21st Mar 2014

Water Management - View Bulletin

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AFT Trenchers

16/17 Addison Road,
Chilton Industrial Estate,
CO10 2YW,
Tel: 01787 311811

Despite Floods, Football matches at Aston University are still played

While neighbouring schools closed their pitches due to flooding this winter, football matches at Aston University in Birmingham continued to be played for a further six weeks.

Head groundsman Malcolm Edwards bought an AFT Sandbander for sand-slitting vulnerable areas last year and was astonished at how effective it had been during some of the worst weather conditions he has seen.

“Without the AFT Sandbander we would have had to cancel matches weeks earlier,” said Malcolm. “But the sand-banding was so successful the pitches continued to be playable for another six weeks after nearby schools with the same ground conditions stopped.”

The AFT Sandbander was originally brought in to combat the normal excess wear on the pitch. Every week the busy match schedule of five to six matches on each of six pitches took a heavy toll on the turf. Areas particularly affected were directly in front of the goal mouths and the six-yard boxes.

“In the past this damage had to be contained and our course of action was to cancel fixtures while maintenance was carried out and the turf allowed time to re-grow,” explained Malcolm. “This was time-consuming and had an extremely disruptive effect on match scheduling.”

When Peter Smith from AFT Trenchers www.trenchers.co.uk put the Sandbander through its paces at Aston last Autumn, Malcolm was immediately impressed with the results.

“Drainage was instantly improved,” said Malcolm. “You could see the water dissipating immediately. But we still weren’t sure how it would cope in really wet conditions.”

“Well we know now! Not to put too fine a point on it – it has been brilliant! Even during the worst rainfall, the sand-banded areas have drained quickly and thoroughly and allowed us to continue playing. However, it was the remaining untreated areas that finally did us in and called a halt to the games!”

The AFT Sandbander has revolutionised the way sand-slits are created on sports surfaces. The unique blade design and oscillating movement makes drainage slits with well-consolidated sand. It is often used to successfully divert surface water on the pitches to the existing lateral drains.

Malcolm is now looking to extend the initial areas treated with the AFT Sandbander at Aston University beyond the six-yard areas to cover the whole of the pitch. This will increase the effectiveness of the drainage and massively improve the health and recovery process of the sward.

The AFT Sandbander is suitable for tractors from 25hp. It is fast and easily produces 25 or 35mm sand-slits with a maximum depth of 250mm (10inches) and also works well with lytag and gravel (up to 6mm).


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