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Hosting upwards of 70 fixtures in a season, it’s fair to say that the grounds staff at Boreham Wood Football Club have their work cut out when it comes to creating a pitch able to withstand the pressure of sustained levels of play. Add to that a lack of under soil heating and lighting rigs which means it’s down to mother nature to assist Head Groundsperson Ben Howell in the establishment and germination of seed – which for the last five years has been Johnsons J Premier Pitch, with fantastic results!
The pitch is home to National League Boreham Wood FC, alongside Arsenal Women and Arsenal Men’s Under 21 home fixtures which was the reason a replica of the Emirates Stadium pitch was installed at Meadow Park in 2017. Ben, part of the Arsenal grounds team, is assisted by Jack Reed and contractors Premiership Lawncare in the maintenance of the ground. “The play schedule is seemingly never-ending but our budget and resources are not, so we have to be sure that every operation we carry out is going to give us the desired result” explains Ben.
“When it comes to seed, wear tolerance is undoubtedly the key for us, but we also need something that recovers well and demonstrates strong resistance to disease.” For this, Ben uses J Premier Pitch from Johnsons Sports Seed. This 100% perennial ryegrass mixture features a proven combination of cultivars that provide high shoot density, rapid recovery and a camera-friendly finish even under intense wear.
“With this mixture, I just know it works! We’ll use it during our full renovation in the summer and then we will overseed again in the spring to repair any damage sustained over the winter which normally sees us through to the end of the season. It gives us the strength we need and holds up well against any disease, even this year which has been a challenging summer with very high disease pressure over an extended period. With the help of our preventative disease management programme, we have been able to deliver a high-quality playing surface.”
Ben adds, “Our local DLF Technical Advisor Craig Spooner comes in regularly to check how the seed is performing and has always been fantastic at helping and advising us should we be looking to make any changes to the programme. He appreciates that with our calendar there is no margin for error, but with J Premier Pitch we always have a surface that is fit and ready for play.”