The Groundsman

March 2014

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MAINTENANCE CALENDAR 46 the Groundsman March 2014 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions APRIL OPERATIONS Rugby Union • Re-commission the irrigation system, if present. • Spring fertiliser will typically be applied this month, with about 10 x 25 kgs required. • Mow regularly to encourage tillering and sward thickening. • Line marking should not be neglected just because renovation is imminent after the final games. Rugby League • Cut regularly to encourage growth and sward thickening. • Apply a spring / summer fertiliser if conditions are suitable. • The season should well be underway with the pitches firming; ensure the surface is flat and consistent before drying out too much. • Constant dragbrushing of the surface will stand the grass up and leave you with a bright finish. • Overseeding may be required if temperatures dictate. Try to overseed by entering the surface to give the seed a higher chance of germination. The seed used will be dictated by budget, but try not to cut corners as this will be the foundation for your season. • Aerate if possible to aid air circulation and root growth. • Bright lines will give the surface a great presentation. Golf courses • Be flexible in your planning for April because the weather can be extremely variable. • Don't be inclined to reduce the height of cut too quickly to 3/16 inch, in case of a cold or wet spell. • Green renovation will be the main priority this month. • Consider renovating fairway 'winter greens' at the same time, or soon afterwards. • Winter tee renovation should take place as soon as the players are switched onto the summer tees. • Ensure the irrigation system is fully commissioned. • Vertidrain fairways. • Complete topping up the bunkers. Any major competitions will need a period of time for bunkers to settle down, so bear this in mind. Racecourses • Mow the whole course twice per week. • Strim around the base of all track posts. • Re-commission the irrigation system. • Aerate the course as part of routine maintenance. • Apply the main spring fertiliser. • This is the time to complete the main renovation of a National Hunt course, which will then be allowed to rest over the summer months - assuming it does not form part of a course for flat racing. Tennis • Mowing frequency will be increasing, while at the same time the height of cut will be gradually lowered from the winter topping height to that required for the start of the playing season. • Rolling will be routine and carried out regularly during this month to help firm up the court ready for play commencing in May. • Re-commission the irrigation system ready for early dry spells. • Apply a suitable spring fertiliser. Most analyses will contain nitrogen as 8 to 15 per cent, but the exact analysis will depend on individual requirements. One 25 kgs bag per court should be ample for this main spring application, depending on how much of the surrounds are also fertilised. • If there are any thin areas present on the court, these should be oversown using an appropriate grass seed mixture. Football • Additional games will probably be required to catch up on postponed and cup matches. The aim will be to provide a suitable playing surface to accommodate these matches. Don't worry too much about excessive destruction of the surface vegetation as the season is nearly at an end and a full renovation will be taking place shortly. • A smooth surface that is well marked out should be aimed for, so divoting will be a main feature this month to see out the season. Increasing the mowing frequency will also help to give a neat finish. Letting clippings fly and spreading them evenly may make some bare areas look a little more pleasing for the short term. • Vertidraining can be planned for straight after the last game. If this has to be hired then plan accordingly. Bowls • Be quite flexible in your planning for April as the weather can be extremely variable. • Complete the renovation of the greens, making sure two weeks separates the end of renovation and the first bowl being played. This should ensure adequate time for any topdressing to be satisfactorily worked into the sward. This is an important consideration as the grass is usually not too active at present. • Open the season on as high a cut as possible, say 1⁄4 inch. This will give the grass some insurance against cold weather returning. • Several light rollings, with a 5 cwt roller, will help to firm the surface prior to the start of the season. • Ensure the irrigation system is fully commissioned. • Top-up ditch material as required. Cricket square • Continue to increase the frequency of mowing throughout the month. Scarification will be increased to remove all surface debris within the base of the sward. • Rolling should be continued to provide a solid base for the playing season. • Additional rolling will be carried out for pitch preparation; however, the fundamental groundwork for the season is carried out prior to the first ball being delivered. • Ensure the square is properly 'squared up' with the correct number of wickets being spot marked at the ends. Ensure each wicket is correctly squared. Cricket outfield • Measure out stripes for mowing, making sure to measure accurately to create the chequer board presentation. • Mow outfield as growth demands. Slowly reduce the height of cut to approximately 15 mm throughout this month. • Monitor the outfield for weed invasion, and make plans to apply selective herbicide when growth is strong and ground and climatic conditions allow. This would usually be towards May time. Only certified operatives should apply chemicals. • Repair/redress any minor areas of damage especially in and around bowlers run ups.

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