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Message Board - Football: Here you are - look after this for a season

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Sammo
Posted 14 Sep 2011
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Yes, that's what I was told tonight when I boldly said I was sure there was something we could do to help keep our football pitch playable this year.

Bar spending the past few hours reading this and various other message boards, I know nothing about grounds maintenance other than regular mowing is always good and aeration can help reduce water logging (I think)!

So, guys all help and advice very greatfully received. Budget is very, very low and the pitch is used once, sometimes twice, a week by youth teams to play competitive matches. It's used a couple of hours a week for training to.

As we speak it's very badly marked (though we do have a wheel marker thingy) and we suffer very badly in winter with water logging etc. I'm thinking about going to HSS and hiring a pedestrian aerator, is this a good idea? Further to this it's got a few hollows and various bald patches on it which I need to get sorted. We have tonnes of soil taken off one of our other pitches available to use.

Another of our pitches has recently had a lot of drainage work done with ditches being dug etc but ours isn't due until 2013 when we can fund it.

Like I say, budget is majorly limited and I'm happy just to keep it playable for the season and invest next year. Any work would have to be done by me and any other volunteers I can rope in, and there's not a chance we could stretch to hiring a tractor.
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vid
Posted 15 Sep 2011
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Hi Sammo welcome to the message board. In order to get much of an answer you need to give us info. Who does the mowing and marking, why is the marking bad, who does your other pitches, what equipment is available for you and the other pitch, who owns it/maintains it. Whats the quality of the soil available.

It sounds like the pitch is badly compacted so aeration would be a good start and would help the pitch from becoming waterlogged. However deeper penetration and 'heave' would be of the greatest benefit and this would involve big machinery and a £300+ budget to hire it in. Can you not find someone nearby - golf club, big sports complex who might do a deal, or get the users to club together and fund it as they - not you are the beneficiaries of the work. Be careful now that the season has started with topping areas up with a heavy soil as this will just become slurry when it rains and its trodden in. A little at a time is best so as not to smother the existing grass.

This site has quite a few people who maintain football on little or no budget and are often asking for 'free stuff'. Unfortunately for the most part we cant do much except advise for nothing but maybe one of these no budget people will come forward and advise you on how to do it
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Sammo
Posted 15 Sep 2011 Last edited: 15 Sep 2011
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Cheers vid.

The mowing and marking until now has been done by a contractor who does 5 pitches on our site (it's a private site but with public access if that makes sense). However their work is at best the minimum they can do to maintain the contract - grass is either cut way too short or left too long and done with a heavy tractor so no real care put in (and tire marks everywhere). They also mark out but one rain shower soon does away with the markings. The ground gets very heavy so I'd suggest it's very compacted.

It's pitches for a junior / youth football club so they see a reasonable amount of use. It was agreed at a management meeting a couple of weeks ago the teams that play on each pitch should take a bit more ownership of it to help maintain it and keep us playing throughout the season. For the two teams that play on our pitch, we've decided we want to do as professional a job as we can to keep the pitch in top condition. I'm already asking for funding for a good quality grass seed and line marking paint.

With regard filling in the hollows, I'm thinking of moxing the soil going in with grass seed. Is this a good idea?

To mark out when we do it ourselves we have an old transfer wheel machine which I'm due to "renovate" tomorrow. I've also managed to get two reasonable quality pedestrian mowers on permanent loan from the committee members to help keep the grass at a playable length.

Please rest assured the only thing I'm asking for for free is advice :D
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meridean
Posted 15 Sep 2011
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Meridean

can you paste any photo's of the pitch
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A J
Posted 15 Sep 2011 Last edited: 15 Sep 2011
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Always a pleasure bringing on the new seed



Sammo,

Been reading through your two posts, I think you would deffently benefit from attending a Winter pitch maintenance course to get a better Knowledge and understanding of the basics on what would benefit and tailor your needs - Equipment,(mowers/line marking/ Aeration/ irrigation - Supplies, Grass seed/fertilizer/line marking paint - and of course Health & safety.

Some of these may be not be available to you yet. Vid makes a valid point on how much work to be carried out on the advice you can be given here. There is loads of it! Yes get the basics, Better understanding of your soils, Grass seed, Feeding, Spiking to releave compaction/drainage and so on.

