To reduce nutrient leaching on their sand-based surfaces, AFC Bournemouth’s Head of Grounds Ian Lucas has switched to Headland Amenity’s H-Cote Mini™ fertiliser and is delighted with the longevity and improvement in plant health achieved. This new controlled-release formulation is the latest addition to the club’s nutritional programme which, for the first time over the 2018/19 season, was fungicide free.
“When I joined AFC Bournemouth two years ago, I inherited a feeding regime which included a variety of products, so I reviewed everything to see what was working and try to streamline the programme” explains Ian, who heads up a grounds team of seven. “One of the first things I looked at was the conventional fertiliser being applied on the training ground and academy pitches. Due to these being sand-based, it wasn’t delivering the field longevity we needed, leading to multiple, costly applications per season. I spoke to Headland Amenity’s Sports Turf Specialist Alex Hawkes to try and find something longer-lasting, and he recommended we try H-Cote™.”
The new H-Cote™ range fills the gap between traditional outfield and fine turf products and offers 3 to 4 month longevity due to the inclusion of high levels (70-91%) of controlled-release nitrogen from Poly sulphur coated urea. This provides release characteristics that are gentle and sustained, with minimal risk of flushing or excessive growth. “We first applied H-Cote™ in September and so far, we have been impressed with the strong, healthy colour and more consistent growth that definitely seems to last for longer.”
Alex has also worked on fine-tuning some of the other tried and tested elements of Ian’s programme, including Headland’s 20/20/30 enhanced plant health strategy. “I’ve long known about the effectiveness of the 20/20/30 approach and welcomed the opportunity to introduce it across both our King’s Park training ground and the Vitality Stadium pitch. This winter, Alex suggested incorporating Mantle® manganese/zinc formulation into the mix to further suppress the ability of disease to take hold and this seems to have made a significant difference. We managed to get through what was a difficult period for sports turf weather-wise, without the need to spray any fungicides which not only saves us money but, as a ground team, feels like we’ve made a massive step in the right direction.”