Frequent use of stadium brings forward re-turfing

A ‘‘hectic’’ year for Forsyth Barr Stadium has resulted in the re-turfing being brought forward by 12 months.

The process began on Sunday and yesterday members of the public could watch as a tractor took off the top layer of grass, leaving behind a few strands of real grass and some synthetic grass.

Forsyth Barr Stadium turf manager Michael Watson said the re-turfing had been scheduled for December 2020, but because of the volume of events held at the stadium, repair work was needed earlier.

‘‘It’s been a crazy couple of years for the stadium, which has meant we’ve had to bring forward what we’re doing here.’’

Overseeing the biennial re-turfing of the grass is Forsyth Barr Stadium turf manager Michael Watson, who examines the remaining natural grass and synthetic fibres left on the pitch after stripping. Photo: Craig Baxter
Overseeing the biennial re-turfing of the grass is Forsyth Barr Stadium turf manager Michael Watson, who examines the remaining natural grass and synthetic fibres left on the pitch after stripping. Photo: Craig Baxter
The last major pitch renovation was in December 2017, he said.

Dunedin Venues marketing manager Kim Barnes said this time of year was ideal for the work because there were no events scheduled until the Elton John concert in February.

Mr Watson said the the process involved about nine hours of work taking off the top 20mm of grass, sowing, and fertilising.

The stadium used a stabiliser system called Desso GrassMaster, in which natural turf is reinforced with millions of long artificial fibres that keep everything together, he said.

‘‘Everything on top is natural grass, but in the soil profile we’ve got vertical fibres.

‘‘This strips it back to square one so the grass has a chance to grow again. The more we cut it, the more it grows back thicker, so we cut it about every few days.’’

The grass should be at a healthy level of growth by February, he said.

Winners of a Facebook contest would help to sow the seeds tomorrow, with a tractor set to drop 450kg of seeds.

‘‘It’s a community stadium so we want to get the community involved wherever possible.’’

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