Category Archives: Vitax Amenity

News relating to Vitax Amenity


Tailored turfcare support comes up trumps at Harborne

harbourne-2Grassroots sport is usually challenged for the funds needed to nurture playing surfaces to the level they merit. When they do have budgets, grounds professionals want to control turfcare costs to give them the comfort of knowing their outlay during the year. One reason why Vitax Supaturf tailored packages of turf treatments and equipment are proving so popular.

At Harborne Cricket Club on the outskirts of Birmingham, groundsman Pete Day is already reporting great results for the package that local representative Alex McDermott put together for him for the start of the season.  With the club’s 150th anniversary looming large in 2018, Peter is confident the two grounds in his charge will not disappoint the home and away teams, local schools and corporate clients who play at the historic site.

A cricketer himself, Pete had been headhunted by Old Hill Cricket Club, multiple winners of theharborne-cc Birmingham League, some seven years ago, before Harborne came calling with an offer he couldn’t refuse – although not for his playing prowess. “I prepare pitches to a higher standard than I play on them,” he quips. One of the biggest clubs in the `Second City`, Harborne plays in the Birmingham & District Cricket League, the oldest recorded cricket league in the world, formed in 1888.

England test batsman Jonathan Trott was assigned here when he first came over to England from his native South Africa, as was West Indian test batsman Alvin Kallicharran.

Chairman Malcolm Willcox, whose chartered accountancy firm, Malcolm Willcox & Co, sponsors the club, is the driving force behind the push to maximise sporting uptake of the site, and introduced junior football and Sunday league fixtures recently on the Knots ground, sited next door to the first and second X1 square.

“He was the main reason I came here,” Pete reveals. “He is great at attracting money from local businesses [like persuading Cottons, a leading firm of Birmingham chartered surveyors, to sponsor the club] and is really ambitious for the club, though runs it very much on commercial lines. Most importantly, I have his backing. He knows I know what I’m doing.”

Still just 39, and largely self-taught in groundsmanship, Pete has attracted a stack of awards in turfcare – Midland Club Cricket Conferences Groundsman of the Year 2015; Division 1 best pitch and outfield for the 2015 season and `Most improved ground in Worcestershire` (harking back to his volunteer days at Stourbridge Cricket Club).

Under Harborne’s five-year plan to improve facilities across the board and to attract local youth cricket with quality playing surfaces, Pete has taken up a tailored turf treatment package from Supaturf, which is already bringing tangible benefits – without breaking the bank. Within 18 months of arriving, Pete was stuck into improving Harborne’s turf machinery fleet, purchasing a Ransomes Triking 1900D for the outfields. A 2te electric roller followed, then an Allett C20 walkbehind, with all the cassettes, a Verticut, brush, and T blade cylinder with groomer. Not forgetting his own machine – a Ransomes AutoSurtees 10-blade walkbehind – the existing Honda IZY rotary and the Groundsman 345 Aerator.harbourne-1

Included in his purchasing was a Vitax 250 EvenSprey sprayer, acquired through a local supplier, who put Pete in touch with Alex when the machine needed servicing.

“Over the winter, I had been thinking about suppliers and technical back-up,” Pete recalls, so I spoke to previous suppliers about a turfcare plan for Harborne.

“It was Alex who ticked all the boxes for me, talking to me as a groundsman and taking a long hard look at what we had in the shed and the Chemstore, and in good faith advising whether we needed things or not.” It was just the kind of support Pete was searching for. “I needed someone to pick up the phone for advice and build a relationship with. As a solo groundsman that’s crucial for me.”

When Pete purchased a Vitax SSR 50 25kg capacity spreader at the start of the 2016 season, it was Alex who was there for him. “He built the spreader and provided on the job training to ensure I got the best out of what is a very handy piece of kit.”

After soil samples revealed magnesium deficiency and low levels of potassium, Alex formulated a package of turf treatments suited to the ground type. “My knowledge is weak underneath the soil,” states Pete, “but I was confident that the suggested programme Alex prepared would do the job.” And it has. Commencing in late March, the package includes Vitax Kieserite speciality fertiliser to raise magnesium levels, Enhance R microgranular fertiliser, 50-50 MiNT micronutrient tonic and SwardPhite bioactive liquid fertiliser and 50:50 Soluble Iron to prevent moss and provide rapid green-up to the turf surface.pete-with-allett-machine

“I applied fertiliser on Easter weekend for a pre-season kick and recovery as plant health improved on the strips,” Pete reports, “then mix the MiNT and SwardPhite formulations in a tank before applying the liquid with the EvenSprey. – simple, light, easy to run and maintain piece of kit.” Enhance R is applied with the SSR 50 spreader in the spring/summer period, then again in autumn, before leaving the fertiliser to do its job over the winter until pre-season.

