By Koroing the west London school's four rugby/football pitches, not only was he able to eliminate the massive build-up of organic matter, which was causing major infiltration issues, but the renovation also enabled him to remove all the existing sward and switch to Rigby Taylor's R140 tetraploid Transitional Perennial Ryegrass blend.
The result, he said, is that he now has playing surfaces that "are much more wear tolerant and they maintain both better colour throughout the year and good winter growth".
Gleed commented: "The 10-acre site was redeveloped in 2004 at a cost of £4.3 million, and upon joining the school in 2013 I found I had inherited pitches that had developed major issues with drainage due to the heavy build-up of organic matter on their constructed rootzones (70:30 sand-soil, which itself is naturally free-draining).
"The surfaces also suffered poor wear tolerance and coverage after such heavy usage so a major renovation in 2014 to remove the top 30 mm layer (532 tonnes in total were removed) was long overdue and, of course, was also an opportune time for us to seriously re-assess exactly what sort of grass seed would best suit our needs."
Over recent years the pitches, which were a mixture of ryegrass plus smooth stalk meadowgrass, had also become increasingly infiltrated by poa annua.
After Koroing and power harrowing, the team overseeded with the new seed during the first week of July, with the first game on the new sward played during the last week of August.
The new sward "has certainly lived up to expectations", Gleed said.
"Combined with a regular maintenance programme of vertidraining/aeration, R140 has established an excellent root development in terms of root depth and structure – so much better than we ever had. In fact, if I had to make the choice again, I would go for exactly the same seed."
R140 is a new Transitional Perennial Ryegrass blend containing the tetraploid cultivars Fabian and Tetragreen. (Tetraploids have double the number of chromosomes in comparison to diploid perennial ryegrasses.)
Rigby Taylor says the mix's benefits include:
- Rapid germination
- Cool temperature shoot recovery with upright growth habit
- Exceptional stress tolerance, including tolerance to fusarium, leaf spot, rust, and drought conditions
- Enhanced depth of colour that blends in well with an existing perennial ryegrass sward
- Robust re-growth for extended seasonal performance
- Strong deep roots