Manage Turf on a Limited Budget
Disclaimer myself as well as other colleagues are all guilty of not always doing what we preach, so please take this blog as its meant. The blog and other blogs are put together to raise awareness and get us all thinking and sharing a few ideas in an open platform.
Do l ever stress the plant and waste resources, yes so this is also for me.
This blog is written with all sporting surfaces considered.
Often our work tasks can come from a place of, we have always done it like that, in doing that we could possibly be doing it for the sake of it, rather than from an actual need?
Are we rolling when the soil as hard as a brick, just because it’s a lovely day to sit on the roller?
Are we just doing that cut, but taking very little off the plant and if so, is this an opportunity to save some fuel costs?
We all can be a little guilty of that, but if funds are tight worth looking at.
Any leaks in hoses are fixed and when are we watering, with what?
Are there better times of the day to water, when the water will penetrate into the soil, saving later watering costs.
Consider wetting agents if costs permitted, there is an initial cost but could be balanced with hopefully less watering cost.
Can you use domes, germinations sheets, debris netting to help keep the sun off and keep some moisture in, again small but some watering cost savings?
For fertilisers and seed and supplies, maybe worth going direct when money is limited and cutting out the middle man(rep). Sometimes companies have old stock out the back they may be able to sell you at a bit of a better deal.
If you do seek alternate advice re fertilisers ensure the person you are speaking to is FACTS Qualified Advisers.
Try less branded name fertilisers, ask other groundsman/greenkeepers what are they using what are they paying and build up that awareness of cost.
I have managed to change seed in the last year or so, at least a 25% saving has been found, does the seed give me poorer results-no. I have also come away from branded fertilisers and again at the moment all gain.
Loam is a tricky one, try shopping around for best prices, rather than changing loam which can create issues.
Rootzone for outfield and greens, again be brave and shop around even consider buying lose in ton bags, over a bagged-up product.
Once restrictions have been lifted share machinery, especially during renovations not many clubs need to own a scarifier, that is only used a few times a year or less.
Also see if your local fa or county cricket board have machinery deals in terms of hire, some do!
5-Avoid Stress To Machinery
Avoid stress to machinery, to avoid likely break downs and or wear on machinery.
Keep on top of the grass avoid hacking down, as this puts a lot of pressure on the machine.
A well set up machine on cut, well maintained i.e. a clean and well-greased machine is much less likely to need a mechanic and will likey use less fuel.
6-Avoid Stressing the Plants
Grass is much easier to maintain little and often, hitting it hard once a week or so will put it under a lot of stress and will more than likely need more water and fertiliser to get it happy again.
Consider using a lighter machine, much less stress on the plant.
7-Skills within club
Look for skills within the club if safe to do so, a lot of good members with possible contacts and abilities to fix things on a budget.
Where possible in terms of weed removal and other jobs.
Every little bit does help when trying to Manage Turf on a Limited Budget and maybe a opportunity to get fitter as a result.
9- Fertiliser inputs
Take a look at your fertiliser inputs, although we want a healthy plant, could we get away with a half rate feed or lower nitrogen-based feeds (10% Nitrogen no higher).
Feeding means growth, growth means mowing, mowing means a hungrier plant and a greater need to water and re feed = greater cost.
The ideal just so you know, is to prevent flushes of growth our aim should be instead to have a more regular growth pattern.
10- Rotary instead of Cylinder
Short term or maybe long-term the use of a rotary rather cylinder mower.
Rotary mowers have no difficulty in the setting up of the cut and don’t have the servicing costs and as long as the blades are kept sharp there’s no issues, especially on winter sports pitches.
You will get a good finish most clubs would be happy with, if you need the presentation then consider one with a roller, as that is where the strips come from.
Could be just a short-term option.
Speak to your local fa or county cricket board, you may be surprised what grants are available and although l knows not always easy to gain, but l have noticed a lot of clubs that don’t seem to bother.
Also check out Sports England website – https://www.sportengland.org/how-we-can-help/our-funds
Manage Turf on a Limited Budget Conclusion
Bonus one, maybe just for me stop being a perfectionist its cheaper. But as you know being a Groundsman/Greenkeeper that pride in getting everything just so, is a tough habit to kick and what makes us special.
I really hope you found how to Manage Turf on a Limited Budget helpful.These are just a few ideas of my own, do you have any ideas you can add in the reply box below to help others?
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