Specialist sports turf contractor Greentech was brought in to build the new pitch, which features 20 new drains, a new rootzone and under-soil heating. Though it performs annual closed season repairs for the North Lanarkshire football club, the company faced a race against the clock to complete the reconstruction in time for the new playing season.
Greentech’s Kevin Brunton recommended a special version of Barenbrug’s BAR 8 sports mixture – omitting the 20 percent Bariris smooth-stalked meadowgrass content in favour of extra Barcrown slender creeping red fescue – to achieve even speedier establishment.
“This, together with the mixture’s Romance and Barlennium perennial ryegrasses, produced the early establishment we needed to get the new pitch ready for the first game of the new season in September, just eight weeks after sowing the seed,” Kevin comments.
With the Fir Park pitch first established in 1895 and simply repaired and improved with remedial works over the past century rather than renewed, Ian says that the reconstruction was much needed. “The old pitch was quite tough and had a fibre-sand base – when we took it out you could see what a sorry state it was in,” Ian reveals. “The tarmac in the carpark was in better condition!”
Ian says that the Scottish Premier League club’s pitch is now looking better than ever as a result of the reconstruction. “I’m really pleased with it,” he continues. “The seed came up in just three days and was pushing through the covers in five. Growing conditions were ideal and after five weeks we had total cover, which is phenomenal.”
Ian is also impressed with the mixture’s disease tolerance – in particular, Romance’s tolerance to Leaf Spot. “Our old pitch and other playing surfaces in the area are prone to Leaf Spot, so we were expecting the new pitch to be affected. But it’s got excellent disease resistance and we’ve had no problems whatsoever. Overall we’re delighted with it.”