Innovative techniques help prepare the turf for Isle of Wight music festival

Deep compressed air injection helped minimise the damage caused by 60,000 music fans who attended the Isle of Wight Festival this weekend 11-13 June.

The site was prepared earlier this year by Terrain Aeration and despite a week of heavy rain preceding the event, the worst of the usual muddy scenes from the classic festival were avoided.

Following a report by the Sports Turf Research Institute agronomist Alison King, the Isle of Wight Council hired Terrain Aeration to treat 26,000sq m of severely compacted sports field, prior to fertilising and over seeding.

STRI southern area manager Steve Gingell said the deep compressed air injection treatment was one of a range of aeration processes recommended as a solution to the problem.

"We dug a test pit and found deep compaction pans that needed to be broken through," he explained.

Terrain Aeration used Airforce and Airforce Scamper terralift machines, inserting the probe one metre below the surface and injecting compressed air to break up the sub soil.

The company then injected dried, milled seaweed on the final air blast, which swells when wet and will keep the new air channels open.

Terrain Aeration's David Green said:  "The compaction was so severe that we had to use the JCB hammer continuously. We even wore out the tip of the steel probe and had to get a replacement half way through the job."

Heavy rain did not interrupt the work and activated the seaweed as it went in.

According to Green this allows it to expand and contract depending on conditions, allowing surface water to drain away quickly following a downpour.


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