Contract for Ongoing Football Pitch Maintenance

Football pitch renovation and maintenance is a vital factor for all football clubs. So, we are delighted to assist with renovations and maintenance of the football pitch at St Albans City FC Stadium.

St Albans City FC is a semi professional football club which competes in the National League South, located in the busy St Albans City, Hertfordshire.

The stadium is situated within Clarence Park, where the surrounding areas are used for a range sports and leisure activities. The City’s football pitch itself is shared with the wider footballing community and local youth teams, making it an extremely well-used space.

The overriding objective of the management of the pitch is to ensure it is available for use, throughout the year, no matter what the weather.

Football Pitch Scarifying

Objectives of the Football Pitch Renovation & Maintenance Contract

As part of the opening phases of the football pitch renovation and maintenance contract, it was agreed that there would be two clearly defined objectives that needed to be met.

  1. Improve and maintain the quality of the pitch playing surfaces
  2. Create an area for a moveable football pitch
Football Pitch Overseeding

The Problem

The results of the initial investigations found there was a build-up of organic material and Poa Annua, often referred to as Blue Grass, along the wings of the football pitch. Poa Annua can become very invasive as the species will seed at a low mowing height, it is also a different colour to the desired grass sward. A large presence of Poa Annua within the pitch also resulted in reducing the water and nutrient absorption into the soil profile, affecting the ball speed and playability of the surface.

The high wear areas, such as goal mouths and centre circle, were being directly impacted by soil compaction and smearing of the surface.

Football Pitch Overseeding Process

The Solution

As part of the renovations and maintenance contract, the stadium’s football pitch was to be continuously monitored. This was to assess what maintenance would be required on an ongoing basis. The process entailed assessing the levels of organic matter, nutrient content, and a playing quality analysis.

The organic material levels were gradually reduced and controlled using an Amazone scarifier collector. This machine collects the scarified material off of the surface before it is taken away off site.

The soil compaction issue was resolved using a Redexim Vert – Drain aerator with 1-inch solid tines. This created lateral and vertical fissures in the soil, opening the surface up and facilitating gaseous exchange.

The timing of this operation was critical to prevent smearing or lateral compression. The works undertaken were to a depth of 23cm (9 inches), by varying the kick to provide disturbance to the football pitch surface.

After the football pitch surface was assessed, it established the proportion of grass species present. Then, following consultations with the grounds manager, an appropriate seed mixture was selected.

Sherriff Managing Director, Andrew Sherriff, who has over 10 years of experience within amenity sports turf, was able to advise and help select the right seed mixture to deliver the results St Albans Stadium requires.

Once the appropriate seed mixture was selected, it was sown in three different directions with a Vredo 2.2 Metre Sport Specialist Overseeder. The pitch was able to be disc seeded using a high seed dosage in a short time, whilst still obtaining optimum uniformity and quick growth. This process ensures an even and consistent germination across the pitch.

Once the pitch had been overseeded the surface was then top dressed using up to 60 tonnes of rootzone in one morning. The surface was drag-matted in three directions and an application of a specially selected fertiliser was applied.

Pristine Football Pitch Playing Surface

The Results

Our complex multi-stage process delivered a comprehensive football pitch renovation and maintenance programme that will enable the football pitch at St Albans City FC to withstand heavy wear. It provides enhanced playability for all-year-round performance.

The comprehensive pitch renovations and maintenance works resulted in:

  • Increased drainage rates which greatly reduced water logging in the winter months
  • Establishment of seminal roots which will form the basis of a strong root system
  • Increased durability of the grass sward
  • Reduced Poa Annua within the grass sward
  • Increased playability throughout the year

Sherriff’s continue to work closely with the club, monitoring the pitch and providing advice for the after-management care, including Verti-draining, spraying and fertilising.

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