Winter is a time when you can catch up with friends and old colleagues and today I visited an old colleague who has taken up the post of head groundsman at Leeds United's training ground at Thorpe Arch.
It is always interesting to talk to other groundsmen, be they professionals or just amateurs like myself. When I arrived they were vertidraining to get the grass roots as deep as possible. Whoever I listen to the one thing that comes across is aerate, aerate and aerate. There is no doubt that the work that has been done at Copmanthorpe has had a significant effect on the depth of root growth and this means less damage to the surface.
I read an article in Pitchcare's magazine last year where the head groundsman of one county cricket ground vertidrained the whole square as soon as the season had finished. It seemed odd to do such a drastic thing to a cricket square but this breaks up the compaction and gets the roots growing as deep as possible. Many players and spectators don't realise that on a cricket pitch we don't really want the blades of the grass, just the roots to bind the loam together.
I always like looking at the other equipment that other clubs have and my visit today helped focus my mind on some of the equipment that we might try and get in the future.
Next week the annual Turf Management Exhibition comes to Harrogate. I will try and get over there to see what I can learn and hopefully make some contacts.