Fairy Rings our struggle a blog straight from our community on his own experiences in trying to manage fairy rings on turf.
Firstly, an introduction my name is Dave Harrison I am a volunteer groundsman at Enderby CC in Leicestershire, mostly self- taught. I also worked at Loughborough University for 3 years on the cricket side producing first class wickets and nets for the MCCU and the ECB until I took early retirement in 2018.
The main issue I have found with fairy rings in my square at Enderby is aesthetics. I have two types the first is what we have seen at grounds such as Lords and the Oval the other is far more unsightly and is type 1.
Typically by this time of year we are 4 games into the season already and the ring has shown die back and I am trying to keep the grass alive.
The die back itself is not a problem in that it doesn’t affect the bounce of the ball but you do get a lot of finger pointing etc and if the batter gets out then as we all know it’s the pitch that is at fault .If you do get die back don’t worry too much take a chair get a beer knowing that you have done your best with the tools you have.
So do we manage or treat?
Fungicides for fairy ring are very expensive and to use properly take a lot of preparation and do not necessarily work and also require a licence to use. The mycelium feeds on thatch producing extra nitrogen hence the darker green but it also produces a substance that stops water penetration hence the die back. If you reduce the thatch and increase water retention progress can be made.
Managing Fairy Rings?
For most club ground persons, it’s a managing process. My type 1 suddenly appeared 10 years ago whilst I was having a break from the ground due to other work commitments and is now 7 metres across now over the last 6 years, I have been doing my own renovations heavily scarifying the mycelium area.
At the end of the season particularly on the outside edges taking out as much thatch as possible that had built up over the years. I use those pitches affected early season so that I can target my watering and usually get one of them back for the end of the season.
The hydrophobic nature of the mycelium is a problem I have got round this I feel by using a fork and putting small indentations 2-3mm when watering into the soil.This along with watering late in the day has significantly helped and I have noticed the ring breakup as you can see in the picture.
I have also seen an improvement over the winter by using products such as Purity and a similar product called Enhanced C from Vitax on the rings, they also have other benefits.
Both these appear to have an effect on the grass strength, slightly more from the enhanced c in my opinion and I will be using that next winter.
The other way is to get a professional sprayer to give advice and it is imperative you get a good relationship going. They will know best practice and when to use fertilisers and sprays to get the best out of them.
I use Jason Garlick JMG Amenity, who told me about the apparent results with enhanced c, who is always glad to offer advice on the latest best practice and new products that can achieve results we are all striving for.
- Try to get as much thatch out of the pitch as possible at the end of the season.
- Do not let it build up in the season, regular brushing and verticutting will help.
- Water water water, try dimpling the surface to avoid run off and aid retention. Wetting agents can also help.
- Watering in the evening or early morning.
- Find a good sprayer\ supplier of fertilizer and ask their advice.
Most of all don’t get disheartened if it doesn’t work straight the way, even the best grounds in the country have them.
Yours in cricket
What has your experiences been on fairy rings, please do share in the reply section below..
Tomorrow evening at 7.30 pm, myself and two industry experts will be answering more questions on this complex subject, here is the link https://turfcareblog.com/turf-chat/
For more blogs from our community check out – https://turfcareblog.com/community-bloggers/