April Maintenance

General Maintenance

There are reports of games being played when the surface was not able to cope, which has unfortunately left them unplayable for the following month.

If you find this is the case, try to stay of the pitch until it’s dry enough to run a dragmat or chain harrow it over to restore levels; spiking could also help.

Aim to achieve the best surface possible as the season reaches it’s climax, as many of you will be hosting important games such as promotion and relegation battles, cup games or even corporate requirements. Given the winter we’ve had it won’t be easy, but presentation will go a long way.

Regular brushing will help to prevent disease outbreaks and also stand the grass up.

Prior to applying any plant protection products always ensure that any disease is correctly identified.

Maintain a height of cut between 24-30mm.

  • Regular brushing will keep the air circulating around the base of the plant
  • Ensure that any equipment used is keenly set to cut
  • Continue cutting to encourage good sward density.
  • Deep spike to alleviate compaction when conditions allow
  • Use any downtime to overhaul/service machinery
  • Hand fork goalmouth and centre circle areas, if difficult to get onto the pitch with machinery
  • Keep your spiking regime flexible, alternating between surface spiking, deep spiking and slitting
  • Try to keep the top 100mm free draining; this can be achieved by regular spiking with solid or slit tines to a depth of 150mm or more.

Marking Out

  • Keep your line-marker clean
  • Keep string lines taut
  • Ensure that right angles are correctly formed. Use the 3:4:5 triangle method. The bigger the triangle at the start, the more accurate the pitch will be.

Before the match

  • Check that the pitch is fit and safe for play
  • Clear away leaves – a thankless task, but one that needs doing
  • Check for debris (glass, stones etc.)
  • Ensure the surface is firm and not saturated, correctly marked out and flagged, and that the posts are safe and secure

Post match

  • Replace divots, even if it’s just the worst affected areas - it will make a difference!
  • Dragmat/brush/harrow to restore playing surfaces and remove worm casts
  • Clean up the playing surface with a rotary mower

Additionally

  • Book your machinery in for it’s annual service/repair if not already done
  • Dragmat, harrow and groom rake surface, as required, to maintain levels
  • Spike/verticut as often as possible

Agronomy

Now is a good time to take soil samples, ideally a full Particle Size Distribution (PSD), which will tell you what your soil profile is made up of.

A PSD will analysis the percentages of clay, slit and sand of your soil, giving you a better understanding of what soil you are dealing with and can establish the amount of organic matter (OM) content, soil nutrients and soil pH.

There is an optimum for each plant nutrient, when couple with other properties such as soil structure and particle sizes, determine how vigorous your plants are.

An early fertiliser can be used now, which will provide for good grass recovery and help with young grass seedlings; something like a 9-7-7 would be ideal, but your soil analysis should help you make this decision.

Later in the month you can apply a slow release fertiliser, to take the grass through May/June.

Weeds, Pests & Diseases

Ensure when you spray your weed treatment programme it doesn’t damage emergent grasses in newly sown areas.

You will need to delay your renovations for up to six weeks if you priority is to spray treat your weeds prior to renovation; you can always check the label for advice. Similarly, if your priority is to complete the renovation first you will need to ensure that newly sown grass is well established before applying.

Preventing is always better than curing, so keep an eye out for fungal diseases. Early morning dew can often contribute to this, so regular brushing will aid in preventing it.

Keep the leaf blade dry, to avoid leaf spot which can be quite damaging, and apply approved fungicide to stop further outbreaks.

Red Thread can developed any time of the year and develop on most turfgrasses, this diseases is often an indicator of low fertility.

Usually a dose of fertiliser will help control outbreak of Red Thread, however if that isn’t the case many fungicides currently available have shown to be effective against turf disease. Always ensure that the disease is correctly identified prior to the application of any plant protection product.

Machinery

  • Keep your machinery in tip top condition
  • Grease where you find a grease nipple, oil where you see a metallic moving part
  • Check the oil and water
  • Clean it when you've finished 
 
 
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