With the improvement work continuing to take place out on the Plainmoor pitch this week, club Groundsman Julian Gouldthorpe took time out to provide the Yellow Army with an update.
The first stage of the process was removing the top layer of grass, with the bulk of the work done by specialist machinery, however special attention needs to be paid to certain areas of the pitch.
“We have been using a turf cutter, however when you go around goalposts and pop-up sprinklers, you don’t use big machinery for that, as you can get too close and cause damage,” explains Julian.
“We’ve also been using a big machine on the back of the tractor called a verti-drain. This punches holes into the ground, and allows air into the channels under the pitch. We would normally do that during the winter, at least once a month, when rain is forecast. It opens up all the drainage, and gives the roots somewhere to go.
“The machine we are using this time is bigger, and goes down to the depth of ten inches, to make sure we get connected to the drainage, without going too close. This is a form of aeration that is used on all football pitches.”
United’s Groundsman has been assisted with the renovations this week by local firm Devon Garden Machinery, with the improvements set to be in place by the time match action returns to Plainmoor.
“DGM have been using an SXG machine, which runs up and down the pitch, to make sure it’s all neat and tidy, ready for all the topsoil and grass seed to go down on Friday / Monday.
“It will normally take about three weeks for this to grow to the required length, although this depends on the weather of course. I’ll have to water the pitch quite a few times over this period – twice a day.
“With the heat of the sun, you’ll start to see the start of germination process within seven days, meaning some very small shoots of grass will begin to come through.”
We’ll continue to keep the Yellow Army updated on all the pitch work going on at Plainmoor throughout the course of the next few weeks, however in the meantime, take a look at the video above to see the progress made so far!