End of Season Renovations-Survey Summary is a brief summary of five questions l asked the community and l summarise the findings.There is also a section on questions l was asked doing the survey, such as what is the minimum renovations we need to do?
1-End of Season renovations of not?
98% of clubs said they would be renovating which is what every pitch advisor and the GMA will be delighted to hear, to protect the integrity of past end of season works.
2-Have you ordered your seed and loam yet?
80% of clubs have been proactive and reserved/purchased their loam/seed, which is very encouraging.
3-Are you planning a reduced renovation, due to reduction in cricket?
95% of clubs said no, the only areas they are looking to save funds on is the volume of loam.
If wickets remain unused then its more than possible to save a few bags a pitch, as there will be no ends to restore.
Maybe try and get a few more in though. If you do plan to reduce the amount you use, the worst will happen is you can use them next season and a better option than not having enough to complete the job.
4-Do you have thatch and are you going to work the scarifier below it?
Most clubs appeared to be aware of the depth of thatch and said they would be working 1mm below it.
A couple of clubs said they had been scarifying all season and did not see the need for more during renovations.
I have heard verticutting and scarifying getting confused a few times this season.
Verticutting removes surface weed grass, debris and old grass leaves which are all come under the term as surface litter.
Scarification is a renovation technique and the blades are much wider and stronger and the aim is to remove any dead grass/debris that is present on the soil surface and more importantly into the soil surface.
In season- verticut
5-What seed rates are you going to use?
This was a 50/50 split between over 50 grams and square metre and using only 35 grams a square metre.
I am yet to meet a pitch advisor who would recommend a seed rate as low as 35 grams a square metre.
I would personally recommend 70 grams a square metre, the extra seed will pay for itself, with less weeds and moss and invasive grasses(poa) present as a result.
Your Questions ?
I am still having problems convincing my committee end of season renovations are needed due to the lack of cricket?
I think it’s been well documented by myself in the below blog and via the GMA, that’s renovations are pretty essential and the lack of use has actually increased surface litter, which in turn will turn into thatch.
I can only encourage the committee to protect the integrity of previous year investments and support you in renovating.
Spiking during renovations?
For me if l can get in a spike, after scarifying l will and get some seed into the holes, but if the surface lifts l’ll either re water or leave it.
I ve seen squares ruined by people’s desire to get in a spike during renovations, l’d prioritise extra directions of the scarifier any day.
If you do get a spike in, try and aim at 15-25mm max, any deeper and it’s too deep for the seed.If spiked lower any seed near the top will still end in the top 10-15 mm which is the optimum .
Spike prior to topdressing, this will allow the holes to fill with seed and loam.
When and which pre seed fertiliser?
I have noticed a trend of groundsman asking what products do you use, but if l am honest l ve used so many over the years and can’t think of any poor ones.
Pre seed fertiliser should contain a high level of phosphorus, which is perfect for rooting development. Something like an 8-12-8 analysis, but if listed as suitable for a sports surface l am sure you can’t go wrong.
Topdressing levelling options?
You can get different width lutes; the wider ones are much heavier and can be much harder to use, but think theory more accurate.
In theory the wider the more accurate and they do the job quicker.
Can we mix/change grass seed from last year and mix cultivars?
As long as the seed is 100% rye grass (cricket specific) then there’s no issues with doing this and as all cultivars brings slightly different benefits you can’t lose, unless you have selected a mix for very specific reasons.
But do be aware mixing cultivars long term can weaken the disease tolerance of the seed, so talk to your seed rep.
For more details on seed, see this latest blog- https://turfcareblog.com/your-grass-seed-questions-answered/
Can renovations improve consistency of bounce?
A pitch which has a reasonable depth of binding loam, should obviously be consistent in bounce and pace ideally. Renovations is the ideal time to add/restore more of the good stuff (loam).
But if you only have a shallow depth of loam, or having underlaying issues just renovating alone may not be enough.
Pitch preparation is also key in producing a consistent pitch, so it is a hard question to answer in full, without knowing the square and the preparation details.
What do we do with unused wickets, if we don’t have the finances to renovate in full?
As a minimum you need to cut the square thinned out (verticutting/scarify) and get the height of cut as low as you can without scalping.
You are looking to remove any litter/dead grass from the canopy, to ensure there is not a thick canopy of grass left to over winter.
If you have no thatch below the surface then a light scarify to a few millimetres in a few directions, just to remove any dead grass on the soil surface and create some grooves for the seed to sit in.
If possible, seed into these grooves and then consider re watering and then use something like a sarrol roller or similar to create more holes to add more seed into.
Even if only to top up the grooves/holes, this is probably the way to save the most in reducing renovation costs.
I am not sure this is what you want to hear, but l think end of season renovations should be aggressive in nature, even more so due to the grass build up, due to lack of wear on unused wickets.
Any Questions just shout in the reply box below.