I`ve seen posts on here from guys with little or no budget. But wilth good understanding, get buy and do very well with what they have got.

A good start would be to up load some pic`s as Meridean suggests.

Good luck

Andy.
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jlawrence
Posted 15 Sep 2011
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Of course there's no bounce, bend your back and put some bloody effort in.

hmm budget very very low, yet you're asking for a funding for good quality seed & paint. I think you may be in for a bit of a shock as to how much that will cost. Seed ain't cheap, and the amount you'd use on a footy pitch is going to be quite a bit.

First thing to look at is how many volunteers can you rope in ?
To get started that is very very very important. Get 15 or 20 volunteers for a day. Give them each a fork and get aerating. You might be surprised who suddenly volunteers to 'sponsor' and aerator next time.
I would begin by getting yourself on a winter sports maintenance course - look under training on this site or on the IOG site. That course will give you the knowledge to get started.
Get yourself around to any local cricket, golf, bowls pitches and get to know the greens/groundsman. You might be pleasantly surprised at what they'll be willing to lend you for the price of a case of beer. But regardless of what they lend you, you need to get on a course so that you know what you're going to try and do with the equipment. You need to know what is going to make the biggest difference, that way you can prioritize what budget you do have, rather than wasting some of it on something that might not actually help in the short term.

You need to make a list of what equipment you've got, mowers/line markers/forks etc etc. Don't leave anything out. In order to move forward you need to know exactly where you're starting from.
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Sammo
Posted 15 Sep 2011
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Thanks for your replies guys. I'm down at the pitch tomorrow so will get some pictures taken and get them uploaded.

jlawrence there's half a sack of seed in our store which will do me to fill in the hollows for now. You're right, I didn't realise how much it would take until I read through this board. Line marker wise, I've asked for Grassline Heavy Duty which didn't seem massively expensive.

Budget is low but I know I can creep it up if I ask for it little bit by little bit - eg paint this week, aerator next week etc.

Someone else has also suggested speaking to the local golf club etc and making friends with the groundsman. I can always stretch to a case of beer!
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...
Posted 15 Sep 2011
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Hi Sammo,

what part of the country are you in?

It's worth considering that the NW is wet and the SE is dry and several variables in between, and you never know, there maybe someone on here who is local and may take an interest.

ste
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Sammo
Posted 15 Sep 2011
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Cheers Ste. Based near Preston in Lancashire, so plenty of rain!!!
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GRG
Posted 15 Sep 2011
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A good fork and a pair of wellies will get you far Sammo.
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...
Posted 15 Sep 2011
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Lol, yes, plenty of rain around Preston Sammo, pretty close to where I live and work, the begiining of last week and the end of the week before were definately wet. very wet....

ste
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Sammo
Posted 15 Sep 2011
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Where are you Ste, if you don't mind me asking?
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Aleksander E
Posted 16 Sep 2011
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Good afternoon! I am sorry. I address for the help. At our stadium passed some football games during a rain. Now Poa pratensis grows for 7 days on 2 sm (from 3 sm to 5). Our puncher (Husqvarna TA36 see)) does holes on distance 10х25 One processing by a puncher see hasn't helped. I ask to inform, how many processings by a puncher (Husqvarna TA36) me to make and on what depth? Thankful in advance. Alexander
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Barry Pace
Posted 16 Sep 2011
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'Where the future is being made today'

Hi Aleksander, some of your question is lost in the translation but I think you should look at the soil condition when using any form of aeration, too wet and you will get problems or limited improvement, try and aerate before it is wet or wait until the soil has dried a little, You can do too much when it is wet and not enough when dry, hope that helps
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tonybolton
Posted 16 Sep 2011
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Posts: 1534

Still raining

In clay based soils I like to use my 'puncher' when they are moist and even a little wet, if it then dries the punchees last a lot longer.
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Sammo
Posted 17 Sep 2011
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IMG 0560
Morning all.

As promised, some pictures of the pitch.

I went down and had a good look yesterday, and it's quite strange. Running end to end around the centre of the pitch seems very sandy and very hard. With my 15 stones added to it, I could only get about an inch of the fork into the ground. However when I went out towards the wings on both sides, it took little effort to go 3 - 4 inches in where it's very boggy.

Another thing, and i don't know if this means anything, is that when pulling the fork out, the soil is trying to come with it in big lumps - as you'll see from one of the pictures where I let it happen (before sticking some seed down and smoothing it over a little).

