Stuart Vause, head groundsman at Castleford Tigers RLFC, believes that Sherriff Amenity’s range of Marathon Sport fertilisers have signalled dramatic improvements on the pitch at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle Stadium.
It is safe to say that Stuart Vause has earned his stripes as the head groundsman for Super League side Castleford Tigers. For thirteen years, he worked for the club at every available opportunity while also juggling a full time position for a local authority. His dedication to the Tigers was rewarded three years ago when he was appointed as the head groundsman, and it is a foregone conclusion that the pitch has significantly improved during his tenure.
However, it hasn’t been plain sailing for Stuart – the pitch at the Jungle is over ninety years old and has no drainage or irrigation system and no undersoil heating. If that were not enough to keep Stuart busy, then there is the heavy usage to consider. The first team play approximately seventeen home games throughout the campaign and train on the pitch four times a week. In addition, the pitch plays host to Castleford Tigers’ Under 19 and Under 16 teams. During peak periods the pitch can be used six times a week which can take its toll.
As well as his hard work and expertise, Stuart admits that having a good range of turf care products in place has been vital and none more so than Sherriff Amenity’s range of Marathon Sport fertilisers.
“I’ve tried lots of different approaches and products but three years ago I researched Marathon Sport,” says Stuart. “I trialled it and have been using it ever since because it really seems to suit the field. I’ve had excellent results from it and it holds incredibly well in this structure and soil – I can probably get a good three or four months out of each application, depending on rain.”
For a number of years, turf managers have reaped the benefits of Sherriff Amenity’s range of Marathon fertilisers. The Marathon Sport range of extended release fertilisers provide long-lasting, balanced growth on a number of surfaces such as golf greens fairways, tees, surrounds, ornamental lawns and of course sports fields.
The Marathon range is characterised by a balance of nutrients, the analyses of each product being geared to a specific growth stage or season. With six existing products in the Marathon Sport range – Autumn, Pre-Seed, Spring, Summer, Turf Core Renovator and Lawn Mini Pack– there truly is a solution for every requirement, no matter what the time of year.
Stuart’s maintenance programme sees him start the season with the Spring and Summer mixtures, which he applies at 35g per square metre on a double pass with his spreader. He’ll apply these mixtures approximately three times during the spring and summer months and when the colder months kick in he turns to Marathon Sport Autumn to ensure good grass coverage over winter.
“The Marathon Sport fertilisers have dramatically thickened the sward – it’s been unbelievable. When I first came here the field was fragile, it used to rip up and lumps would come out. Now however, we have a really strong root zone – obviously with Rugby League games it is rough and tough but the pitch just seems to hold up to it.
“I love the colour that it provides too. During the winter months this field used to lose a lot of colour but it is now a lush green all year round. Sometimes, if we are on TV I’ll just give it a light application to really bring the colour out. It also never leaves foot marks and has never scorched for as long as I’ve been using it – this is with minimal water too.
“Perhaps one of the biggest benefits is that it doesn’t give you excessive growth. With it only being me here, it helps if I’m not chasing my tail having to cut it constantly. With some fertilisers, you apply it and if you leave it for a period of time you’ll be faced with an abundance of grass. The Marathon Sport just kicks on nicely at a steady pace and if I can’t get on to mow it for two or three days it is still manageable.”
Adding to the overall package from Sherriff Amenity, Stuart also revealed that the products are complimented by the technical advice he receives from his representative Robert Bone.
“I trust Robert completely – when he gives me advice I always take it on-board. If he thinks that a certain product isn’t working then he’ll let me know and we’ll try something else until we find one that does get results. He does my soil testing and when we come to sit down he’ll present me with charts and graphs detailing what I should be putting on the pitch at certain times of the year. Overall I couldn’t be happier with the service I receive from Sherriff Amenity.”