It is not just Bryan Redpath and the team who have been getting ready for the new Greene King IPA Championship season, Head Groundsman Ryan Golding and his team have been working hard behind the scenes too.
The club’s groundstaff have been working around the clock on the first major renovation on the Headingley Carnegie pitch since it was reconstructed in 2012.
The work began immediately following Leeds Rhinos last home game against Wigan a month ago as the posts were taken down and the work began to take up the old pitch before the Rhinos players had even left the dressing rooms following the win over the Warriors.
The work was completed in conjunction with Premier Pitches, with aid in fertilisers and bio stimulants from ICL and the fibresand from Mansfield Sand.
The specific aim of the renovation was a fibresand regeneration which removes the organic layer and thatch that has built up in the surface itself. This has needed removing since the pitch was laid as turf in 2012 but this is the first time we have had a chance with the crossover of both codes to complete it. This is the quickest to have ever being completed on a fibresand surface in a stadium environment (27 days) and the quickest in the process being completed. It usually takes 50-55 hours to take the pitch up, renovate and seed a new pitch, the Headingley Carnegie groundstaff completed the job in a remarkable 36 hours, working around the clock to get the job done and ensure the pitch had the longest possible time to regrow ahead of tonight’s game.
The process began with removing the existing layer using a Koro machine, which removed the top layer of the pitch just leaving the fibre sand surface. The team then added the fibre concentrate to the surface, using a power harrow to mix it into the surface. The pitch was then rolled to get the surface back to the appropriate levels and was overseeded in four directions to give total coverage. Numerous fertilisers and bio stimulants were then applied before the whole pitch was covered in white germination sheets to maximise the excellent growing conditions. The sheets removed after five days and grass was already clearly visible right across the pitch.
The team used 500KG of perennial ryegrass seed on the pitch having removed 360 tonnes of spoil off the pitch. Over 400KG of fertiliser was used on the pitch including seaweed which now means that the pitch is currently growing 4mm every day meaning the grounds team cut twice a day.
The soil temperatures got up to 20c in the first week which aided the growth but that meant the club’s state of the art irrigation system was in full use with, on average, 4mm-8mm of water applied across the pitch every day.
The Headingley Carnegie pitch, like all pitches, has its own unique micro-climate that means the groundstaff have to be fully on top of the specific needs of our pitch. For example, the South Stand is on average 4c – 6c colder than the North stand so takes slightly longer to establish. The past week has seen the process continue as the team have been working very hard in getting the grass plant as strong as possible and getting the roots down, they are currently at 20mm deep.
Commenting on the whole process Head Groundsman Ryan Golding commented, “The whole renovation could not have gone better for us. A great deal of planning went in beforehand because of the extremely narrow window we have to get the job done. The lads worked incredibly hard in the first two days and, on behalf of everyone at the club, I would like to thank them for their efforts. We have reaped the rewards by getting ahead of ourselves and we were then blessed with near perfect growing conditions that week which meant we could maximise the opportunity.”