Members of the Turfgrass Growers Association (TGA) met last month to reflect on 2013 and prepare for the year ahead. TGA growers and trade members discussed the associations activities and heard from three eminent industry speakers – Jacob Tompkins, Managing Director of Waterwise; Dougie Robertson, West Ham United Football Club Head Groundsman and Dr Ruth Mann from STRI.

Looking back at the summer, TGA Chief Executive Tim Mudge commented: “We’ve had a busy year, with a fantastic Turf Show in July followed by a spell of hot, dry weather that pushed our ‘brown lawns are cool’ message to the top of the agenda.” 

The was support from Waterwise’s Jacob Tompkins who spoke about the global pressures on water supply and praised the ‘brown lawns’ campaign adding that TGA are key to educating consumers about using water responsibly. “Turf is a preferable surface to decking, slabs and artificial lawns,” he added. It plays an important part in water sensitive urban design, reducing heat and flood risks caused by run off, replenishing groundwater reserves and improving the wellbeing of residents.”

Dougie Robertson from West Ham United next revealed the challenges of maintaining turf in a high-pressure environment and detailed the innovations he uses to encourage grass growth in shaded areas. He explained how Hawk-Eye goal line technology works at Upton Park and discussed the club’s planned move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016.

Dr Ruth Mann from STRI concluded the speaker programme with a comprehensive update on the Sustainable Use, Machinery and Water Framework Directives, which affect the working practices of all those working in the turf and amenity sector. She explained how the new legislation will impact on growers and the end users of turf.

TGA will also send out their annual survey shortly, the results of which will form the basis of the discussions and speakers for the next TGA Members meeting in March.