December Tennis Diary 2012

Laurence Gale MScin Tennis

After so much rain, ground conditions are going to be far from ideal and, in most cases, will be saturated and prone to damage. Refrain from working on your natural grass courts while the surfaces remain wet and soft.

However, if conditions allow the use of pedestrian rotary mowers, you can you these to keep the sward mown and clear of debris, leaves and etc. You may also want to apply a winter feed or a dose of liquid iron to maintain colour.

Winter months are ideal for getting any odd jobs or repairs completed. Repairing and painting structures around the club, fences, signs and furniture. Its also usually a good time to send your machinery away for repairs and servicing. Soil and air temperatures are now dropping, early morning frosts are appearing on grass surfaces, it's important not to walk across frozen ground, as this will lead to turf damage.

Depending on ground conditions, some clubs may be able to complete drainage or reconstruction works during the winter months; existing drainage systems can be overhauled and cleaned out, or additional drainage systems may be added.

Keep up the regular, daily brushing of the courts to keep them free of early morning dews, and to prevent any debris accumulating on the grass surfaces. Reducing the humidity levels around the grass plant will help prevent the likelihood of turfgrass diseases becoming prevalent.

Key Tasks for December
Hedges Tennis

With your end of season renovations successfully completed, you will hopefully be going into the winter period with some new growth on the courts. Your main priorities will be to protect this growth and keep the surface clean and open.

Aerating the playing surface with a sarrell roller or some solid tines will be beneficial. However, only use machinery on the surface if you can operate without causing any smearing or damage.

A pedestrian punch tine aerator will give you the best results, with the aim of getting penetration down to at least 100mm. Frequency of aeration will be dictated by the condition of the square and weather conditions, however you would look to aerate at least once a month.

Keep the surface open by the use of a sarrell roller, which is often used to prick small holes to a depth of 45mm.

Other solid tine aerators can reach greater depths. Spiking between 100-200mm is beneficial to encourage deeper rooting and gaseous exchanges in the soil profile.

Useful Information for Aeration

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Mowing frequency will be dependant on a number of factors - grass growth, sward type, level or standard of facility, resources (staff and machinery) but, generally, it may only need mowing on a fortnightly/monthly basis to keep tidy during these cold, dark months.

Inspect and remove debris from playing surface - litter, twigs and leaves. Leaf debris can be a problem during the winter months. It is important to sweep and clear the leaves off the courts, as an accumulation of wet leaves will damage the grass surface.

Inspect and clean machinery after use; service and repair damaged machinery.

Useful Information for Mowing

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Turf Pests and Diseases

Keep an eye on fungal disease attack, and use approved fungicides to treat infected areas. The recent mild and wet weather will certainly have provided the ideal climatic conditions for diseases.

Regular brushing or switching off the dew in the mornings will reduce the chance of fungal attack.

Worm treatments can be carried out, if needed, but please remember to ask yourself why worms are present. pH level, organic matter and your cultural practices on the square need to be assessed. Carbendazim is the only approved active ingredient available left to control worms. Comply to all safety data sheets when using this pesticide product.

Useful Information for Turf Pests and Diseases

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Professional Fungicides
Soil Testing
Cricket SoilSample

Soil sampling is an important part of Groundsmanship. The results will enable the manager to have a better understanding of the current status of his soil and turf. There are many tests that can be undertaken, but usually the main tests to consider are:

Particle Size Distribution (PSD) this will give you accurate information on the soil type and its particle make up, enabling you to match up with appropriate topdressing materials and ensuring you are able to maintain a consistent hydraulic conductivity (drainage rate) of your soil profile.

Soil pH; it is important to keep the soil at a pH of 5.5-6.5, a suitable level for most grass plants.

Organic matter content; it is important to keep a balanced level of organic matter content in the soil profile.

Nutrient Levels; keeping a balance of N P K nutrients within the soil profile is essential for healthy plant growth.

Once you have this information, you will be in a better position to plan your season's feeding and maintenance programmes.

Useful Information for Soil Testing

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Artifical surfaces
TheLeys Tennis

There is no such thing has a maintenance free all weather tennis courts. Over the years we have seen a number of different types of surfacing becoming popular, and they all need regular maintenance in terms of keeping clean, brushed and free of moss and algae.

Artificial grass systems:- Keep surface clean with regular sweeping and brushing. Remove any algae and moss from surface. Sand filled systems require regular brushing to maintain manufacturer's recommendations on sand levels and pile heights.

American Fast Dry courts:- Keep surface clean, rolling to consolidate surface, levelling and brushing of fast dry materials, brushing to clean lines.

Clay courts:- Keep surface clean, regular sweeping and brushing to restore playing levels using SISIS Trulute or similar equipment. Topdress any hollows or damaged areas. Repaint lines.

Tarmacadam:- Keep surfaces clean, regular sweeping and brushing. Repair any hollows or damaged areas. Repaint lines.

Useful Information for Artifical surfaces

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Other Tasks for the Month
  • Maintain material stocks and order any other consumables required.

  • Inspect nets and posts

  • Inspect drainage outfalls and keep fence lines tidy

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