“Results to date have been fantastic,” Pete declares. “The wickets and outfield look superb. Many clubs would die for a beautiful outfield like this but to help keep it that way I plan to scarify it next year.” Could another turfcare award be on the way soon? Watch this space.

As Alex confirms: “It’s all about getting back to the roots by providing a no-nonsense, reasonably priced package of turf treatments and equipment that suit the budgets of grassroots groundsmen.”

Pete again: “Most clubs will supply a budget to groundsmen but you have to justify what you need and when to the committee,” Pete explains. “The programme allows me to budget and fits nicely with what I have to spend overall.” Stressing another key benefit, Pete adds: “Visiting players can see how great the ground looks, while also showing the club committee early proof of the efficiency of the turfcare programme I’ve selected.”

george-webb-at-harbornePete is no solitary soul plugging away at grounds improvements though. George Webb, 15, once dreamt of reaching the cricketing heights but is now keen to make his mark in the sport in another way, assisting with turfcare duties under a work experience programme.

“If I cannot play cricket at the highest level, groundsmanship is a great option,” he beams. “I used the 2te roller this week – really enjoyable. This is the kind of job I’d like to do.”


Then there’s the other Harborne stalwart – Helen, Pete’s wife. “She helps me out on my rest days,” he says, “cutting the outfields with the Triking mower.” Saddened by the demise of full-time grounds professionals in grassroots cricket, Pete knows he is one of the few and intends to see Harborne become a shining example of sustainable sport. With Vitax Supaturf’s help, he is already well on the way. “I’m young enough to adapt and to not stay shackled to tradition.”

Clearly a man on a mission.



Vitax Amenity Supaturf at SALTEX 2016 Stand C120

Total solutions for turfcare

Vitax Amenity Supaturf delivers total solutions for today’’s turfcare. Learn why the Supaturf SWOZI GPS-guided linemarking system can save you so much time, money and resources – ask for details of our feasibility study data.

The captivating drone video showing SWOZI marking out a football pitch from scratch dramatically demonstrates the power and efficiency of this technology.

Vitax maintains extremely close working relationships with grassroots grounds professionals, helping them solve the kind of problems that arise day to day. That’s why we’ll be running a special Helpdesk to guide visitors on aspects of provision as diverse as linemarking machine calibration and leaf coverage when marking out.

Supaturf artificial paint is some of the toughest available, maintaining good coverage and adherence to all modes of synthetic turf, including rubber crumb-filled 3G systems.

The TFS25 tank-free linemarker is proving a winner across the sector since its launch at last year’stfs25-in-use show – not surprising, because it’s so simple to switch drums and there’s no washing out needed.

Enhanced features on the popular EvenSprey Club sprayer, many in response to customer feedback, have further raised its operational convenience and reliability.

Vitax serves needs right across sport, leisure and amenity, from customised fertilisers and turf treatments, marker paints and aerosols to suit every application and budget to spreaders, sprayers and linemarkers from traditional to leading edge designs.


Vitax Meet the Team

Wainwright’s wheelie good trek

Intrepid fellwalker Alfred Wainwright (‘AW’) devised some of Britain’s most memorable treks, largely in his beloved Lake District. The guide book author and illustrator’s ‘Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells’ is still the standard reference work to 214 peaks rising in one of the most scenic areas of Britain.

No relation – but equally fond of scaling the heights is namesake Allan Wainwright, Vitax Amenity Supaturf Technical Sales Representative for the South of England, who has visited some truly inspiring spots to indulge his passion for mountain-biking.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEven the “wilds of Essex” that are his home turf could never hope to satisfy Allan’s pioneering spirit for long and his journeys in search of more challenging off-road experiences include Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler, Vancouver, Canada, which staged the 2010 Winter Olympics, and just recently, Snowdon, the loftiest summit in Wales at 3,560 feet.

