Maintenance is the key to maximising playing hours

Charmian Robinsonin Industry News

DakotaMaintenance staff responsible for sports pitches be they private or Local Authority owned are under enormous pressure to ensure the facilities are fit for constant use. Every playing field in the country is probably accessible to a wide range of organisations such as schools and clubs covering a huge variety of ages and skill levels.

Rugby pitches like any other sports facility require regular maintenance and repair processes to optimise the performance. Cleveland Land Services Ltd offer an advisory service to any groundsman wishing to improve the state of their pitch or looking for advice on the wide of the range of treatments. Information includes appraisals of several techniques to determine what would be most successful in their own scenario, what annual repair treatments are available and what should be included in a regular maintenance programme.

Newcastle Grammar School have three rugby pitches that suffered from perpetual water logging reducing the playing hours by several months of the year. Tim Colclough of Turftrax assessed what needed to be done, Brian Dunn Project Manager for Cleveland Land Services comments "This was a typical case of struggling to manage water damage so we had, in the first instance to address the drainage. Without an adequate drainage system in place the maintenance would continue to be an upward struggle. We installed 60mm piped sand slits and collector drains to remove the excess water. Once in place we top dressed the site using a Dakota 440 Turf Tender and then applied seed and a fertiliser."

With the groundwork's completed a comprehensive maintenance programme keeps the grass in top condition all through the season. "Top dressing of 10mm to playing surfaces is followed by decompaction and Verti-draining." explained Brian "Four fertiliser applications and one herbicide is applied. The pitches are then over seeded, irrigated if necessary and then mowed regularly to keep the sward strong and healthy."

Top Tips for pitch maintenance:

· Decompact with a ground breaker or earthquake to break up the soil structure and Verti-drain to aerate and improve surface drainage.

· Top dress with a suitable medium to improve the link between the surface and the drain lines.

· Repair with an overseeder such as a Vaderstad disc seeder or Blec multi-seeder.

· Take soil samples 4 times a year to assess the chemical balance of the soil and apply the correct fertiliser.

· Apply herbicide for broadleaf weeds a fortnight after fertiliser when required (usually once annually).

· Scarify throughout the season

· Mow regularly during the growing season

Dakota Newcastle Royal

For further information please contact:
Project Manager Brian Dunn
Cleveland Land Services (Guisborough) Ltd
Tel: 01642 488328

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