The Groundsman

April 2014

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MAINTENANCE CALENDAR 44 the Groundsman April 2014 Visit for more information and digital editions MAY OPERATIONS Rugby Union • Assuming there has been regular pitch use throughout the season, there will be a certain amount of compaction present within the soil profile; this will need to be alleviated by aeration. • Renovating a rugby pitch turf surface will prepare a surface for the receipt of renovation materials. • The choice and quantity of grass seed will depend on a number of factors, in particular the condition of the pitch, the amount of expected use, the soil type and whether artificial irrigation is available to aid sward establishment. • The amount of topdressing applied during renovation will vary considerably depending upon circumstances, but a typical amount might be 30 tonnes. Rugby League • Cut regularly to encourage growth and sward thickening. • Irrigation should be recommissioned by this point and should be used if required. • Overseeding may be required if temperatures dictate. • A seed and soil mix to fill in untreated hollows in your surface may be required. Drop the height of cut if necessary - 35- 40 mm should be suitable depending on team requirements. • Keep on top of divoting as any untreated divots will have to be filled in. Golf courses • The spring fertiliser should have kicked in by now and the greens should be producing a fairly good grass coverage. • Mowing will typically be carried out five times per week, with the mowing height being around 5mm. • Any areas on the green that haven't been successfully renovated should be targeted for completion. • Be careful not to verticut the greens too frequently as growth is still variable, with there still being the chance of either a cold or dry spell, as well as grass seedling establishment from any renovation work on the greens still being 'delicate'. • Towards the end of the month is usually a good time to carry out any selective herbicide applications, if needed. Racecourses • Mowing may peak at three times per week on occasions. • Don't neglect strimming around track posts as this will adversely affect the presentation of the course. • Irrigate as required to help produce the desired level of firmness of ground, i.e. the 'going', for flat racing courses and also to aid the establishment of renovated areas. • Consider using a ring-roller to firm and stripe the course; alternatively use a chain harrow with the smooth side downwards. • Other post-meeting repair work will include harrowing in the opposite direction as that of the race. • Weed control might be required on selected areas of the course. Tennis • The season commences and compliments should be readily forthcoming from players at this time of year. • Roll the court to continue to firm the surface. • Mowing will be regular, typically three occasions per week, and the height of cut will now be at its lowest. • Apply artificial irrigation, as required. • Dragbrush regularly to remove dew. • Use a spiked roller to maintain an aerated, yet consolidated, surface profile and to aid water infiltration. • Be careful not to verticut or groom too intensively, especially on areas of the court that may have been oversown in April. Football • The season is coming to an end and post- season renovation is the name of the game. • The key to a successful renovation programme is to complete the task in as short a time as possible - don't forget the next season starts from mid-August onwards. • The application of a topdressing, typically sand, must be adequately incorporated into the existing soil profile • It is also beneficial to scarify the surface before applying a topdressing; this can be in the form of a chain harrow with the tines downwards or a mechanical scarifier. • The choice of grass seed will depend on the standard of the pitch as well as existing rootzone material and this will also apply to the type of fertiliser chosen. Bowls • The season will be a few weeks old by now, although there are still cold spells, especially at night. • Be careful not to set the mower too low as the grass is only realistically 'getting going' at present. • Cold snaps or May dry spells (i.e. mini- droughts) can still easily occur, retarding growth. It is sensible, therefore, to keep the height of cut to 6mm or higher for as long as possible. • Areas of the green which had been renovated in April, or even late March, should not be treated to any form of heavy scarification as this will only tear out young, newly establishing grasses. • Watch out for signs of fusarium patch disease that especially wet, dewy mornings bring in prevalence. Ensure the greens are adequately brushed and/or switched early in the mornings. Cricket square • Scarification of the square and during wicket preparation is an important operation for reducing undesirable thatch and this will help to improve bounce and pace, although wickets will probably still be on the slow side at present as the ground won't have been able to dry out adequately yet. • Wicket preparation will be occurring some 7 to 10 days before a game, with this time period going up to 14 days for top- class cricket. • A spring, mainly nitrogen, fertiliser should have been applied to the square. However, beware of leaching due to the wet weather as this may reduce the anticipated time for the next application. Cricket outfield • Early use of the outfield should provide feedback of any slight depressions which may need attention. • Aeration of the outfield can also be considered, before the soil dries out too much. • Scarification, to reduce and control undesirable thatch build-up, is also ideally undertaken now. • The end of May is also usually a good time to apply a selective herbicide. • Mow regularly now usually once per week and aim for a height of cut of 10 - 15mm.

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