Partnered by fiancee Sarah Powl, whom he proposed to on a mountain-ridge in Lillooet on their first trip to Canada, this AW’s venture to Snowdonia was a way of chilling out for a few days – ascending most of the Llanberis Path with his trusty Cannondale Trigger two-wheeler on his back, enjoying the view with a hoard of other trekkers and off-roaders at the summit, then careering down the mountain via the Ranger’s Path “just for fun”. Sarah meanwhile eased her way down the way they had ascended.

allan-wainwright-climbing-snowdon“It’s really an unwinding process for me,” says Allan. “A chance to shut off for a while from what is an intensive job. The trips to Black Comb Mountain were some of the best moments of my life – hiring a $10,000 bike to explore the 2,400m high Peak is unbeatable. Only 150 bikers a day are allowed to bike down it so I felt one of the privileged few.”

The UK’s tallest summit at 4,406 feet, Ben Nevis, must surely beckon now for Allan. Perhaps for the honeymoon or the minimoon?  “Anything’s possible but this is a hectic year.”

Who knows, one day we may have the ‘AW Guide to Peak Mountain Biking’ to guide the cycling adventurers among us.

Futurescape logo

Vitax Amenity Supaturf at FutureScape 2016

A solution for every contractor

Reasons for the popularity of Vitax Amenity Supaturf’s products among landscape and sports contractors will be clear for all to witness on their stand at Futurescape, Sandown Park Racecourse, this year.

The turf technologists sell untold volumes of linemarking liquids and aerosols throughout the sector because of their cost effectiveness and reliability. Formulated in the company’s factory, Stadia and SupaStadia marking paints deliver clean, shining, robust pitch lines no matter how large the job and demanding the climate – and the TFS25 is the linemarking machine helping contractors make a big impression on public and private sector sportsgrounds since its launch less than a year ago.

Showing their true colours across landscaping and sport are Supaturf aerosols. Ground care professionals demand purity when marking out for different sports and the range does not disappoint – proving just the job for initial marking out as well as a wealth of other grounds tasks.

Shaking up the sector is the new Supaturf SWOZI GPS-guided linemarking system, introduced to slash the time taken to mark out a pitch from scratch – typically just 30 minutes for football by one person. Contractors are warming to the opportunity to boost their business by being able to complete more linemarking tasks per day. Over 12 months, those time savings add up to a major benefit for them, and their customers.

Across sport and amenity, at Futurescape Supaturf will display the technology and knowledge that allows it to serve needs across the spectrum of provision. Its sprayers and spreaders, for example, broadcast fertilisers and turf treatments for all seasons, soil types and settings.

Futurescape will take place at Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher, Surrey, on Tuesday 15th November 2016.

Futurescape logo

Stencils kit 2

Stencils – draw your own conclusions

Public and private sites can draw their own conclusions – literally – about the stencil kits launched by Vitax Amenity. Made from organic wood pulp, recycled paper, textile fibres and pure bitumen, the sturdy stencils provide a robust, convenient and green solution for freshening up car parks and marking out sportsturf permanently or for temporarily marking them out for special events or occasions.

Schools, golf clubs and parking organisations will find them indispensable, given current budgetary constraints. Biodegradable, the stencils can be composted safely or landfilled at the end of their useful life.


Dimensions for the six stencils in the numbers (0 to 9) kit range from 105mm width x 230mm height for 1-0 and the single stencil providing all ten numbers, to 250mm width x 380mm height for 1-2; 3-4; 5-6; 7-8 and 9-0.

The car park kit provides a spread of sizes:

790mm width x 480mm height for the disabled symbol;Stencils kit 2

250mm width x 485mm height for `In` and `Out` instructions;

680mm width x 250mm height for `Parking`;

820mm width x 400mm height for `Stop`;

530mm width x 380mm height for the arrow symbol;

840mm width x 250mm height for `Visitors`;

810mm width x 225mm height for `Reserved`;

410mm width x 140mm left height and 110mm right height for a straight line;

530mm width x 60mm left height and 110 right height for a curved line.


“We’ve tested the stencils extensively at various locations and they’ve gone down very well indeed,” said Mike King, Vitax Amenity’s Sales and Marketing Manager.  “They’re a fast, cost-efficient DIY solution for a host of temporary or permanent requirements, complementing our SupaMark aerosols range, which are available in two grades and a spectrum of colour options,” he added.

The car park stencils pack cost just £55.00 for a pack of ten, while the numbers 0 to 9 pack costs just £50; both prices plus postage and VAT.


Arrow 3

Arrow sharpens its appeal

Already a hit with grounds professionals across sport and amenity, the popular Briteliner Arrow features enhanced benefits to boost turfcare performance. Line integrity is always key to delivering quality. That’s why we’ve fitted a pre-assembled cartridge system to the machine. Consistent wheel alignment is the result.

