10 Feb 2016
Michael Yan Hip, Head Groundsman, praises Award Nutri-Pro on the pitches.
Michael has been in charge of the 10 acres of natural sports surfaces within the 100 acre school campus for four years, but only recently started using Nutri-Pro Aitkens Technical Representative Ryan Beck recommended it to him during a recent visit.
The instant impact of the product has left him extremely pleased, and he has been surprised at just how quickly it has started taking effect on the pitches with a clear improvement in colour and recovery.
"We used it for the first time as part of our rugby renovation and preparation of pre-season rolling of the cricket squares, and the results have been very, very positive," he began.
"First we treated the cricket squares as a last granular feed prior to pre-season preparations and then used it on the rugby pitches the following day. Because it was a micro-fine product it broke down quickly and we saw evidence of the positive effects within a week of application.
With over ten years of soil amelioration the top three to four inches of the rugby pitches have good sand integration which has given the soil more structure greatly reducing the incidence of divots. When scars do occur it is more important to encourage regeneration of the roots which still exist in the soil profile than to focus on re-growing the surviving surface grass.
His team of four caters for different turf based sports at the Merchiston School including rugby, football, cricket and athletics, with the winter sports programme still in action across the nine grass pitches.
Michael explains his approach in more detail "Here in the Colinton area of Edinburgh the soil has extremely high clay content, and it's relatively acidic. The magnesium and calcium within Nutri-Pro break down the acid in the clay and generally improve the soil structure to promote healthy growth."
"Running parallel with our chemical and biological approach are the mechanical procedures such as spiking and vert-draining to aerate and de-compact the soil. With the afore-mentioned treatment of the soil with sand, the drainage and percolation rates have improved and enabled the pitches to shed the surface water more efficiently.
He runs a fertiliser programme which targets seasonal activity using Nutri-Pro 8-0-12 applied in the summer with its higher nitrogen content to stimulate growth of sward and Nutri-Pro 4-0-24 late on in the year to combat stress from autumn and winter rain and frost.
With the pitches in constant use at the all-boys school, the protection and longevity of the sward is vital. These factors along with the improvement of winter colour are what initially drew Michael to the product, with some guidance from Ryan.
"We looked at exactly what we were trying to achieve, I didn't want too high nitrogen content because I don't want to turn my pitches into a grass factory, particularly in early spring. Nutri-Pro has got the balance right and has helped on several different fronts to achieve superb playing surfaces all year round."