Welcome to this special edition of nomadgroundsman.com .
This blog is in response to our fellow groundsmen who out there who currently have cricket squares and outfields under water.
I have no knowledge of flooding myself so l have just done a bit of research in the hope l can bring a few resources into one place.
Top Tips -Worst scenario
Firstly, consider the Health and Safety Aspects. Most floodwater is contaminated to some degree. If floodwater has been contaminated then there are health concerns in handling affected soil and turf. Take advice from the relevant agencies and get the deposits tested for any potential Health and Safety risks. You need to know what you are dealing with to be able protect yourself and your staff properly. You will also need to ensure that anyone who may come into contact with the site is aware of any potential risks (e.g. signage).
- The turf. Firstly don’t despair. As long as the turf isn’t submerged under stagnant water for a prolonged period then it should recover.
- If there has been significant flooding then some assessment of the effect on growing conditions is required, as below .
The following strategy should be adopted:-
(a) Take a representative sample of the deposit and upper soil profile(keep separate if possible). Take soil cores to a minimum depth of 25mm obtaining 0.5kg soil. Ensure appropriate protective clothing is worn and the samples are sealed correctly.
(b) The following soil analyses should be carried out:-
Growth test: Provides a general indication if anything toxic present.
Salinity test: Any soluble salts present will affect plant growth, but can be quickly washed out with fresh water.
If there is likely to have been any industrial contamination:-
Heavy metal test: High concentration of elements such as copper and nickel could have long term effects on growth.
A visual examination should be made to assess the accumulation and implications of any surface silt.
(c) If the tests are clear then overseeding (100 ryegrass) can be carried out.
as a basic guide if bare 100 grams a square metre, reduce the rate with increased grass cover.
(d) If contamination is present then it may be necessary to take remedial action on the growing medium. This may include scraping of thick deposits, power jetting of thinner deposits and scarification or brushing of dry deposits. Take all necessary safety precautions and be sure to dispose of contaminated waste appropriately.
(above link is the original article kindly used for inspiration in producing this blog)
Some practical tips on minor flooding
Once the water begins to subside ,while there is some water on the surface but shallow.
Use a dragmat or brush to move the silt layer(if present) that may form on the top of the square ,this silt will compromise the quality of the pitch if you allow it to settle.
Try and get this silt collected into piles or at worst just get it off the square.
Once water is gone, don’t panic allow time for the surface loam to be a state that is moist but not wet or an overly soft. Once the square is suitable dry to walk on the debris can be removed with rakes, brushes and possible a machine to remove small debris and any surface silt remaining.
If in doubt contact your local cricket board ,who should be able to link you up to a local pitch advisor who will be able to advice and support you through the process.
Some thoughts worth considering
Flooding will consolidate the square for you which may be helpful in the fact that pre season rolling may be needed less and resources can be prioritised into reseeding of any or all bare areas.
If the shed/storage areas have also been flooded and water has sat for a while and there are concerns re sewage contamination ,then these areas may need to be disinfected.
The Football Foundation along with the ECB and Sports England have supported clubs in the past which have suffered from past flooding, a good starting point is your local cricket board.
One major factor is how long the water sits and the longer it does there is more likely to be a greater effect to the plant .If you have any concerns re sewage then the environment agency is your first call.
Some questions from clubs
Will the grass be weak going into next season and if so what should l do?
If the grass is weak after the clear up and a couple of cuts to get the cut at a manageable height then a application of a fertiliser can be applied with a low nitrogen content, if in doubt get advice from your local pitch advisor.
If the grass dies off what are my options re seeding?
Any old debris and grass will need removing via light scarification or verticutting in early March and then based on there being areas being bare will need overseeding with a 100% ryegrass mix. To give specific advice is not possible, as ever site will be different so its key to get a pitch advisor to asses and recommend what to do and when.
Is there any long term issues that may arise from flooding damage?
As long as silt and debris is collected and the soil isn’t contaminated with waste then l see no issues. I would just add trying to artificially dry the surface out ,could create issues if using the wrong machine in the wrong soil conditions.
Do we need to re renovate our square ?
More than likely no, more likely you will need to replace any lost grass cover once all surface debris is removed.
How can we plan ahead if we believe we are likely to get hit again by floods or may be at risk?
Guys as l say l have never been in your shoes regarding flooding ,so any further questions please leave comments below and l will endeavour to find answers.