Arrow 1

We listen to customers and respond to their recommendations. You wanted a drain-off bung to remove paint when the machine is not in use, so we’ve included it in the latest version of the Arrow, though you can still tip and even remove the tank as before.

Arrow 2

The streamlined handlebar offers more hand-position options to improve comfort in use, while the twin arms on the scraper bar provide added sturdiness to a machine valued for its lightness and manoeuvrability.

If you want to increase the centre wheel weight on the machine, the hollow central wheel can be filled with sand to increase contact pressure.

Lightweight, removable tank, 3, 4 and 5in wheel width options plus a handy on-board brush for penalty/centre circle spot marking make the Briteliner Arrow a must-have machine in the shed.

Greg Holden

The world is enough

Export manager Greg Holden once had to dig deep to discover his first love in life. Now, another passion confronts him face to face pretty much every day – selling Vitax turf products to customers around the world.

“Ancient history and archaeology are my great interests, especially the Greek and Roman periods,”Greg Holden announces the 45-year-old, who took a degree in the subject from Liverpool University. “I was lucky enough to unearth a Roman nail and Celtic iron hearth during excavations. A real thrill at the time,” he recalls. These days, selling is his lifeblood, although he admits that he “fell into it” after working in the packaging industry early on. The sports, amenity and horticulture sectors are thankful that he did.

In post for more than five years now, Greg spends many months of the year meeting turf professionals and businesses in more than 20 countries, from Switzerland to Sweden, Cyprus to Brazil, Japan to the USA. Hard work undoubtedly, but he carries with him a key advantage, he believes. “The UK is seen as a worldleader in turf. Our groundsmen are considered the gold standard, so people abroad tend to listen to you when you talk about groundcare products.”

That can come in handy.  “I’ve seen some staggering sights on my travels, not only historic masterpieces but magnificent examples of how not to mark out pitches,” he recounts, “like the Brazilian groundsman who was daubing on decorating paint with a brush on the end of a stick. I had to point out tactfully that there was another way of doing it.”

Clocking up the air miles is no trouble to him. “I don’t mind the travel, you get used to it, in what is a far more competitive marketplace than when I first started selling. The really tough part is organising flight times to fit in with meetings.”  There’s also the thorny perennial of communicating globally. “You have to choose your words very carefully indeed sometimes.  Bullet points leave less scope for ambiguity in emails,” he advises. “Fortunately, English is the lingua franca in many countries.”

Resident in Preston, Lancashire, Greg, wife Anna and Staffie rescue dog Star are close to some of the most glorious sites in Britain. “We love Silverdale in the South Lakes – fantastic views and plenty of walking: That and Hutton Roof limestone paving.”   If the weather turns nasty, his attentions turn to restoring classic cars. “I’m tackling a Mini at the moment – one of the original designs – so that keeps me busy. I do like a round of golf too.”

Greg on the golf course

An old cliché it may be but the world really is his oyster, Greg says. “I’m lucky, I can sell anything I want. There are so many opportunities and many of my customers are keen to learn what’s happening in the UK.”

He always keeps tabs on developments in-house at Vitax. “I attend sales meeting at the Coalville head office and listen attentively to what the reps say and learn from them as they are at the coalface. “My watchword is always to be honest when selling, as people buy people – another cliché but so true.”


Giggleswick pitch

Never a line out at Giggleswick, except during a rugby match

School rugby is certainly moving along the right lines at Giggleswick School where the youth game is mining a rich vein of form, whether non-contact tag rugby for the seven-year olds or the powerplay of the U18s.

Giggleswick pitch

Geographically, Giggleswick’s location in Settle, North Yorkshire, is at the epicentre of northern counties competition and stages a host of events across its age groups, such as the festival held this November for Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cheshire and Northumberland/Cumbria/Durham/ U16s teams.

When England selectors are attending, presentation is paramount, which is why Head of Grounds Craig Eccleston ensures his ‘Fields of Dreams” are pitch perfect in every respect.

“Boys and girls rugby are big here,” says Craig,” we hold festivals for the U9s, U10s and U11s right up to the U18s. Our pitches are in good condition, well-drained and maintained so that they can withstand intensive use for several months of the year. They have to look the part and laying down bright sharp lines is an important element of our preparations.”

Seeking to emulate the success of last year’s U16s festival Craig has, once again, applied Supaturf Stadia paint with the TX252 line markers that have served him and his grounds team so consistently well over the years.

