Home Cricket What to do Once the Flooding is Gone – On Sports Grounds

What to do Once the Flooding is Gone – On Sports Grounds

by TurfCareBlog

What to do Once the Flooding is Gone – On Sports Grounds

This blog is in response to the wettest Winter on record and the issues that some sports clubs have faced,with major flooding and the clear up after.

I have just forwarded on information from sports england website,please find the link below.In part two of this blog Tim Packwood ,the Head Groundsman at Worcestershire CCC ,provides some more cricket specific advice.

Residual wet areas

Try to avoid water standing stagnant for long periods by redistributing water with brushes and pumps and use a hand fork to spike the ground to assist in infiltration.
If flooding has caused grass death, (this is usually limited to depressions in the field) cultivate the surface and apply sand dressing to help dress out the depression, if possible. Also, incorporate a pre-germination fertiliser as per bag label recommendations and re-seed.

Debris on Turf

Debris on site should be cleared using safe handling procedures. Contact the appropriate authorities regarding identifiable property such as cars and try to return these to their owners. Valuable machinery/ items subject to an insurance claim should be recovered and kept for the insurance loss adjuster. Look to reuse and recycle where possible. Combustible materials such as wood and vegetation could be burnt in a well-managed bonfire and plastics should be recycled in local recycling schemes. Try and limit the amount of waste material that actually ends up in landfill.

Sediment on turf

Large quantities of sediment can be deposited on a sports ground, particularly on areas next to rivers during river flooding or adjacent to silted water courses/drains during localised (storm water) flooding.

On natural turf football and rugby pitches, sediments should be broken up using harrows to allow the grass to break through the sediment cap. Unless sediment is very deep it can be left on the pitches as it can provide plant nutrients and could be difficult to remove and expensive to dispose.

waterlogged turf

 The exceptions to this are:

– When there is a suspicion that the sediment is contaminated and could pose a human health risk (if in doubt, speak to your local Environment Agency office or hire a suitably qualified consultant to test the soils and advise on appropriate disposal)

– If you have a sand construction surface or sand slit/band/groove bypass drainage system that could become contaminated by the finer silt particles and cease functioning effectively. Speak to the designers/consultants for specific advice on sediment removal and drainage renovation.

-Large quantities of sediment can be deposited on a sports ground, particularly on areas next to rivers during river flooding or adjacent to silted water courses/drains during localised (storm water) flooding.

Artificial sport surfaces (e.g. macadam, artificial grass, acrylic, clay surfaces and athletic tracks)

The impact of flooding on many artificial surfaces can be very significant. You should consider taking advice from a specialist sports surface consultant to establish if the existing surface can be rejuvenated or if a new surface/construction is required. Artificial grass surfaces are particularly affected by flooding as they can be lifted and moved by flooding.

On artificial sport surfaces you should be careful to wash sediment off the surface and remove in accordance with the surface manufacturer’s instructions. Do not wash the sediment into the pile/infill or into perimeter drains as this will block drainage.
Heavily affected artificial sports surfaces should be cleaned using specialist equipment by specialist cleaning contractors. The equipment should combine brushes with air or water to clean the surface and any infill to remove the sediment.

turf flooding

Flood Damaged drainage

Starting at the outfall ensure that your drainage scheme hasn’t been damaged by flood. It is likely that your outfall was submerged during flooding. If it is protected by a one-way flap, then damage will be limited but if unprotected then it could have been blocked. When it is safe to do so inspect and clear the outfall.

Working from the outfall, open each inspection chamber to confirm that drainage is flowing and clear silt traps where appropriate.

Where drains are not flowing, check for obstructions.

To read the full Sports England report ,which the above extracts have been taken from ,click on the link below .If you haven’t already reached out for help,speak to your local football/cricket/rugby governing body ,who may be able to assist you with specific advice and funding streams.


silt on turf
removing surface silt ,from a outfield

After flood damage what work to do on a cricket square

Staying off the ground for as long as possible to let the ground dry sufficiently is the main advice that I can give. There is always the temptation to carry out work as soon as possible especially with pressure from above but more harm than good can be done in the long run from working when the ground conditions aren’t right.

Walk the square and litter pick any debris left behind from the flood before getting any machinery onto the square. Every ground is different and the grass coverage on the square will determine what is done next.

A square with a good covering of grass may just need a very light brush with a mechanical brush when the leaf is dry set up to just touch the grass. This will help to remove some of the silt that may have been left behind by the flood. Top the square with a rotary mower. This will stand the grass up and help to remove any debris that may have been missed in the litter pick or by the brush.

An application of autumn winter fertiliser with a content of iron to help harden the grass plant ready for the spring rolling regime can be applied.

A square that is thin on grass coverage will require a different maintenance programme. From experience I would recommend a complete over seed with a 100% perennial rye grass mix if the budget allows. Sown at the same rate as your end of season renovations.

Cover the square with an economy germination sheet to help speed up germination. These can usually be bought in 4m x 250m, 8.5m x 250m or 12.75m x 250m rolls.

Spring rolling will have to put on hold but from experience I would rather have a good coverage of grass to work with as the season goes on rather than a compacted square lacking in grass. The depth of water that you have had on your square may have given you your pre-season rolling any way. At times we have had over 6ft of water on the main square.

After flooding cricket outfield works.

The outfield will require walking to remove any debris left by the flood. It’s essential this is carried out so that machinery isn’t damaged. Work on the outfield again will depend on the state it’s been left in and the standard of cricket to be played. At Worcester we try to let the field dry for as long as possible and tow six old metal bread trays that were constructed together by the previous head groundsman.

This helps to break up any silt on the leaf but also collects any debris in the trays. These will get emptied several times during the process of matting the whole outfield. Small areas may require an over seed by hand carried out with a rake or a sorrel roll to make a seed bed or the whole outfield with a mechanical seeder depending on the damage after a flood and the budget available.

At Worcestershire CCC we use a seed mix of perennial ryegrass, strong creeping red fescue, slender creeping red fescue and chewing fescue.

Remember every ground is different and you will all be working with different resources and budgets.


Tim Packwood

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