I also managed to speak to the contractor who was down cutting grass. He openly admitted they'd lost the contract and that his machine was ripping the ground up when he turned. He was told to stay the hell off my pitch!!!
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Sammo
Posted 17 Sep 2011
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IMG 0559
And another
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Sammo
Posted 17 Sep 2011
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IMG 0561
And again
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Aleksander E
Posted 17 Sep 2011
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Good afternoon, Barry Pace and tonybolton. I thank you for the help. I ask to specify. Our puncher does apertures in soil through 10х25. It see throws out on a surface of a football ground lumps of soil in the form of the cylinder. I want to spend for 1 day 3 times processing. It is a lot of? How many sand to strew on a football ground after a puncher?
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Sammo
Posted 17 Sep 2011
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IMG 0564
Torn up
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Sammo
Posted 17 Sep 2011
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IMG 0562
Last one (for now lol)
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David Ember
Posted 17 Sep 2011
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Hi Sammo, sounds like you have very little root if it is pulling up easily, again any aeration will help the root development.

If you can get it aerated and then a good autumn feed on it ASAP that will help develop the grass you have, you will need about 10-12 bags of fertiliser at £20-25 per bag along with the aerator you need about £350.

If you can only get a pedestrian aerator concentrate on the goal areas and centre of the pitch first, this will be where there is the most compaction.

Do you have access to a small tractor?

If so you can can a slitter which will help the levels a bit and also aid root development. You need to aim to cut the grass at around 35mm this is a little long but may help protect the pitch a little more.

I would limit the repair work you do, seed is expensive and you may waste a lot of time and money for very little return, fill any holes with sand.

Finally you need to look at funding for the end of season renovation. If you can get £3000 up together then you may be able to get the pitch seeded and dressed, giving you grass next year, start you research now and talk to soil suppliers in the area, most will give a free report on what is required with the expectation of business in the future. You will need to read these carefully as the report will be a sales document but should outline the problems you need to address.

I would also make it clear to your team that it is unlikely to see any vast improvement this year - manage their expectations.

Good luck!!
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ricam
Posted 17 Sep 2011
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Alexasander E
Your husquvarna with hollow coring times fitted is NOT for football pitches.
Please let me have your e mail address and I will explain
richard.campey@campeyturfcare.com
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vid
Posted 17 Sep 2011
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Hi Sammo when compaction occurs all sorts of bad things start to happen. People running up and down the pitch and machinery cause a 'Pan' this is a layer at about 75 -100mm that is especially compacted and water air and roots really struggle to get through - this is what deep aerators are relieving. Where there is less traffic ie out on the wings this compaction tends to be more patchy and concentrated particularly in low areas where water sits for an extended time, around these areas the soil can be in much better condition and will allow a fork to penetrate.

It sounds like there has been some sand top dressing carried out down the middle of the pitch but has not been particularly well integrated but probably has been carried out with deep aeration so this area may stronger than you think. The sand in the surface and the rain we have had recently is probably only loosening the top inch of the pitch and your fork is quicly finding the dry compacted layer underneath. I would still strongly recommend you try to fund a vertidrain for when the profile is damp (not soaking) in say late October. This will relieve quite a few of these problems you are experiencing. The soil in your pictures looks to be quite good so I think if you get the compaction out the grass will respond very well
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vid
Posted 17 Sep 2011
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By the way sammo I agree with David repair work now is probably ok but if the pitch gets really wet and the soil is still broken up as in your picture you will end up with a hole full of soft cake mix and virtually unplayable. I would just add to Davids comment - use sand everywhere as he directs except in the goal mouths as too much will cause loss of structure and extreme softness - never fork the goalmouth to get water away either this just furher softens the whole upper profile and saturates it, try to get the water away by other means and attempt to keep the surface as solid as possible
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peter bigley
Posted 18 Sep 2011
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Another thing you can do is get friendly with your local head greenkeepers and any groundsmen. They love giving advice and making a difference if they have the machinery, sometimes they'll do it for free or for not much money. It already looks like you need to sand your goal mouths, and the fertiliser is a good idea. It is starting to get colder now so seed might not take but will sit there until its warm enough to burst. As it is colder I would go for fertiliser with trace elements especially iron (fe).
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