Giggleswick TFS line marking

“We had tried several makes of marker machines and paint but had suffered various problems with them,” recalls Craig. “Either the machines were prone to blockages or the batteries had issues. My predecessor used the Supaturf machines and paint when he moved to another school and recommended them. Since then, we’ve never looked back.”

Rugby is just one of several sports Gigglewick provides that need the reliability and professional finish Craig’s TX252s and Stadia paint provide. The floodlit synthetic sand-dressed hockey pitch comes in for heavy use during the autumn and winter, while football enters the arena at the turn of the year before cricket on the three squares and rounders start in earnest over the spring and summer terms.

After boundary marking on the squares, using their TX252s, the team reverts to hand painting the creases applying neat Stadia paint to provide “a bright strong, hardwearing line that fits the bill”, Craig says.  The grounds team use the machines for marking out athletics for summer also doing the job on the three grass tennis courts too he adds.

Their manoeuvrability means the team can quickly mark out corner quadrants and other curved lines on playing surfaces. “Our different coloured aerosols serve us well there too,” says Craig,  “Depending on which sports are planned, we use red, blue and yellow. They also come in handy for measuring out pitch dimensions initially and for `Ground under repair` notices

“Our wheel-to-wheel line markers had proved good value for money but when I was given a demonstration of the spray markers, I just had to switch,” Craig adds.

Rothwell Juniors poster

Rothwell’s dual delivery solves 3G linemarking issues

Early 3G pitch adopter Rothwell Juniors are celebrating a decade of robust service from their synthetic pitch, heavily patronised by schools and local club junior levels for match fixtures and training. Facilities manager Steven Walker has been in post since the synthetic area opened so knows that only regular maintenance will keep the playing surface safe and sound – and that includes the linemarking.

Rothwell Juniors poster

“When you have a surface that sees action every night of the week and at weekends, you have to ensure your lines are crisp, sharp and longlasting,” Steven stresses.

Rothwell line marking

He used Supaturf Artificial Surface Paint and liked its professional finish and durable lines. Not easy to achieve when you are dealing with 3G’s shifting rubber crumb infill, he explains.

“The solution is to apply the artificial paint first to establish the lines on the pile, then spray every month or two with Supaturf SupaStadia paint to ensure a longlasting result on the rubber crumb.”

SupaStadia also fits the bill for the natural pitches in his care, which also come in for heavy use.

Rothwell pitches

He relies on his Supaturf TXE 606 and 505 linemarking machines but had suffered problems with paint, until he switched to a Supaturf product, he says.

“My previous paint kept clogging the machine nozzles, which was a real pain having to keep clearing them of build-up.  I asked Vitax regional technical manager Graham Wingfield for advice and he suggested SupaStadia, which does the job time and again and produces a really white line that looks a treat on match days.”


Fast track at Writtle College

Turfcare professionals learning the fundamentals of linemarking at one of the UK’s top colleges are discovering how to accelerate marking out athletics tracks, with help from Vitax Amenity.

Sports contractors and groundsmen attending the `Marking Out – Pitches and Athletics Tracks` one-day course at Writtle College can put the morning’s theory into practice using Vitax linemarkers fitted with a special boom attachment designed to lay out three lane lines at once instead of just a single one.


Nigel Beckford, Sportsturf Lecturer and Course Manager for Apprenticeships in Horticulture, sourced Vitax to provide the machinery to demonstrate the linemarking principles he outlines in his morning session. “I do all the technical content,” he explains, “then Allan Wainwright of Vitax Technical Sales comes down with all the kit, which includes the Briteliner Arrow wheel-to-wheel and TFS25 spray linemarking machines, fitted with the athletics boom attachment. “It makes for a great day for everyone. We attract a wide mix of participants, including local authorities, sole operators and now school caretakers, who increasingly are taking on pitch marking duties.”

The course provides participants with the knowledge and legal aspects of linemarking, including the materials and machines provided, Nigel notes.

The content includes:

Setting out a right angle

Initial marking sequence

Over-marking routes

Metrication and safe working practice

They also learn the basic setting out and preparation of linemarking materials. “I run a spring course around Easter time then another in the autumn for the changeover to winter pitches,” Nigel adds. Those attending can also try their hand at marking out pitches using the Arrow and TFS25 machines, hearing from Allan how to clean and maintain them.

Writtle College is one of the largest land-based university colleges in the UK, and one of the oldest, launching its extensive course programme on the 220-hectare estate as far back as 1893.