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Case Studies

Success for Lindum RTF turf at Chester Zoo

As the country’s most visited zoo, Chester Zoo sees more than a million visitors stampede its grassed walkways and public spaces each year, invariably leaving the turf bare in busy holiday periods.

Looking for a lasting solution to its worn turf, team leader Mark Hargreaves turned to Lindum Turf’s north west distributor All Turf Ltd ( The Cheshire company recommended Lindum RTF Turf – grown by Lindum Turf from Barenbrug’s RTF Rhizomatous Tall Fescue ( – to better withstand the heavy traffic as well as cut re-turfing costs.

Thanks to its remarkable deep rooting capabilities, together with its prolific rhizome (underground stem) production compared to other rhizomatous species, such as red fescues, RTF turf offers outstanding tensile strength and recovery.  While red fescue roots reach just 15 to 20cms into soil, RTF roots delve a staggering 1.5metres underground, also equipping it with tolerance to drought.

Following a successful trial, Mark re-turfed several grassed spaces totalling 1,500 square metres across the 110-acre site. “I’m really impressed with the RTF turf’s performance,” he reveals. “We’ve re-turfed a 900 square metre area outside the Condor Aviary as well as a picnic area that takes a real hammering from children playing on it. The RTF turf looks lush and green, plus we’re starting to see it penetrate even deeper the more established it gets.”

Mark’s also pleased with a small area of grass outside the Jaguar Coffee House, that was also re-turfed with RTF turf. “This area gets a real pounding because of its small size and we’d normally expect it to be in pretty poor shape by now, but that’s looking superb too.”

And a simple test to measure the RTF’s performance has convinced Mark to order another 1,000m2 of Lindum Turf’s RTF turf. “I ‘patched’ a restaurant outdoor seating area, which is compacted because of the seats and tables on it as well as prone to wear and tear,” he continues. “It now looks like a chequerboard as the RTF turf squares standout so much compared to the existing turf.”

Mark is certain the RTF turf will withstand the increased footfall during the busy summer months as visitors flock to see the zoo’s 7,000 animals. “The turf we’ve put down is only going to get better with time and we’re looking forward to using more. I reckon it could withstand a herd of elephants, never mind our visitors!”

Mark’s experience echoes the results of independent trials conducted by the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI), which highlighted the benefits of using RTF in heavy-wear applications.