It's the off-season for Premier League soccer here, but that's when the work starts at Arsenal's soccer facilities. Much like the off-season in any sport, this is when the real hard grounds work is put in, so that the benefits will show during the season.
The latest techniques in reconstruction and renovation are used to create a clean surface for new grass growth. Machinery from my last internship with Campey Turfcare is used, including the Koro Field Top Maker, Koro Top Drain, and the Recycling Dresser.
While the training centre pitches are being renovated, the Emirates Stadium pitch in London is currently undergoing a massive reconstruction. The 10-year-old Desso Grassmaster pitch has been completely ripped out, as well as all of the sandy soil, down to a depth of 12 inches. A new under -soil heating system will be installed and new Desso fibers will be put in, providing stability and strength for the grass in the root zone.
Over the past couple of weeks, a constant stream of semis has been making the almost one hour journey from the stadium to the training ground to dump the once hallowed turf into a back field here to be recycled into use on another pitch.
Along with the renovations at the stadium and the training grounds, there are also renovations taking place at Arsenal's Hale End Youth Football Academy.
Paul Ashcroft is the Grounds Manager for both the Emirates Stadium and the Hale End Academy. He is overseeing the efforts to rejuvenate the pitches at both sites and give the players pristine playing surfaces throughout the year.
Koro Top Maker used to strip off the surface of the pitch
Koro Top Drain (middle) digs out 3 trenches and backfills with sand provided by the Dakota Top Dresser (left). The removed soil is offloaded into the trailer.
I got to try out the Top Drain on one of the pitches.
Emirates Stadium pitch being dug out (photo via Twitter: @DessoSports)
The (former) Emirates pitch turf sits in piles at the training centre.
New under soil heating tubes being installed
The reconstructed Emirates Stadium pitch
Renovations at the Hale End Academy
Rootzone mix deliveries at the Hale End Academy