Bringing back the green, green grass

SALES of hosepipes, electric fans, ice-cream, beer and sunscreen are, of course, booming as they do every time the British sun comes out. But this year's heatwave has produced an unexpected boom in a less obvious product - lawn dye.

The directors of Supaturf, a small turf-care products company based in Hinckley, Leicestershire, could be forgiven for getting down on their knees and praying for the sun to keep shining. Sales of one of their minor products, a grass colour restorer called Greenit, have soared since England's green and pleasant land began to turn a yellowish shade of brown.

The water companies have helped by issuing drought warnings at regular intervals and threatening to levy an extra charge on garden sprinkler systems. There are some 14 million lawns in this country, and many of them are looking decidedly parched. So a product initially developed for golf greens in faraway countries such as Nigeria has suddenly acquired a whole new domestic market.

"Normally we don't deal directly with consumers," says marketing director Alan Genders. Since Greenit was developed 18 months ago, the marketing has not been particularly aggressive. Until now. A mail-shot has just been despatched to garden centres and aerosol containers are being market- tested for next summer as an alternative to bulkier garden sprayers.

Supaturf is a well-established subsidiary of GA Palmer, a family company that has been producing and supplying fertilisers for 93 years. Today Supaturf has a turnover of pounds 2m and employs 25. Its products are distributed throughout Britain and 14 countries abroad. Golf courses account for around 35 per cent of business.

As the market leader, Supaturf also deals with high-profile venues such as Wimbledon and Wembley. The company manufactures the paint for the white lines and the multi-coloured logos that sometimes appear on the pitch at big internationals.

Only recently has green emerged as a significant shade in the colour range. Greenit emerged from a brainstorming meeting at the company's headquarters. "It's non-toxic and dissolves when the rain comes," says sales director Colin Hood, himself a former green-keeper.

Welcome publicity came from two very different quarters. The film company Warner Brothers wanted to perk up the verges around its new multiplex cinema in Leicester before the premier of Batman Forever. "They contacted Wembley who must have told them about us," says Mr Hood. On the other side of the Midlands, meanwhile, one of Supaturf's area managers was offering the local authority in Stroud, Gloucestershire, the chance to improve its entry for the Britain in Bloom competition. He gave a demonstration on a busy traffic island which attracted the attention of the local media and regional television.

The judges have since made it plain that greening the grass will make no difference either way to Stroud's entry, but that has not stopped other local authorities trying to follow suit.

Delighted as it is with the response, Supaturf's directors are not getting carried away by Greenit's apparent popularity.

"Although there has been a remarkable reaction," says Mr Genders, "it's still not a major part of our business.

"We're very keen on promoting water management products that will naturally benefit grass and promote growth. Greenit is a cosmetic."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Data Analyst/Planning and Performance – Surrey – Up to £35k

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker