January Maintenance

General Maintenance

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.

  • Use any downtime to overhaul/service machinery
  • Ensure that any equipment used is keenly set to cut
  • Regular brushing will keep the air circulating around the base of the plant
  • Continue cutting to encourage good sward density, ensuring that you do not over cut
  • Keep your spiking regime flexible, alternating between surface spiking, deep spiking and slitting
  • Hand fork important areas, if difficult to get onto the pitch with machinery
  • Deep spiking will alleviate compaction, when conditions allow
  • In the unlikely event of frost this January, keep off the pitch until it has lifted, this will avoid damage to the grass plant/leaf

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.

Agronomy

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:

  • Fusarium Patch
  • Red Thread
  • Dollar Spot

Machinery & Materials

  • 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, check the water
  • Clean it when you've finished
 
 
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