The Groundsman

August 2012

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the Groundsman August 2012 AUGUST Bowling greens Both casual and competition play will be at their height this month, with the green taking a fair amount of wear and tear especially on rink ends. Irrigation will be a key component in ensuring good playing surfaces are maintained, but be careful not to apply too much otherwise the surfaces will still be wet for the morning start of play. Continue to mow at 5 mm and include a double cut for those important matches and, remember, when conditions allow aerate and irrigate first. Good green speeds can be achieved by consistent mowing at 5 mm; if you do opt for a lower height of cut then care needs to be taken because this can cause stress to the grass particularly in hot and dry conditions - a 1 mm reduction in the height of cut is a 20% reduction in leaf height. Rotate rinks and sides regularly to accommodate high levels of use, ensuring wear is spread as evenly as possible over the green. An application of fertiliser will invariably take place this month. Typically this will be an 8:0:0 (inorganic nitrogen) product applied at 34g/m2 . P and K will depend on soil analysis and sward assessment results. Plan so that work does not interfere with play. Consider an evening application with a good watering in; then it has all night to wash into the surface - and don't forget to aerate beforehand. Cricket square Ensure you have all your materials in stock, or ordered, for the end of the season renovation in early September, or whenever the last match is played. Wickets will be coming out of use during August, so aeration and scarification can be carried out on these to give you a head start on the major renovation work later on. In most cases, irrigation will be required to allow aeration and scarification to be effective. The ends can be lightly forked over to a depth of 50 mm or so to produce a fine seed bed and a suitable grass seed applied. Typically this will be dominated by perennial ryegrass. The body of the renovated wicket can be scarified, aerated and spiked with a sarel spiked roller then oversown with a suitable grass seed mixture. The mixture content will depend on the level and standard of cricket being played. At this time of year, perennial ryegrass should easily germinate within seven days, assuming adequate irrigation. Apply a suitable fertiliser to those wickets which have been taken out of use, to aid seed germination and sward establishment. Cricket outfield Throughout this month continue to mow as required, removing the clippings. If the outfield surface is dry or there is a prolonged dry spell, lift the height of cut slightly to reduce sward stress. The standard height of cut will be 12-18 mm. Ensure the outfield is checked regulary for worn areas and, if required, carry out localised repairs to these. Broadleaved weeds should not be a problem if they were controlled using a proprietary selective herbicide in May-June. Football Matches have already started in Scotland; the English leagues will start in the middle of the month. Pitches should be in tip-top condition. If not, then urgent work is required. Keep moisture levels up to encourage good growth. Feed the pitch with a liquid nitrogen fertiliser to help improve sward density. If broad-leaved weeds are a problem, consider another selective herbicide but be careful that the correct ground and climatic conditions are present. Thin areas may also benefit from a light seeding and topdressing, though care will need to be taken if a herbicide application is being considered. If bare areas exist, the only real solution at such short notice before the starting game will be to deep turf. This is expensive but it is a last resort, and should be carried out by an experienced grounds maintenance contractor or suitable experienced member of the groundstaff. Keep up aeration to encourage moisture penetration into the soil profile; this will also reduce the chance of surface rooting. could be considered. For local authority pitches, a 20:10:10 or similar fertiliser is just as effective and will be cheaper, too. August is also a good time to apply a fertiliser. An 11:6:9 or a similar type at 34- 50 g/m2 MAINTENANCE CALENDAR 43 Make sure the pitch is properly squared up and marked out for the first game. Also spend a little extra time ensuring the pitch is cut that little bit extra carefully. This will make a good initial impression on both players and spectators. Rugby League The playing season has been going on for seven months now so the pitch may be getting tired. Communication with the coaches is vital as bare areas can quickly appear if the rotation of drills is not advised. Mowing – at 30 mm every day, plus a once weekly cut at 25 mm to cut off the annual meadow grass seed heads. Aeration – vertidrain bi-weekly going down to a maximum depth of 12 inches with 4 inch spacings to aid drainage and root development. Fertilising – generally using 12+0+9 or a 14+2+4, 12 x 25 kgs. Brush every morning using a tractor- mounted dragbrush; this will help stand the grass up and eliminate morning dew. Repairs – walk over and divot every day. Spraying – an application of wetting agent will be required. Try to time this just after a vertidrain then water in afterwards. An application of fertiliser could also be applied. Mark out once a week. Irrigate as often as possible as time constraints and training times allow – higher temperatures mean more water. s

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