The Groundsman

March 2014

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MAINTENANCE CALENDAR 47 the Groundsman March 2014 Visit for more information and digital editions This winter as we all know has been very wet and windy. We have been very lucky here at the university as we haven't suffered with any flooded pitches. However, they have been very wet. The team and I are having to work on the pitches when the weather allows us to. The maintenance is very basic, we are trying to keep the soil profile open by aerating as often as we can. However, out of our three grass pitches we have only been able to aerate one of them once since Christmas. Also, we have used our deep spiker on our other pitches only once since Christmas. As for marking the pitches, we carry that out when the weather and ground conditions allow. Due to the fact that we can only work on our grass pitches whenever the weather allows us to, we prioritise these pitches because it might be the only chance we have for some time. We also look to keep our water-based, synthetic pitches drag brushed to keep the pile upright, as on our sand-based pitches we also like to keep the sand moving around within the pile. We try to clean the carpets by sweeping them when we can as there is a lot of debris blowing around in this wind, so that the debris does not build up on or in the carpet. We are always looking to get our running track swept but due to the weather, we have not been able to do this. With spring not too far away we have had our machinery serviced, which is important so that when the weather improves we are ready to get going. We are planning to distribute some fertiliser on our pitches just to give them some help when we think the weather improves. We are trying to plan the fertilisation so that the fertiliser does not leach away too quickly: with the rain we've been having recently we're concerned that we would be wasting our budget. At the moment we are also planning what we will require for the summer months - this will depend on the soil analysis which is carried out for us. Swansea University grounds manager and 2012 IOG award winner for Best Maintained Artificial Pitch, John Courtney talks winter pitch maintenance Pitch maintenance in wet and windy conditions For the time being my top tips would be: • To keep to the basics by keeping the soil profile open by aeration as often as you can - weather permitting • As the weather improves start to think about mowing as it has been so mild with all this rain and the grass seems to be growing quicker than we would normally expect at this time of year • Plan ahead for the good weather which hopefully will arrive sooner, rather than later. l TOP TIPS John Courtney

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