Looked great on top and haven’t looked under the surface of the grass for a couple of years this thoroughly,but sure l am not alone in this to easy to work with what you think you know or remember.
Took 2/3 cores from the North outfield areas North,East,South and West have previously identified areas that either drain to well,do not drain well enough come under pest attack etc ,no areas on this outfield completely replicate the rest of the outfield.
All cores had one thing in common 10-15 mm of thatch that is not the end of the world thatch wise,bit of thatch support a soft landing but it also encourages disease and pest so its a ongoing factor that l need to reduce. we do scarify annually and try and fit in verticutting,we also gave the outfield a Birthday 3 years back consisting of scarifying ,seeding and topdressing ,trying to encourage the club to do this again in the next couple of year the scarifying and topdressing along with our annual work and regular aeration will hopefully continue to reduce the depth of thatch.
Area of concern where the back of the square and the area in-front of the pavilion.
The cores taken from these areas backed up what was happening on the surface,the back end of the square is the poorest draining area on the ground/s on close inspection it was clear why, there was not enough free draining subsoil ,heavy clay just 2 plus inches down really affecting this areas drainage capacity.
This is not completely a surprise we have been hollow coring and topdressing(sand) this area for the last few years and give it extra spiking and keep off it in unsuitable conditions also have encouraged the club to sand band this area and feel confident this could happen in the next couple of years.
The other issues was bang in-front of the pavilion areas dried out so quick in comparison to others areas on the outfield,the cores show why free draining to plus 5 inches ,so a programe of increased spiking and watering and also increased feeds is in place ,as obviously this area will leach nutrients.
So happy l took those cores so easy to just look at the top of any turf area ,outfields are never under the same level of scrutiny of the squares where regular cores are taken especially at club level always told its one of the best in Sussex but to easy to rest on comments like that.l
Based on these cores l have the visual evidence to back up my thoughts and some of my concerns and have now put together a maintenance plan to improve the outfields and can be confident in seeking approval for funding to improve the weak area based on solid ,measurable evidence.
I will be taking cores of the outfield much more regularly now l will be able to monitor any improvements and adjust my maintenance plans to fit,cant stress the importance of taking cores on the cricket tables but also outfields even at club level ,not every solution has to cost a fortune and education is key if you want to know and improve your turf areas.
Whats under the bonnet!!!
ps get a corer out or take a slice what’s under the bonnet of your surface whether that the square or outfield ,how much thatch ,what the root depth ?