A series of one day practical courses was held recently for members of the Turfgrass Growers Association (TGA) looking to maintain the continuing rise in the standard of cultivated turf. The courses were arranged and presented by independent turf consultant and agronomist, Robert Laycock and took place at centres in Lincolnshire and Kent.
The principal theme of the courses was how to assess turf to TGA quality standards. These standards, produced in 1996, lay down a number of criteria that need to be met by good quality cultivated turf used in general landscape situations. Under this voluntary self-certification scheme participating turf growers have to complete and provide a written declaration that the specific turf being supplied to the customer meets all the requirements set out in the standards.
“By the end of the course participants should be in a position to complete the TGA declaration with confidence and be able to use the equipment necessary to make a number of simple turf measurements,” explains Robert Laycock. “The course also involves brushing up on the identification of individual grasses and provides an insight into the methods of assessing turf, both in the roll and in the field.”
According to Mr Laycock complaints about turf quality have been one of the most common problems dealt with by Trading Standards officers. However the rapid demise of pasture or meadow grass and the steady growth in the area of cultivated turf being harvested in the UK, principally by TGA members, means that quality standards are on a continuing upward path.
“The higher the quality of turf produced, the fewer complaints from customers,” he concluded. “One of the principal aims of the Turfgrass Growers Association is to raise turf standards. These courses play an important part in helping TGA members achieve that goal.”