The recently re-built playing surface at UTAS Launceston

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Bryan Dunn and his team at UTAS Launceston have recently re-built the playing surface with Pitchcraft as the construction contractor. The playing surface looks magnificent and the presentation is full of class. This project was recently presented as a feature article in ATM; here we ask Bryan how things are coming along post construction.

UTAS is now 7 months old, are you facing any challenges with the new playing surface?
Overall it has been relatively good to manage. Any issues have resulted from a record amount of rainfall in April, the ground nutrition dropped substantially within a few days which in turn lead to Leptoshaerulina establishing. We haven’t had a lot of football on the new surface, so we haven’t been able to judge how it can cope with wear. But from our games in March there was next to no divoting which was highly positive.

Have your cultural practices changed since the oval has come into play?
If anything, we are doing more than before as we want the surface and profile to remain as good as possible for as long as possible. We feel the new oval will take more coring, tyning and dusting in the winter months compared with the old oval as it sits very wet after rain.

A 50/50 blend of Colosseum and Soprano was chosen, what was involved in your decision making? We have used this combination with success in the past and changed it to 40% Soprano / 60% Colosseum in autumn and vice versa in spring. We feel it is a blend best suited for our climate and recovery, given the volume of winter sport we have. It also produces a high-quality surface aesthetically.

In a normal playing season how often will you oversow and at what rate?
Usually only twice; around 100 kg/ha in autumn and 300 kg/ha during spring renovations.

Have you had any budget restrictions placed upon you due to COVID-19 that has impacted purchasing and staff numbers?
Not hugely. Our workload has been reduced so there has been no need for overtime, giving us lower labour costs compared to other years. We have been more mindful of the purchasing of certain things.

How have you found the support given to you by PGG Wrightson Turf before the project and ongoing?
Support from PGG Wrightson Turf has been at a very high level for a number of years now, particularly in the areas of information, education, customer service and advice for myself.

PGG Wrightson Turf are breeders and producers of perennial ryegrasses ideally suited to high performance sports turf. Mediterranean germplasm is a feature of PGG Wrightson Turf’s breeding program which can be found in cultivars such as Colosseum and blends such as Sports Oval. PGW Turf would like to congratulate all involved in this project.

For further information on PGG Wrightson Turf products and distributors please go to