Innovative Turf Care in Gelsenkirchen

As the venue for the 2024 European Football Championship, the VELTINS-Arena in Gelsenkirchen faced a special challenge. Normally, the turf is stored and maintained outside the stadium and only brought in for matches. To ensure the quality of the turf, the arena has relied for years on the fully automated lighting system from RHENAC GreenTec AG, which supplies the turf outside the stadium with CLS (Complete Light Spectrum) growth light. For the European Championships, however, the turf had to remain in the stadium for 20 days straight – a first for the arena.

In order to keep the turf in UEFA quality during this period, the greenkeeper team developed an innovative maintenance concept in collaboration with the turf experts from RHENAC. Four weeks before the European Championships, the turf was conditioned with LED growth light to make it more resistant. Shortly before entering the arena, it was treated with phytohormones to promote regenerative branching. During EM, temperature, humidity and irrigation were precisely balanced to minimise stress in the turf. Daily intensive measurements of the lawn area as part of a digital monitoring system accompanied the care of the lawn.

In order to reduce germination rates and thus prevent lawn diseases, the lawn was also regularly treated with UVC light using the mobile RHENAC lawn sterilisation system. “With this combination of good preparation, accompanying digitalisation of the turf parameters by RHENAC and preventive UVC turf disinfection, we were able to maintain the turf in a visually and functionally perfect condition. The data collected from the intensive measurements also gives us a lot of additional insights for future turf care under such complex circumstances,” explains Thorsten Petri, Head of Greenkeeping at Schalke 04.

“We are delighted that we were able to make a contribution with the dedicated greenkeeping team at the VELTINS-Arena and, of course, we are also very grateful for the unique opportunity to collect and analyse a lot of data during these four weeks. This gives us information about turf care under the most difficult conditions and helps us to recognise stress developments in sports turf and their influence on turf quality at an early stage and to use this for modern sports turf care,” summarises Horst Theisen, CEO of RHENAC GreenTec AG. (Stadionwelt, 09.07.2024)