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Pitch renovation up and running

Work on the new Ashton Gate playing surface is already well under way for the 2017/18 campaign.

Following the conclusion of the football and rugby seasons, the stadium was hired out for supporters to play on the pitch before hosting Bristol Sport Foundation’s Celebration of Sport Week, in which over 1,000 children from the local community lived their dreams on the hallowed turf.

But before long it was out with the old and in with the new, as the two-month project of renovating the pitch began immediately.

In its current state the grass has lost virtually all of its lush green shade, with just the Desso remaining – the artificial fibres that make up around three per cent of a fully-functioning Ashton Gate pitch.

“The work began last Thursday – since then the vegetation grass has been removed and we have deep aerated the soil to get air pockets down into the root zone,” head of grounds Dan Sparks told bcfc.co.uk.

“Yesterday we dressed in 100 tonnes of sports-free draining sand on to the pitch and four tonnes of limestone. This was then brushed into the aeration pockets, enabling us to start to seed the pitch before it is watered. When the shoots of the new seedlings begin to come through, we will apply fertiliser.

“It’s a daily operation and we will always have somebody on site to monitor the grounds, particularly the irrigation.

“The goalmouths need the most attention because they’re the most vulnerable areas of the pitch, while the South West corner gets the least sunlight so that also needs to be closely monitored.

“This is the first summer for a number of years in which there has not been stadium rebuilding work going on simultaneously, so we hope the pitch renovation will be a much more straightforward process.”

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