Off-season pitch renovation at St Mary's

By SFC Media Wed 14 Jun Club

Whilst many are currently enjoying some time away from football, Head Stadium Groundsman John Wright and his staff are busy preparing the St Mary's carpet for next season.

With the pitch torn up shortly after the conclusion of the Premier League campaign, Wright explains the process of turning the now beach-looking surface back into luscious green turf.

“The first process is the same as every year,” he starts.

“That is to remove all vegetation from the surface with a machine called the Koro Field Top Maker. There was a bit of debris left over from our first pass with that, so we just knocked it about with a rake to break it all.

“We then did a second pass just to make sure that the surface was completely clean. Following that we applied 90 tonnes of Root Zone Sand Soil on to the surface to top the levels back up.

“Now we are working in that new material with the Pro Core, which is a machine that penetrates the surface approximately 4-5 inches. We will then seed in four different directions and the use the Verti-Drain to spike the pitch around eight inches deep.

“Once that is all done we will cover the whole surface with germination sheets and leave it for approximately ten days before then removing them.”

The process is a long, arduous and physically demanding one, yet Wright’s in-house team complete the majority of the work themselves.

It’s only a small team, but they are determined to complete the work perfectly.

“There’s currently four of us here doing the work,” he continued.

“We had a contractor in to strip the pitch but everything else apart from that has been done, and will continue be done, in-house.

“Once this work is all completed it will be back to just the two of us maintaining the pitch on a daily basis throughout the rest of the season.

“It’s pretty critical that we get everything spot on now during this renovation period. You only get one shot at it for the season so it has to be done correctly, for our sake and the players’ sake.”

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