What tasks to carry out on a rugby pitch this month
One of the main aims on grassroots winter sports pitches at this time of year is ensuring that the pitch is ready to cope with what the winter is about to throw at it. Here are a few jobs that will help.
This blog is aimed at the rugby groundsman but most of the below tasks are transferable to other winter sports pitches.
Tractor mounted Rake
Raking pitches in November is an essential part of winter pitch maintenance. It clears and brings to the surface clippings, dead plants, and thatch this can then be collected using a rotor mower with collection box and removed from the pitch. Any type of tractor mounted rake will be fine for the job.
This is one of if not the most important things that we should be looking to carry out as we head into October. Breaking up deep compaction caused by use and warmer dryer months will allow water to drain away and roots to move deeper. If you can get funding, 1-2 times over the winter period to help keep the surface open will be great.
If you don’t have funds or access to a tractor mounted one, then maybe speak to your local cricket or bowls club.They well be able to lend you there pedestrian driven one,even if only for the smaller areas of the pitch.
If you have no tractor and only a garden fork, you still have a great tool for 1- Helping to put back divots 2- Hand spiking heavy wear areas in doing that you can make a difference and possibly filling holes with a sports specific sand/rootzone- Stuart Lambert -Gloucester Rugby (Head Groundsman)Tweet
Between verti draining in-house tractor/pedestrian spiker/slitter on a once a month basis when the soil is moist but not wet will also help to keep it open. If you have no spiker hand forking wet and heavy wear areas will also be of benefit and possibly dressing of a sports sand into fork holes.
Overseeding now as we head into the colder months you should be looking to use colder weather rye grass seed containing tetraploids which germinate and grow at lower temperatures. For example, MM tetra sport is a great one to use.
For smaller areas, the trusty hand fork or anything to create holes/grooves 10-15mm deep for the seed(take a look at tetraploid rye grass) to sit into.
You should be looking to change your granular feed from a spring summer to autumn winter. Putting a 6-month controlled release down (if budget allows) is recommended ideally at a rate of 30-35 grams per m2. If you can feed more and budget allows feed over the top of the controlled release with a quick release granular every 6-8 weeks right through the winter (but not during frosty weather) at a rate of 25-30 grams per m2.
Other Jobs on the turf
Mowing at a height of between 50- 75mm (rugby solely)
Brush/Rake-Anything to get the grass standing up, ensuring this is done when the soil isn’t too wet and surface capping/smearing occurs.
Lines- Crisp and White and straight as possible.
Avoid any form of heavy rolling, as this will only cap off the surface and slow down rain water infiltration.
Divots- Lift and repair divots asap after play.
Take a look at Keith Kent Pitch Maintenance video below
Check out Rugby Connect resource set up solely to support rugby groundsman-https://resources.thegma.org.uk/rugby-union/rugby-groundsmen-connected
I hope you enjoyed what tasks to carry out on a rugby pitch and if you have any questions, just leave a reply below and l ll get back to you.