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What to do on a Cricket Square Post Renovations

by TurfCareBlog

Hi all, I`ve been asked by Brian to produce a little blog to help groundsman in terms of What to do on a Cricket Square Post Renovations.

Just a little about me

I am Andy Peirson I have worked in the sports turf industry for approximately 32 years, starting at local club cricket and now I run my own sports turf maintenance company based in the North East.

During the 32 years I’ve worked at multiple clubs including 13 years working for Kent County Cricket Club, firstly at the Beckenham site as Head Groundsman. I progressed onto Canterbury and l oversaw all of the grounds that Kent played 1st Class cricket on. I am also a county pitch advisor for Yorkshire and deliver courses for The GMA ( THE OLD IOG).

It is hard to put a time scale on when operations can be carried out, as not everyone renovates their table at the same time.

There is also the uncontrollable factor of the whether your status is full time groundsman, volunteer or a contractor and or hire equipment in or employ a contractor to carry out a task.

This blog will cover an important time in the maintenance schedule.

Suggested Tasks on The Square

It will cover:

Growing period

First cut

Brushing

Fertilisation

Aeration

Verti-cutting

Growing in Period

Here we go, hopefully everyone will be past this stage, with all your table scarified seeded and top dressed.

Once you have its important to encourage the seed to germinate as quickly as possible, one way of achieving this is to use irrigation to ensure the seed doesn`t dry out. It is important not to rely on the weather. I also use sheeting to encourage germination on the ends, as these areas tend to take longer to become established.

It is important not to just leave the sheets down though as it may cause the seed to rot off, if it becomes waterlogged. Remove the germination sheet, if weather and ground conditions are favourable.

Once the seed has germinated you need to be patient if you try to cut the new sward too early you may pull out the new seedling. So, if your square is at this stage.

There is always a opportunity to create some holes and over seed in late October or even into early November.

Please stay off, the plant needs to be at two leave stage and about 25mm in height.

First Cut

Once the sward has reached this stage, I prefer to use a cylinder mower over at rotary mower set at 25mm.The reason for this is because if there is any seed that is still laid on the surface, a rotary mower will suck them up where as the rollers on a cylinder mower will push them into the newly loamed surface of the table. This will help with the potential of them germinating, and will also help the sward on the table to thicken up nicely.

The table needs to be dry when you do this so that you reduce the risk of picking up loam on the cutter and your feet. Once you have started cutting it is important to start to remove the dew from the new grass and keep an eye on worm casts.

This can be achieved by various ways; you can use traditional methods such as brushes and switches

Once again it will help if the table is dry.


First Post Renovation Feed

For me the next stage I`m looking at is to apply an application of autumn winter fertiliser @ 35 gr/m2. I don’t apply fertiliser when I renovate my table as the seed has ample nutrients in it, with most mixture the seed has a coating on it to help with establishment.

My first feed is with a fertiliser without any iron in it as it can have an adverse effect on a newly established sward.

Read the back of bag, application conditions should all be on the bag.


solid tines, would be a better option than the clusters tines above

Aeration

Next is aerations a topic that everyone has an opinion so here is mine. There are various methods of aeration, the reason for aerating should be made on the understanding of what you are trying to achieve.

The recommended mechanical action when spiking is using a vertical punch action machine, most pedestrian machines will only penetrate to 100 mm into the profile.

Verti drain will go up to 200mm and I wouldn`t use any tine above 12mm in width, deep drill can go as deep as 450mm.

After choosing the method you are going to use then it`s all about the timing, if you carry out the operation under the wrong conditions, then you may cause more damage than good. It is also important to know why you are carrying out aeration and that you aren`t just doing it because the ground down the road are!

If you are choosing to spike with a vertical punch spiker or a verti drainer then the table will have to be soft enough to allow the tine to penetrate the profile without causing any damage.

One way of testing the profile is to use a garden fork and test different areas across the table.If you can push the fork into the profile without having to jump up and down on it and it goes in about 50mm, then your table is ready to be spiked.

If you are going to deep drill then the table can be drier, all you need to be worried about is how far your sward has natured and if it is strong enough to undertake the operation.

The only down side of using a deep drill is that you have to remove the spoil that comes up.


Verti-Cutting

Last of all it is important to verti cut the sward to back up all the work you have carried out in the end of season renovations. The first 2 leaves that come from the seed will turn yellow and die, so you must remove them or you will end up with a build-up of organic matter which will turn to thatch. The verti cutting will also help remove any worm cast and help maintain surface levels.

Verti cutting should only take place, when the square is thickly grassed and growing and when the plant is mature so November. December is probably too cold for verti cutting and you don’t want to thin out the sward, just lightly remove lateral growth.

I feel some groundsman may not share my view on verticutting, for me it works, so l feel confident in mentioning it.

Andrew Peirson
Andrew Peirson

Groundsman and creator of the Groundsmen page on facebook (link below).


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2 comments

chrisjohnson12017 October 15, 2020 - 6:20 pm

Excellent blog. Couple of points. Aeration – could do with ground rules on aims as you mention. Verticutting, which did frequently in season, but nervous with damp, soft surface in winter.
Re germination sheets – I’m cursing leaving it 2 days after reno as rain then made it too wet to tread on. Never had that before. Learning lesson!

Reply
Andy October 15, 2020 - 7:50 pm

Evening Chris re aeration. The best way to know what type of aeration you require is to have a core taken by your local ECB pitch advisor if you are new to the industry as they will help you understand what is going on under the surface.
Re verti cutting the ground conditions are important along with setting the machine up correctly. I tend to set my verti cutting unit about 5mm above the surface due to the height of sward on the square.
I hope this helps
Andy

Reply

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