Getting Pitch Ready for Euros
European football fans look forward to a summer of sport on championship turf but it needs to stand to the test
9 June 2016
When Europe’s top teams take part in this summer’s football tournament in France, the hopes and dreams of an entire continent rest on the performance of the turf. Win or lose, DLF’s – parent company of the UK’s favourite lawn seed brand, Johnsons Lawn Seed – top-ranking sports grasses won’t let the fans down apparently.
On June 10, the eyes of Europe will be on the Stade de France, when France and Romania play the first match in the top football tournament of the year. As the TV cameras roll, the fans roar, and the goals come, one hard-working player will be impossible to miss: The lush green championship turf.
A world-class championship needs several hectares of hard-wearing turf. Ten stadiums in ten cities will host 51 games, with another 60 training grounds for use by 24 national teams. And at the end, when the winning team lifts the trophy, the turf of the Stade de France must still look superb.
“We are excited to contribute with our turf grasses to the majority of the French football stadiums, and we are confident, that our grass will last all the way to the final”, says Benoit Petitjean, General Manager in DLF France.
An international football tournament demands a lot from its turf and from its groundsmen. Luckily, it’s not too difficult to choose the best sports turf in France. The French turf-grass register lists all the approved varieties, and ranks each one for a variety of features that groundsmen look for. The register also aggregates the feature rankings to provide an overall ranking for sports use. And the top-five ranked sports varieties were all developed by DLF researchers.
That’s why the groundsmen at most of the tournament’s ten stadiums chose DLF seed for their big summer of football. To prepare for the event, they overseeded their pitches with top-performing mixtures of perennial ryegrass from the DLF brands Top Green Eurosport and Johnsons Sports Seed. Top Green Eurosport combines the fineness of leaf, the shoot density, and the wear-tolerance of its top varieties of diploid turf perennials with the persistence, stress-tolerance, and disease-resistance of 4turf®.
The same top grade ryegrass featured in these mixes also appears in the Johnsons Lawn Seed’s very own Turfline 2016, which is available to UK retailers, helping them to make the most of the football frenzy being whipped up ahead of the UEFA Euro Football Finals.
DLF’s global plant-breeding network is the driving force behind recent scientific advances within turf grass. And its 4turf® technology is at the heart of those performance improvements. 4turf® is a tetraploid perennial ryegrass characterised by high tolerance to stress, a deeper root system, and a deep green colour. 4turf® gives groundsmen the characteristics they look for in a world-class sports pitch.
Among the varieties listed on the French turf-grass register, two 4turf® varieties stand out: FABIAN and TETRASTAR. These are the varieties that help French groundsmen prepare their stadiums for Europe’s finest players and their biggest TV audiences of the year. The fact that most chose DLF seed is a massive vote of approval for its 4turf® range of sports grasses.