If you find your pitch is waterlogged, you will do far more harm than good, so stay off it. Whether a pitch is playable will be determined on individual circumstances, given the extreme weather conditions.
The grass is still growing in many parts of the country, thanks to the mild temperatures, whilst there will be regional differences, soil temperatures also are higher this time of year, so you can still present your pitch with bands, stripes and a consistent surface. Aim to maintain a height of a cut between 24-30mm.
If snow does make an appearance, training will either head indoors or on the main pitch. If the latter, ensure that regimes are rotated on the pitch to avoid excessive wear.
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.
With the grass roots desperate for some air you will find the pitch will be sodden, if not saturated. Try to do some aerating, some slitting or tining, once it has dried sufficiently - the holes will close up nicely and it makes a huge difference to the plant’s recovery.
A slow release low nitrogen feed will be in order to nourish a very hungry sward, as temperatures are also unusually high.
Weeds, Pests & Diseases
It’s important to keep the sward brushed, particularly in the mornings, as diseases can occur during these spells of mild weather. By knocking off the dew you remove surface water and allow it to dry out.
Fungicides can be used to control diseases, with a wide range of products on the market that have the active ingredients Chlorothalonil and Iprodione.
Keep an eye on the square and treat accordingly, as worm activity can be quite prevalent during the winter months. Worms treatments can be carried out but make sure you understand why worms are present. You may find pH levels, organic matter and your cultural practices on the square need to be assessed.
Foxes, moles and rabbits can become a problem, employing approved pest control services to remove them from the site may be a solution.
Warm and wet weather, early morning dew and diminishing daylight all are factors which increase the risk of fungal disease outbreaks.
The typical types of diseases you may come across this time of year are:
Machinery & Materials