent results according to Dale Frith – Head Groundsman at Fleetwood Town FC.
Fleetwood Town FC, nicknamed the Cod Army, currently competing in Sky Bet League One, has enjoyed six promotions in ten seasons. Spirits are high at the Lancashire based club and perhaps none more so than Head Groundsman Dale, who has seen six seasons of success on the pitch he meticulously attends to.
“I’ve been here for six years so I like to think I know this pitch pretty well, and how it reacts at various times of the year to different products. With that in mind, we developed an ICL iTurf programme and over the last few years it has remained consistent in the products we use and the approach that we take. The programme is focused on using both the controlled and slow release fertilizers which contain technologies that are proven by some of the extensive research ICL has carried out. In my opinion that is the best approach to achieving the best turf.
“No pitch or site is the same, especially in a stadium environment. We are quite an open stadium here, which can be windy at times and everything has to be tailor made to get the most benefits. This is why the iTurf Programme really benefits us – because it is specific to us and our site,” said Dale.
Dale says that using the best products in the most efficient and responsible way through the iTurf programme has been key to improving a somewhat problematic pitch. The natural soil pitch at Fleetwood’s Highbury Stadium has only 100mm of sufficient 80-20 rootzone over pipes and slit drains. Each year, extra drains are put in but Dale admits that the pitch can struggle at times during the winter period.
To help him through the colder months Dale relies on ICL’s ProTurf 12-5-20 fertilizer, which has been designed to strengthen turf through the autumn and winter and Dale insists that it delivers excellent results every time.
“ProTurf has massively enhanced what we were doing before and the colour is now stunning. I’ve found that the 12-5-20 does a tremendous job of greening up the pitch and giving it a nice trickle of consistent growth without it going crazy. Because 25% of the nitrogen is coated I get a really great release pattern and excellent longevity from it. ProTurf 12-5-20 is probably my favourite product.”
Dale also incorporates Primo Maxx into his iTurf programme, which he believes offers more than just excellent growth control.
“Primarily, the most noticeable thing about using Primo is that it has significantly reduced clippings. We use Primo Maxx fortnightly at half the rate which we apply for the majority of the season. In winter we’ll use some of it when we spray because the other benefits of Primo Maxx are that it helps rooting and creates a denser sward.”
Helping Dale map out effective solutions for maintaining healthy turf at Highbury Stadium is ICL Technical Area Sales Manager Phil Collinson, who he believes offers invaluable input.
“It’s been great working with Phil – he knows the products incredibly well and provides me with good advice. It also helps that he was previously a Head Groundsman and he knows what we are going through – we’ve both had similar budgets to work with and have faced similar situations.”