It will seem odd to many but this year more than most it is vitally important that clubs clean up the square at end of season. As not many strips will have been played on the rest of the square will have an accumulation of organic matter and increased presence of meadow grass. If you leave this over winter it will become a layer of thatch which will produce slow pitches next season and form a basis for further pitch deterioration in coming years.
Recommended renovation as advised by GMA and ECB:-
- Cut whole square with pitch mower at low setting, brush and repeat
- If you don’t have a scarifier, hire or borrow one (£30/day from Brandon Hire Station)
- Scarify the square. The ECB video on scarifying seems to have gone missing – but this is a link to show an example – https://youtu.be/fRhDZ21xUEA
- Continue scarifying doing at least 3 passes but not at right angles. The resultant debris should be brushed or blown off the square.
- If you cannot lay your hands on a scarifier then severe hand raking (Springbok type) will have to do.
- Overseed and then apply a dressing of loam to at least cover the scarified lines.
- Irrigate if it hasn’t rained
If your square already has a problem with low bounce/thatch then you will want to be more aggressive with scarification – go deeper into the surface until you see clean loam – but remember you will need more loam to correct levels.
If you generally use a contractor to do your autumn work then it may be a good idea to take core samples so you can show the contractor what needs to be done. It is important that you make sure the required work is agreed and carried out (see example work specification template on the website).
Remember the county has 3 Pitch Advisors who are all happy to talk to you on the phone or visit your club to help you plan work. CAG website is “www.cag.org.uk”