All changes at Saint Mirren

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thomas-docherty“This signified not just a change in location, but also a total change in pitch construction,” says Thomas Docherty, head groundsman at the Club.  “The old pitch was a traditional soil construction with no proper irrigation, whilst the pitch at the new ground is made of Fibresand together with an up-to-date irrigation system”.

This significant change also provided the ideal opportunity to review the clubs existing turf maintenance equipment.

Dennis was quickly established as first choice for Thomas following good reports, “A lot of groundsmen kept telling me they were using Dennis equipment because of the excellent finish and outstanding performance they were getting from their machines”.

Local Dennis dealer, Fraser Robb, was consulted at Scotsturf 2008 with a G860 being recommended because of the quick change cassettes. “The system is really straight forward to change over. I purchased 3 cassettes; a Verti-cutter, a Scarifier and a Brush.  This means I have also saved space as I don’t have a lot of different machines sitting around!”

The weight of the machine also played a big part in his decision, “The G860 is that little bit lighter than my previous mower, which means less ground pressure and less problems with compaction”. The light weight machine also has low Hand Arm Vibration which aids operator comfort, especially as Thomas cuts the pitch 3 times a week from the start of the season to around November when growth slows down.

Thomas has learned his whole trade at the club, having joined over 25 years ago straight from school, and draws from this wealth of experience to know what he needs from his equipment. “The Fibresand pitch tends to be firmer than the old soil one. To help ease compaction I tend to Verti Drain about every 5 to 6 weeks in the winter months and slightly more regularly in the summer, allowing more ‘give’ in the playing surface for the players,” he explained.

Visual neatness is also important. The Brush cassette means any debris that is left behind after a game can be cleaned away. Thomas is also pleased with the striping he gets with the G860, “It’s helping me to achieve an appearance which is pleasing on the eye, everybody is delighted with the end result.”

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