Hybrid Sports Pitch Q+A is a blog we wrote in partnership with Idverde on there mixto reinforced natural hybrid pitches, which combines the benefits of the natural and artificial together. We ask Dean Tingley(project manager) ten questions on the product, with a number of questions coming from our own community.
Please tell me about you and your role with Mixto?
I am a second generation grounds person as I fell into the industry I now love as my father was Head groundsman at the old Wembley stadium. I am now 15 years into my own career and hold the position of project manager for the sports surfaces department at Idverde who are currently Europe’s leading provider of green space and outdoor services.
Since the introduction of the Mixto product to the UK market (where we have sole installation rights), I have led teams installing full pitch constructions for Premier league clubs, full pitches & Goalkeeping areas in training grounds Stadium installs at football league clubs, goalmouth installs for non-league clubs, buggy paths & tees on golf courses as well as high traffic lawn areas in busy town centres!
What are the main sport areas that Mixto can be used?
As I touched on in the above question Mixto has various different uses. Mainly in what I would call “big ball sports” for example football and rugby. We have installs at training grounds for football league clubs where the pitch is in use every day. Allowing the clubs to have smaller training grounds and spaces.
We have recently begun installing in golf courses utilising the product in buggy paths as opposed to tarmac or gravel paths to give golf courses that natural links look of years gone by.
What are the top 3 advantages of using a product like Mixto?
- More playing hours – increased usage does not compromise the playability of a Mixto surface.
- You wouldn’t know it’s there! – as a groundsman if anyone was to walk on your Mixto pitch you’d receive great compliments as to how good the surface is, the beauty of the Mixto system is the added strength given to you by the root wrapping round the backing of the carpet means the natural grass is incredibly resistant. In areas such as goalmouths if you were to lose any grass cover the artificial fibres would reveal themselves leaving you with what appears to be 100% grass cover!
- Less time repairing pitches! – You can put your pitchfork away for most of the year as a brush and a hoover after usage and the pitch is as good as new!
What type of options does mixto come in and how quickly can these options be played on?
- Install from seed –We would suggest no less than 6 weeks.
- Lay & Play Turf – can be played on almost immediately
- From Renovation – 4-6 weeks. We once hosted a football league fixture 17 days after a concert. Although we had renovated the pitch prior to putting the flooring down for the stage and spectators.
What are the difference between Mixto and other hybrid systems on the market?
Mixto is a carpet based Hybrid as opposed to a stitched system. The Fibres within the carpet are 55mm long. We sand fill the carpet with 35 – 40mm of sand and then seed into it. The added support system is the backing of the carpet, we have found that once rooting goes through the backing of the carpet the resistance of the turf is incredibly strong.
Having had Mixto pitches independently tested it scores higher than other Hybrids on the market on the traction meter giving unrivalled playability. We have examples of installing on top of existing root zones as well as installs on a newly prepared root zone. Meaning you don’t ‘have’ to dig out an existing pitch and replace with 10-12 inches of sand.
Mixto is also completely recyclable, a club in France actually sold their Mixto pitch to another club! They harvested and transported in refrigerated trucks from one stadium to another and is still being played on to this day. It can be recycled anywhere as opposed to being disposed of. It could be donated from a club to grassroots facilities. A full size pitch could produce 70No 6 yard boxes.
Wouldn’t it be great to see a club harvest their Mixto pitch and donate it to the community by turfing parks goalmouths allowing youngsters to grace the turf of where their heroes once played!
Who are these products aimed at and are they cost effective for grassroots sports clubs?
Premier league/championship clubs training grounds – clubs opt for this to match up the consistency of the stadium pitch which in most cases at this level is a stitched pitch. Costs allow them to get a larger hybrid area for their money.
League 1/2 & National leagues – In stadiums and training grounds for a higher quality pitch than a natural. As you can imagine with this level of club they don’t have the luxuries of the top clubs training facilities with multiple pitches. Quite often this level of club has condensed training grounds where usage is high in smaller areas.
Grassroots clubs within the football tiered system – Clubs that can go hybrid on their stadium pitch to avoid training off site and hiring other facilities. In this environment you can train on the one site and also facilitate all the clubs needs with outside hire, ladies’ teams, youth football. You can even have the kids play across the pitch on Sunday mornings!
With this module yes they can be cost effective. When you consider the income that could be generated through prolonged pitch hire, general use of the facility (food & drink) with people constantly coming and going alongside the fact that bringing training in-house saves money in hiring other facilities. I’m sure there is a clever business model where this investment could become self-funding.
What sort of cost is Mixto per square metre?
Full pitch installs can be under £30 per sq metre. Obviously, the prices go up from there as we can’t be traveling the length of the country to install a penalty spot for that!!
Can a sports surface that is being used for rugby that is Mixto then be cut down to be used as a cricket outfield?
Yes of course. If this was the case perhaps we would have to put an extra few mm of sand in the infill to begin with to allow you to get the outfield down to a desired length such as for cricket.
How does having Mixto within the profile alter maintenance and renovation techniques?
From a maintenance perspective it’s pretty much business as usual. Solid tine aeration is perfectly fine. We often use verti drain, procore and air2g2. We do suggest regular surface grooming to minimalize a build-up of thatch which will keep your fibres in contact with the surface. Only things to definitely steer clear of are linear aeration and hollow tine aeration.
Renovation wise it’s all about getting the carpet clean of organic build up at the end of a season. A football pitch (no matter what the construction) will produce at least 10 tonne of organic material per season so whatever doesn’t come out throughout the season must come out in renovation. A light dressing of sand alongside well timed aeration and fertiliser and it will be fit to play on within a month – 6 weeks.
Is this a product that can be used at grassroots facilities such as public parks just within goalmouths to keep these areas playable?
Yes. In goalmouths I see Mixto as a no brainer at this level of football. The backing of the carpet means you will never lose consistency in the surface and goalmouths wont ‘dip out’ like the do up and down the country in parks and grassroots facilities. Beware though on public sites without ways and means of grow in from seed these areas may need to be turfed. At the end of a season a localised scratch out with a hand rake, light dressing and a bit of seed and they will be good to go again and again
Hybrid Sports Pitch written in partnership with Dean and inspired by our community.
If you enjoyed the read, also take a look at this blog on hybrid cricket surfaces- https://turfcareblog.com/help-from-a-hybrid/
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