Downside School, attached to Downside Abbey in Somerset, has had particular problems with the banks on the site causing issues with drainage on some of the sites key sports areas. Headland Amenity’s Xpedite has helped Steve Eade, Head of Grounds and Gardens, to alleviate the problem.
Downside, a co-educational Catholic boarding school, has been on its current site since the early 1800’s. A majority of the buildings and outdoor facilities over the 250-acre site, that were handmade by the monks, are still in existence today. Steve and his team of 5, oversee 4 cricket squares, 3 football pitches (including an astro-pitch), athletics facilities as well as gardens, woodlands and much more. Downside has historically been a rugby-playing school and it’s here, on one of the sites 7 rugby pitches, that Steve has had particular problems. “Where the monks ‘dragged down’ the land we have a number of banks and our first team rugby pitch in particular suffers for this, as it sits on one of the lowest levels on the site” explains Steve. “During the playing season high levels of play cause compaction and this, combined with any spells of significant rainfall, sees water running down the bank and flooding the first team area.”
“We use a range of Headland products including Multigreen and C-Complex so I spoke to Alex Hawkes and asked if he had anything which could draw the water down quicker. Alex suggested we try Xpedite in conjunction with our aeration, topdressing and overseeding programme.” Xpedite is a granular soil amendment product that introduces non-compacting pore space into problem rootzones.
Applied in Mid-March, Steve says it didn’t take long for the improvements to appear. “We found the areas that were previously very compacted and therefore puddled became much more free-draining. Xpedite draws the moisture down to below the root level.” Because of the improved rootzone conditions, benefits have also been evident with the seed take up, growth and surface firmness.
Final word from Steve, “I was sceptical at first it could deliver what Alex said but it has and we’ve all been really pleased. Moving forward we’ll look to re-apply in March again next year as well as hopefully using it on other areas – now we’ve got a product that works, our only restrictions are budget and time!”