February Maintenance

General Maintenance

If your pitch is waterlogged, stay off it, you will do far more harm than good - obviously individual circumstances will determine whether a pitch is playable. If it is deemed fit, then use something like a hand fork, rather than machinery, and ensure that heavy wear areas are well spiked.

Use approved fungicides to treat any infected areas as mild temperatures and wet weather will aid fungal disease.

Provide regular brushing to keep the leaf blade dry, and apply an approved fungicide to prevent any further outbreaks, as leaf spot can be quite damaging.

Red thread can develop on most turfgrasses but is far more common on ryegrasses, meadow grasses and fescues - which tend to develop any time during cool or wet weather. If nitrogen or potassium is limited symptoms will often develop far more severely as is often an indicator of low fertility.

Always ensure that the disease is correctly identified prior to applying any plant protection product. Usually a dose of fertiliser will help control an outbreak of red thread.

Maintain a height of cut between 24-30mm.

If snow does make an appearance, and training is held on the main pitch, ensure that regimes, such as training drills and practice games, are rotated on the pitch to avoid excessive wear.

  • Keep the air circulating around the base of the plant with regular brushing
  • If machinery is difficult to get onto the pitch Hand fork most important play areas
  • Deep spike to alleviate compaction when conditions allow
  • Alternate between surface spiking, deep spiking and slitting
  • Continue cutting to encourage good sward density, ensuring that you do not over cut as this would thin out the sward due to the slowdown in growth
  • Use any downtime to overhaul/service machinery
  • In the unlikely event of frost keep off the pitch until it has lifted or it becomes absolutely necessary.
  • 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.

Agronomy

The extreme water-logging is causing some problems, however if you managed to undertake a decent renovation at the end of last year, the mild temperatures have been kind and this will have grown well.

The Annual Meadow-grass is typically dragging its heels at this time of the year and you will notice a disparity between the perennial species, i.e. Bent and Fescue and the ephemeral opportunist which is Annual Meadow-grass.

You may find high levels of moss, with a moist surface and low light levels being a contributing factor. Lateral compaction means that the water is unable to percolate away from the hole, so aerating when ground conditions are unsuitable will lead to smearing the sides of the hole.

Black layer and toadrush are also a problem as anaerobic conditions continue to prevail.

Aearate as much as the conditions allow, and critically not before!

Provide some much needed TLC and fertiliser to help the turf recover as conditions improve. Be vigilant for Microdochium Patch and treat at the very first symptoms. Using biostimulants such as SeaAction Liquid Seaweed and BioMass sugar helps the soil food web recover.

Weeds, Pests & Diseases

As stated previously, the mild temperatures and wet weather will promote fungal disease. Use approved fungicides to treat any infected areas.

Machinery

 Keep your machinery in top condition

  • Grease where you find a grease nipple, oil where you see a metallic moving part, check the oil, check the water
  • Clean it when you've finished
 
 
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