Following the removal of the existing turf and the introduction of a 50mm binding layer, County Turf’s HERO Hybrid Grass was laid down ready for seeding this week.
HERO Hybrid Grass is unique as it offers the greatest distribution of artificial grass fibres per square metre of natural grass, creating a more consistent and durable playing surface.
Five per cent of the playing surface is artificial grass compared to 95 per cent natural grass once fully grown and cut, with the new polyethylene fibres anchored via knitting to a mesh-like grid that allows the real grass to grow through alongside it.
Bristol Sport Group Grounds Manager Dan Sparks said: “The product is infilled 40mm to 60mm artificial fibre length with a rootzone sand mix, leaving 20mm above the surface and we cut the natural grass at 25mm, so we always operate above the artificial fibres.
“It’s a different artificial product to what we used before. This is made from polyethylenefibres whereas our old pitch was polypropylene fibres. This is the next generation of material and a lot more durable.
“Time will tell but it should last the duration.”
Work on the Ashton Gate pitch renovation started almost immediately after the sold-out Arctic Monkeys concert on May 29, with contractors starting to remove the old turf product at one end of the pitch while the stage was still being deconstructed.
The nine-week programme will give the stadium a top-class playing surface – one that has already been trialled successfully at the Bears High Performance Centre – for Bristol Bears, Bristol City men and City women ahead of the new season.
Sparks added: “The pitch contractors had three weeks to dig out and bring in the new pitch product, and we’re on programme, so seed will be in the ground by the end of the week.
“We will then finish off tidying around the outside, off the pitch areas, the artificial turf surrounds, and we’re also using the opportunity to do some irrigation works as well. Once the seeding is done, we then have six weeks of growing and then first use.”