This is a busy time of year for anyone with a garden.
So spare a thought for Phil Armitage and the rest of the ground staff at the John Smith’s Stadium.
They have just embarked on a massive renovation project on the pitch and have just a few days in which to get it done.
Huddersfield Town, of course, played their last game of the season there on Saturday and the Huddersfield Giants have away games for the next three weeks, returning to play at home on June 3 against Castleford Tigers.
It’s an ideal window of opportunity to do much-needed maintenance on the pitch.
Phil, who is operations manager for Kirklees Stadium Development Ltd, said: “At the end of the football season, and scheduled in around the Giants rugby matches, the Stadium grounds team have a very short window of opportunity to carry out their annual, major refurbishment of the pitch.
“This is a vital and a very precious time for our team to work their magic.
“The entire pitch was relaid in 2011, after lasting for 15 years, and we hope this current one will last the same time. We did try one year not to do as much work but by the December it was in a poor state.
“The team from Desso Sports Systems have the experts we need and they have brought in contractors from Hewitts Sports Turf, with some very specialised equipment.
“Our Desso system was one of the first in the country and the former Town groundsman Raymond Chappell went out to Holland to see it in operation before it was laid here. We have about 7% of the pitch surface as man-made material and the rest is natural, and it’s a system many Premiership clubs have now adopted.”
- Today the pitch, which measures 115 yards x 76 yards, is being scarified with specialist equipment in multiple directions to remove unwanted surface vegetation and debris and to clean and groom the upper Desso surface.
- On Wednesday, after the pitch is stripped down, 120 tonnes of specialist sand dressing is applied all over. The sand dressing helps to maintain a level pitch, improve the drainage, prevents thatch build up, promotes new grass growth and improves the resilience of the pitch.
- Day three will see the team using a vertidrain machine, to relieve compaction on the pitch before they start the over-seeding operation. Some 400kgs of grass seed is then spread over the pitch in multiple directions to ensure even coverage, before finally being topped with 400kgs of fertiliser.