The Groundsman

April 2012

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the Groundsman April 2012 MAINTENANCE CALENDAR 53 • The importance of adequate incorporation of the topdressing in these circumstances cannot be overstated. • 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. As a guide, 6 x 25 kgs bags of either material will be required to provide an application rate of 25 g/m2 on a 6,000 m2 pitch. Bowls • The season will be a few weeks old by now, although there are still cold spells, especially at night, throughout most of the country. • 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 6 mm or higher for as long as possible. This will also help maintain the greens 'wearability' at this time of year, when the turf surface can also be a little on the soft side: This is a definite bonus given the way some bowlers deliver their woods making unnecessary divots. • 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 to maintain an even and safe playing surface. • 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. • A light fertiliser (low in nitrogen) application for the outfield can also be given, if needed, especially after any aeration and scarification work. • 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 - 15 mm.

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