What to do on a Cricket Square for the Month Ahead, is a blog outlining the essential tasks to do on a cricket square for the month ahead.This blog includes links to blogs, on marking out, repairing wicket and soo much more!
Most of us know how to set a mower up, but l am also aware of the volunteer groundsman may not know, so l have added some videos for those who it may help. Hopefully this blog will help you manage your cricket square better.
Check out this video, on how to set a cylinder to cut –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7FJoJdUBAY
Try to avoid not removing no more than a third of the leaf in any one cut, to prevent stress to the plant.
Height of cut between 12-15 mm, slightly higher can assist in keeping some moisture in the square. Often comes down to the groundsmen preference and standard of cricket.
Keeping the square at this hoc (height of cut) will help the plant thicken out and in doing so will also assist in deeper rooting, rather than leaving to get long and leggy.
Cut once or twice a week, as growth requires and try and not cut for the sake of it, as this puts unnecessary stress on the plant and mower blades.
Check out this video on setting the height of cut- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b79Ur6UrMM4
(notes curtesy of Andy Mackay ECB Pitch Advisor)
Verticutting is a very light form of scarification carried out on fine sports turf areas, which raises loose vegetation at the base of the grass plant.
It should NOT be used to penetrate any underlying thatch layer, as severe defoliation of the sward can easily occur due to how closely spaced the verticutting tines are.
Verticutting in cricket is typically carried out on a bi-weekly basis when the grass plant is growing strongly throughout April to September.
The benefits of Verticutting:
– An improved sward density due to the encouragement of tillering
-A reduction in the potential for annual meadow grass invasion by producing a denser sward in the first place.
– A reduction in the potential for disease attack.
– As a cultural control for, or assistance in controlling, weeds and coarse grasses.
– To produce an upright grass prior to mowing, which will assist in giving a cleaner more even cut.
– The playing speed of fine turf sports areas can be improved.
Whatever surface you play on thatch is the number one turf problem, regular verticutting, along with the above recommendations is the key in prevention.
Otherwise, you’ll have to mechanically remove it during the renovation process in the form of scarification(end of season)
If the plant is stressed and or not growing, then consider stopping verticuting, other if using to thin out the grass cover during pitch preparation.
Pitch Marking out, including wide lines where required
Wide line and disc system how to guide
(especially dry where sheet/domes have kept square/pitches dry)
Once off heavy watering, is said to be a better option than regular top ups that can be soon burn off by evaporation and wind.
Try and water the area as heavily as possible as late in the day as possible, this will prevent evaporation and allow the water to soak into the soil overnight.
Avoid water runoff, so just prior to ponding of water turn off, allow to soak in and come back.
Shallow watering can mean, shallow rooting which is something we don’t want.
90% of the plants water needs are taken from the soil, so watering of the surface is not really enough (l hear you with low water pressure)
What to water with, there are many options including a hand applicator as in the above picture.Sprinklers, perforated hoses, travelling sprinklers the key is to find out what works for you on your site. Slopes, water pressure, time can also be considerations.
Filling in of footholes
Easy weeds to remove, daisies and plantains these all have a shallow root system, so after watering when the soil is soft, they can be easily removed with a knife.
Tap root-these are tricky to remove, but if you can get them when they are small, they can be removed with a knife or by pulling out, when the soil is moist. Dandelions fall into this category.
Trickier weeds such as clover and buttercups can be tricky to remove, once established can probably only be removed by chemical application.
Any chemical applications involving selective herbicide needs to be carried out by a certified operator.
Key is in prevention, so regular cutting, feeding and verticutting are great preventatives.
Higher seed rates during renovations, if they have a key to sit in (groove/hole) can also prevent weed seed invasion, along with control of worm casts.
Repairing of wickets after usage
As you cut the grass and box off you will remove nutrients and pre-season rolling, will also put a stress on the plant.
The loss in nutrients from cutting will need replacing in the form of fertilisation/feeding.
If containing iron(fe) ensure very well washed in, or iron can easily burn the leaf, turning it black.
Fertiliser is the number one killer of grass, so avoid spilling on any grass surface when filling the hopper.
Use a cyclone spreader rather than a drop spreader, my personal preference.
Use a spring /summer nitrogen fertiliser-based product, if unsure ask your fertiliser sales representative.
Ideally a fertiliser regime should be based on annual soil testing results, done earlier in the year.
Allow weather to wash in fertiliser prior to cutting and rolling, or risk damage to the plant.
The key is not to over feed but keep it light green and avoid periods of yellowing, which is an indication of a hungry grass plant.
Little and often, is a better option than boom to a bust feeding programme.
Brian on behalf of the TurfCareBlog community.
Big thanks for our community hero’s, for allowing us to share there images above