The Groundsman

December 2012

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44 MAINTENANCE CALENDAR the Groundsman December 2012 DECEMBER OPERATIONS Cricket square • Make sure to check for disease activity and, if identified, spray with a propriety fungicide. Continue to brush as regular as possible to allow sward to remain upright and to remove excess moisture/dew and, if any earthworm activity is noticed, try not to smear the casts. If possible, aerate using solid tines to a depth of 125 mm. If climatic and ground conditions allow, mow sward by 'topping off'. Cricket outfield Continue to check for damage especially if used for winter sports. If climatic and ground conditions allow, mow sward by 'topping off'. If possible, aerate outfield to 125 mm. Bowling greens Earthworms may be problem, so regular drag brushing - ideally daily when conditions are such that large amounts of earthworm casts are produced - and aeration to keep the surface open to improve surface drainage and drying, may help towards reducing the effects of the earthworm activity. • Regular applications of sulphate of iron, say every 3-4 weeks, can help to minimise the effects of surface casting earthworms. • If all else fails, then the application of synthetic pesticides may be needed. • Watch out for Fusarium patch disease during mild damp spells. Sulphate of iron applications can help to harden the grass against this disease, or alternatively, have a suitable stock of contact fungicide available to spray, usually at the first signs of this disease. • Keep the grass topped at about 1012 mm high: this will also help to reduce the chance of disease attack which may be more prevalent with longer grass as it will retain a more humid and damp 'atmosphere' among its leaves. • Finish off bank repairs if possible. • Prepare your maintenance schedule for next year, along with a budget requirement. Maintain green height in accordance with course standards - typically this will be no higher than 8 mm. • Tees should still be topped, although the actual height will depend on whether they are rested for the winter period or maintained in play. • If artificial mats or carpets are used, ensure they are safe and secure, while sand-filled ones are properly topped up to prevent them wearing excessively. • Fairways - if topping hasn't already ceased, then this will most likely be the last occasion for a few months. • Removal of leaves will be a big priority to prevent the turf being smothered. • Start, or continue, planning for next year's requirements. • A budget report/proposal may be needed to be submitted to the finance committee before, say, Christmas. • • Golf courses Frost holes may be required on some greens in the early morning to provide a small amount of protection against inappropriate wear. • Slit tine aerate on a regular basis. • Football Divoting has to be a key task at this time of year as growth is very slow, if non-existent in some parts of the UK, so repairs need to be made to maintain a reasonable surface for as long as possible. • Brush and/or harrow if conditions are suitable. • Overmarking should not be neglected. Consider the weather conditions and how many games have been played in determining a suitable overmarking programme. The bottom line will be what actually occurs on the ground, so do not stick too rigidly to the guidelines. Overmark if need be - it won't break the bank for several additional overmarkings and will enhance the presentation of the pitch out of all proportion to the small input. • Slit tine aerate the pitch if smearing of the soil is not going to take place - be prepared to stop if conditions are found to be unsuitable, as more harm than good will be done by continuing. • Sand worn areas as required. • Rugby Union Soil conditions may become unsuitable for routine aeration, so selective handforking might be the order of the day. • Sanding of wet or bare areas may also be needed. • A final topping of the grass may be required, but a little extra length of grass at this time of year will help counter some of the wear taking place. • Machinery should be prepared, if not already undertaken, for its winter servicing schedule. • Rugby League The end of season should be here and all renovations completed. • A light topping off of the pitch might still be required if conditions allow. • Constant switching or dragbrushing of the surface will be required. • An Autumn/Winter feed should be applied, something like a 4-12-12 before the cold temperatures arrive. • Make sure the pitch is protected to the best of your ability to alleviate any damage from unwanted visitors. • All machinery should be looked at for end-of-season repair or servicing. • If possible, aeration maybe beneficial to the surface by way of handforking, vertidraining or slitting. • With the growing season coming to a close, some training/education courses maybe looked at to aid personal and professional development. • On the amateur side, constant pitch repair is essential. Any divots not replaced will lead to pitch deterioration. Chain harrowing could be used to aid the repair or presentation of the surface. Bare areas may be becoming apparent, so a light topdressing with sand will aid with playability and wear tolerance. Constant communication with coaches is essential for rotation of drills as any damage inflicted now will not be able to be repaired to get through winter. • Horse racecourses Avoid the use of relatively heavy machinery over the winter months when ground conditions are generally unsuitable. • Aeration can be carried out during dry periods, assuming the soil moisture content is not high. • Continue to divot and repair after each meeting. • Tennis Continue to aerate, although ground conditions may now be unsuitable for most of the time. • Dragbrush as required. • Occasional topping of the grass might be required in the south. • Machinery should be given an annual service over the next few months. •

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