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SISIS provides intense aeration for Forest Green Rovers

Forest Green Rovers' head groundsman Matt Rainey with the SISIS Autoslit
Forest Green Rovers' head groundsman Matt Rainey with the SISIS Autoslit

Forest Green Rovers have turned to the SISIS Autoslit and the SISIS Javelin Aer-Aid 1500 to keep on top of an intense aeration programme that helps maintain their status as the world's most sustainable football club.

The club is proud to have the world's first organic pitch and because of this head groundsman Matt Rainey and his team focus heavily on soil biology. They only select products that are going to feed the soil and the grasses - no high nitrogen feeds are used.

While selecting the igright products is of vital importance, only the best turf maintenance products are selected to keep the pitch in perfect condition - which is why Rainey has turned to SISIS.

"We obviously have to do a lot of research here for our products and we found that SISIS is a supplier to most of the clubs in the UK," he explained.

"They offer a great service and the back-up service is good. Basically, if you go to a groundsman’s store you’ll see SISIS kit in there,” he added.

The SISIS Autoslit and SISIS Javelin Aer-Aid play their roles in an ongoing aeration regime which must be carried out whatever the weather.

"Here at the ground, sand compacts a lot in the winter so we have to try to alleviate our footprint.

"This is why we try to source machines such as the Autoslit because we are at the second highest point in Gloucestershire so when we get rainfall we get a lot of it."

The pedestrian SISIS Autoslit is a powered deep slitter which reduces turf compaction and the build up of thatch, boosting the health of a pitch as well as improving drainage, which is key for Rainey and his team.

"We used to have problems with drainage and a pedestrian aerator weighs a lot less than a tractor mounted one.

"Again it’s all about the footprint and to keep as much weight off the pitch as possible.

"We used the Autoslit in the middle of July when we needed aeration to get to the new seed in order to make it grow.

"We also use it a lot during the winter and autumn when there has been a heavy down pour. It’s easy to use and it cleans up the top couple of millimetres of the profile excellently.

"If it’s a match day and the goal mouth is wet then we just use the Autoslit in the 18 yard box.

"If I know rain is coming a day before the game then I’ll put the Autoslit all over the pitch.

"It does a fantastic job and it can be the difference between ensuring the game happens instead of cancelling it."

The SISIS Javelin Aer-Aid 1500 is a vertical action air injection aerator with air injection tines specially designed to use the maximum air available from the compressor. Its wide working width ensures outstanding turf care whenever you are ready to aerate, and Rainey believes it is vital to keeping the pitch in excellent condition.

"The SISIS Javelin Aer-Aid does exactly what it says on the tin. We use it to blow air into the top 10mm of the pitch because winter sport pitches get compacted," he said.

"It dries out the pitch even quicker, eliminates any black layer that sand pitches produce and it essentially gets air to those roots which then in turn produces stronger roots, stronger grass and better drainage.

"We use the Aer-Aid about once a month but it really depends on weather conditions. We may use it more depending if we identify a little bit of black layer – then we simply pump the air in.

"We just change the aeration programme for what the pitch requires and the SISIS equipment really helps.

"If you haven’t got the kit then you can’t do the job properly. A key cog doesn’t work at the football club if you haven’t got the right kit and if the pitch doesn’t work then the team doesn’t perform."

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