When to carry out End of Season Maintenance?
Renovation should only take place once the playing season has been completed and no further games are to be played. Work can then be carried out to ensure the square is prepared for the following season.
•To start renovations, you need to make sure that ground conditions are suitable. o Initially dry to aid effective scarification.
oGrass shaves short to allow effective scarification.
oNew seed will need soil moisture to germinate so if it is not raining, then irrigation must be available.
•The ideal time to carry out the renovation is normally September.
•The ground temperature has been warmed up but is now cooling down
•Air temperature is also cooling down with moisture (Dew) being present most mornings
•Rain showers are more likely as we start to go into Autumn, irrigation may still be required, but there is a greater chance that irrigation will happen through rainfall.
What End of season Maintenance should take place?
A suggested minimum renovation programme to ensure the long-term health and consistent playability of your square could be
•Scarify all pitches on the square to remove thatch and collect arisings, carry out a minimum of two passes (working below any thatch layer, with at least one pass at a minimum of 5 mm depth)
•Over sow with a fine leaved dwarf rye grass blend suitable for cricket.
•Apply a pre seeding or autumn winter fertiliser
•Apply a light dressing of your normal cricket loam to repair and level worn ends and help germinate the seed (normal recommendations are 8 x 20kg bags per pitch), reducing this by 40% across the square could be acceptable to fit with current budgets, depending on the number of pitch ends damaged by use.
Other things to consider:
If you did not manage to get an end of season renovation in at the end of 2019 because of the wet winter it is really important to renovate in 2020 to:
•restore grass cover
•reduce the amount of annual meadow grass (Poa annua) which can wear easily and grow horizontally affecting pitch quality
Therefore, you might need to consider additional scarification and overseeding to help increase the quantity of desirable perennial ryegrass in your square.
The prevalence of annual meadow grass in swards will be increased in 2020 because of low usage, limited maintenance, and the weather. If you have had a low maintenance regime through lockdown then it might also be necessary to do additional scarification and overseeding.
Top Dressing can be reduced to the minimum amount required to cover the scarifying lines and help new seed to germinate, other minor levels can be addressed next year, this year with limited budgets a reduction in top dressing will assist the club to manage finical issues. Buying in bulk (1-ton bags) can reduce costs but carry out a manual handling assessment and make sure that you can cover the bags to keep the loam dry.
Employing Contractors, Carrying out End of Season Maintenance
When employing contractors to carry out the end of season maintenance, it is important that the work is carried out in accordance with what the square requires and not just the ‘normal package’, all squares are different and will have been managed differently in 2020, so ensure that the work carried out is in-line with what is required on a yearly basis for your square. Make sure that when you appoint the contractor you have:
•A clear description of the works to be carried out (the number of passes with the scarifier, the specification, type and quantity of seed, fertiliser, and loam topdressing.
•A work programme (details of amount/number regarding operations outlined above)
•Quality to be attained (standard to be attained)
•A projected start/end date (discuss options if delays happen)
For further information go to:
The essential guide to cricket Groundsmanship – here
Pitch Doctor Videos – Click here