The Groundsman

October 2012

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46 MAINTENANCE CALENDAR Cordon off the area to protect from unwanted visitors which can cause damage. Constant drag brushing and switching of the surface will also help to alleviate any dew that appears. De-commission any irrigation system to prevent damage from frost. All machinery should be looked at for repairs or servicing. All post pads, flags and any items that are required for play should be cleaned and stored away. On the amateur side, constant pitch repair is essential, as any divots not replaced will lead to pitch deterioration. Cutting should be kept to a minimum as grass cover will be required to get through the winter months so drag brushing the stripe in would be useful. Constant communication with the coaches is essential for rotation of drills, as any damage inflicted now to the surface, will not be able to repair to get through the winter. Horse racecourse The course should be prepared in anticipation for the start of the National Hunt season. Courses used just for flat racing will be rested over the autumn and winter period. The whole course should be mown and tidied, with extra effort being put into the presentation for the first meeting, especially if it is televised. De-commission the irrigation system. Certain parts of the course might be prone to leaf coverage from adjacent wooded areas. Regular raking of fallen leaves will avoid the turf from being smothered. Consider using the leaves within a soil compost heap, which will eventually be used for topdressing. Set up and prepare fences and jumps prior to the start of the season. With the growing season essentially coming to a close, or at least a serious slow down, now is a good time to consider attending training courses over autumn/winter or to enrol on courses that lead to recognised qualifications or to maintain continuous professional development. Bowling greens Regular out-of-season work will be undertaken from now on for the autumn/winter period. Drag brush daily, or as ground/climatic conditions allow to maintain a dry surface with upright grasses. The height of cut will typically be 10–12 mm, so just keep the grass topped if required. Aeration, probably with slit/chisel tines from now, should not be neglected. Keep leaves off the green by removing them on a regular basis. Tennis courts Leaves will continue to be a problem so do not ignore them and brush or rake them up on a regular basis. Moss may also be a problem on some courts. If this is severe then consider controlling moss using chemical application. Cricket square Carry out regular observations of the surface to check that grass health is good. Regular drag brushing will help disperse worm casts and keep the grass upright. Top the square at 18–25 mm height of cut if ground/climatic conditions and growth allow. If any material in topdressed tine holes has sunk, carry out additional topdressing, although be careful not to apply too much. Cricket outfield Aerate if ground conditions are suitable. Continue to be vigilant for pest/disease outbreaks. Repair areas as required if outfield is used for winter sports. Football Aerate the pitch when the ground conditions are suitable. Topping may still be required, although try and keep it as high as possible to allow for maximum amount of coverage going into the winter. Sanding of high wear areas may be required: ensure hand forking takes place beforehand. Golf course Consider mowing the greens with hand mowers from now on. This will reduce wear on the green from heavy ride-ons as the Groundsman October 2012 NOVEMBER OPERATIONS well as travelling between greens. In addition, ride-on mowers can be prepared for their end-of-season service. Continue divoting fairways. Aerate greens with slit tines. Remove leaves from greens, tees and parts of the fairway. Consider starting any tee extensions or bunker renovations. Tees that are taken out of service for the winter period should have been completely renovated by now: finish off with any turfing as necessary. Rugby Union Continue with aeration wherever possible. Occasional topping of the grass may still be required, especially in the south of the country. Replace divots on higher quality pitches, while chain harrowing on basic quality pitches will remove divots from the pitch for collection at the pitch edge. Rugby League The traditional playing season should now have come to a close and the surface been renovated. Constant switching and light drag brushing would be advantageous to stand the grass up and dispense with any morning dew. If the surface is stable enough, some type of aeration might be able to commence to aid root growth and drainage, preferably a vertidrain to a maximum depth. On the amateur side, pitch protection is essential now that winter is upon us. Any game that has a chance of destroying the pitch should be looked at as maybe being moved or replayed. It only takes one bad session or game to put you back for the rest of the winter. Constant pitch repair by way of divoting or chain harrowing will help you maintain levels. Drag brush if possible to stand what grass you have back up. A vertidrain or slitting of the surface would be advised also. Horse racecourse Carry out general observations of the course to check against damage as this is typically the start of the National Hunt season. Prepare and repair fences/jumps prior to and after each meeting. Fallen leaves could be a major problem on some parts of a course. A light topping of the grass may still be required.

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