That depends upon your view, however, we believe the key difference is that grounds management is proactive, as opposed to grounds maintenance which is often reactive.
What does this mean in reality? At a basic level, consider annual bedding plants i.e. those which flower for a few months a year. Bedding plants are great as a ‘quick fix’ solution but are also short-lived, labour intensive and often grown in peat.
A reactive approach would be to see a gap near a plant bed and put in bedding plants to quickly fill the gap with colour, something which becomes habitual over time.
A proactive approach would be to fill the gap with a flowering perennial, which will come back every year, reducing labour, material costs and promoting eco-friendly gardening. Even better, you can create layers of interest by having plants with ‘year round’ interest, which also consider school holidays and times of year where the grounds need to look their best.
From the outset, it is not always easy to factor in all of these elements and it generally requires thought and planning. One approach is to create a Landscape Management Plan (LMP), a document which is created by a Landscape Architect in coordination with the client team, along with all interested stakeholders. The LMP brings together all aspects of the landscape i.e. trees, plants, grassed areas (including natural sports surfaces), artificial playing surfaces and hardscape areas. It provides a forward-thinking and holistic strategy for the landscape, as well as a baseline scenario from which the grounds can be developed over time but with a clear masterplan.
A LMP may also help in the following areas:
When looking at pitch quality standards (PQS) of sporting facilities, i.e. how sports pitches are performing, management of the pitches can be improved though a combination of best-practice techniques (such as under dressing and linear aeration), machinery and materials, as well as sound site experience.
The right tool for the job needs to consider cost in relation to the desired outcome. Keeping your equipment up to date can be daunting, but the perfect pitch could make the difference. Technology continues to develop and new advances in pitch management and greater understanding of soil Agronomy need to be considered in tandem, taking in to consideration the site specific conditions and requirements.
Engaging an independent Agronomist who can take (and analyse) soil samples is key to the effective management of natural sports surfaces. The analysis considers such things as:
The results of these tests determine the most suitable grass seed selection, dressing/feeds, conditioning and renovation programmes to be employed. Moreover, this allows for informed decisions to be made in respect of long-term successful pitch management, which ultimately leads to cost savings.
Gavin Jones Limited