My 5 things on How to be renovations ready in regards to supplies and machinery.I have also included a rough guide to renovations.
I look into loam, how much to order along with which is the best grass seed?
Timing wise in ordering is asap, if you haven’t already done so to ensure the supply of stock and to ensure your request for machinery is booked in.
Along with seed, loam is the bread and butter of renovations and in most circumstances changing loams is not recommended without some thought.
How much loam to order?
This is a tricky one, if you normally use 4-8 bags a wicket on used wickets, sadly your probably still need that volume to ensure levels are restored if the wicket has received the same use.
If wickets remain unused then, you can save a few bags i.e. those that would have been used to restore the levels of the used ends.
Loose or Bagged?
Buying loam in 1-ton bags will save you some money, but its more labour intensive and if you have any leftover there could be some storage issues.
If you can cover and keep the rain out of the bags, then buying in this form could help the finances.
Small bags though offer the advantage that they can be move it into stores and out of the weather. It is also easier to work out how many bags to use per pitch.
Grass Seed for Renovations
Purity/Date on bag is key
It’s a tough year for most, but do consider at least that cheap seed could be a false economy and ensure it has a purity of 96 % as a minimum.
Low rates and cheap seed (low purity), could be the starting ground for an increase in weeds, moss and weed grasses.
Personally, once l upped my seed rates from 35 grams a square metre to 70 grams a square metre, we have had very few bare areas and as a result less weeds and no moss.
Which seed is best?
Ensure what you are buying is 100% rye (cricket mix) and ensure the seeds is a 2019 batch (last year’s harvest).
Older bag of seed may appear to keep, but the bag can lose up to 20% per year in germination for ever year it sat in the bag.
Shop around, but remember you need that high purity rate, which most seed suppliers keep to.
Pre seed fertiliser
Only need a pre seed fertiliser if the area seeded is bare, and without existing grass. (This is a rule of thumb). If fertiliser is applied to an existing sward, the established plant will outcompete the seedling as it will be quicker to take advantage of the nutrition.
What type of machine do l need?
If your square is anything like mine, by the end of the season its rock hard, bare and needs a machine fit for the job, to impact the surface.
Pedestrian Type Scarifers
Graden 13hp (horse power)
Sisis 600D 16 Hp
Sisis mark 4 is 5 hp-
You can see, sisis now have a 16h engine, as the demand for more aggressive scarification has grown so has the horse power, as you can see in their latest models.
If your machine in the shed is has less horse power than these, you’re going to struggle to really impact the soil and ensure the job is done effectively.
Can scarifiers with a lower horse power do the job, yes to a degree if the soil is moist enough, but by the time you have done a pass or two it’s dried out and the extra pass is skipped.
Thatch is the number one killer of cricket squares. If you can source something with the guts to do the job, you’re more likely to be able to do it to a greater degree.
The type of machine is also based on any level of thatch, you may have so it’s vital to assess that now.
Before considering what type of machine is required, you need to work to 1mm below the deepest depth of thatch and this is something you need to know.
Even without any thatch personally l like to do my last pass 5-7 mm in depth, this also create a line for the seed.
If you find yourself only removing soil, your either below the surface of the thatch or and you have little or no thatch present, important to gauge which one it is.
The above machines will say they can work to 25mm in depth, but on a cricket square that’s quite the challenge. If you have issues much lower than 10mm, you MAY need to plane off (koro) the top off the square instead, but ensure you get expert advise before considering this.
Is it worth buying a scarifer?
Most of us don’t need to buy one, as renovations are only once a year so for the rest of the year the machine is sitting around gathering dust, so hire or sharing of machines are better long term.
If the scarifier whoever has a interchangeable cassette system, then you could use the verticutting reel or brush in season, which would make a purchase more viable.
What options are there in regards to the hire of a scarifier?
First port of call should be your local groundsman associations, a lot of them offer low rates of hire but be aware most operate on a booking system, so book in your place early.
Link to know Groundsman Associations Groups – https://turfcareblog.com/external-funding-and-support-links/
Equipment and Resources for Renovations
Top dressing machine (owned)
In house seeding machine (owned)
Frame 3 m in length
Wheel barrow and loots/feather edges
Mower with brush cassette unit.
Mower to cut down to 3/5 mm
Blowers/rotary to debris collection
High power hoses etc.
Spiker to spike to around a half/inch (in house)
Usually done over 3- 4 days (2-4 persons)
Hired scarifier (hired/shared)
Self-propelled top dresser or wheel barrow and shovels.
Small loot for levelling/working in top dressing.
Sarrel roller for seed holes.
Drag matt/brush or and my favourite an old ladder to pull loam off the highs and into the low areas, if level issues.
Mower to cut down as low as possible without scalping 4-6mm
Rotary of cassette mower to collect up debris after scarifying.
Fencing materials, chicken wire and road pins.
Hoses and watering lance/rose.
Rough Guide to Renovations
Day or so before-Cut down the square as low as you can without scalping and get some moisture into the profile(moist not wet top), this will take some pressure off the scarifier and make for easier working conditions.
Day one- scarify min of two directions and clean up behind, half rate seed and brush into grooves. Water, but avoid ponding (2/3 persons).
Day two – Water if required and use the sarel roller and or spike (avoid surface lifting) to create more holes and then seed and brush in, followed but topdressing working in/levelling. (2- 4 persons or more on larger squares)
Pre seed fertiliser application(if using) and fence off and water.
In my experience the longer you take and more through you are the better the results, but l ‘am also aware most renovations are done over two days, at club level.
Very easy to write and l know some groundsman have terrible water pressure and little or no help, and a low budget. This blog is just to get us all thinking and preparing for renovations and l hope its been of some help in that.
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
How to be renovations ready by Brian and big thanks to the community for the above images.
If you have tip, advice that could help there is a reply box below, we are all learning even me.
In or around the second week of September, l am releasing an end of season renovations blog, which will go into more details regarding renovations and what we are looking to achieve.
This Evening, myself and our community will be getting together to discuss any further questions that may arise from this blog, feel free to pop by.
Turfchat link- https://turfcareblog.com/turf-chat/
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