With the unprecedented warmer temperatures of late, renovations should be all but complete. With a good covering of grass and an extended mowing season, only a few bare areas maybe showing signs of slow growth.
Cooler temperatures during November will slow down growth rates around the country, so mowing with a rotary is more beneficial in reducing surface compaction. The onset of autumn brings its own problems such as high winds and falling leaves that smother the ground, killing off vegetation and encouraging worms, so leaf collection is important.
Aeration of the square and outfield is vitally important to assist drainage, but often delayed until November, allowing the chance for the square to retain more moisture for the roots. Turf disease can become quite prevalent too this time of the year, when soil moisture levels increase, coupled with the presence of early morning dews.
The combination of moist soils and surface moisture on the leaf blade can increase the likelihood of an outbreak of disease. Regular brushing to remove the dew will help reduce the prospect of any fungal attack.
Be careful with the use of germination sheets as there maybe a risk of encouraging disease. Removing the sheeting during the day will minimise the risk. Regular brushing in the mornings to remove the dew from the playing surfaces will reduce this risk. Diseases most commonly active at this time of the year such as fairy rings and red thread should be spray with a fungicide if spotted.
Continue mowing the outfield whilst growth is present. Give your outfield a rake or harrow to lift the grasses to allow air movement around the sward.
Where there's moisture, moss will lurk. Moss spores could develop on the square as the weather closes in and air temperatures drop. The use of an approved moss killer will check any growth quickly.
Worm activity can also be prevalent in November; keep an eye on the square and treat accordingly.
Sarrel roll your square to keep surface moisture to a minimum.
Topdress any areas that may have sunk after renovation, such as foot holes, to retain levels following germination.
Have your machinery booked in for an overhaul and service.
Leaf collecting from areas of the outfield needs to be monitored, and aerated to relieve compaction through solid tining or deep slitting.
Diary Compiled by Robert Stretton
Massey Ferguson Sports Club
Regular brushing an sarrel rolling the square; spraying of worm and moss treatments;
One of the difficulties with the spraying chemicals at this time of the year is getting an accurate forecast to know when there is a dry window of opportunity. The last thing you need is to spray a chemical for it to be rendered ineffective by weather patterns. These products are expensive enough to buy in the first place. Check your local weather with the Pitchcare weather link to your area.
pH levels may need monitoring, as November tends to be wet and windy and worm activity increases. Worm treatments can be carried out if needed, but please remember to ask yourself why worms are present. pH levels are usually the main factor but, organic matter and your cultural practices on the square need to be assessed. Carbendazim is now the only active ingredient available for controlling worms.
Mowing frequencies during the winter months are dependent on the need and condition of the ground. It is important to maintain a constant height of cut, on both the square and outfield. The square should be maintained between 12-20mm with the outfield maintained at between 25-35mm.
Aeration of the square is often delayed until November. Aerating when the square is too dry can lead to problems of root break. Ideally, you need moist conditions of around 75 -100mm to enable good penetration with the aid of solid tines. Sarrel roll your square to keep the surface open and moisture to a minimum.
Useful Information for Square maintenance
|Rugby goes cricket mad!||Cricket Square Grass Seed|
Too many clubs tend to neglect their outfields, it is important to undertake some work on the cricket outfields as they are an important part of the game, they need to be firm, flat and free from weeds. Some cricket outfields are often maintained as winter pitches, and the amount of work carried out may be determined by whether the outfield is being used for other sports (football/rugby).
Ideally, on the outfields, aeration should penetrate to a depth around 150 - 200mm to promote deeper rooting. This can be achieved by deep slitting or solid tining. Some groundsmen like to carry out a programme of hollow coring, which again increases porosity and can also help to redistribute/recycle topsoil and which, in turn, helps restore levels. The frequency of aeration activities will often depend on the resources - money, machinery and time - available. In the main, you should be looking to aerate throughout the winter period on a monthly basis, weather and soil conditions permitting.
Some cricket grounds may have a number of mature deciduous trees nearby, which will inevitably lead to some amounts of leaf debris lying on the square and outfield. It is essential to remove leaves from the square. If left to accumulate, these leaves will become wet and which, in turn, will restrict light and air being available to the grass plant, thus putting the grass under stress and resulting in it turning yellow and then decaying. Vacuum, sweep or rake up leaves on a regular basis.
Useful Information for Outfield maintenance
|Louth Cricket Club - doing it for the girls!||Cricket Outfield Grass Seed|
Turf disease can be quite prevalent in November when soil moisture levels increase, coupled with the presence of early morning dews. The combination of moist soils and surface moisture on the leaf blade can increase the susceptibility of disease attack.
Regular brushing in the mornings to remove the dew from the playing surfaces will reduce the likelihood of disease outbreak. Many turf grass diseases can be active at this time of the year - fairy rings, red thread and Fusarium are the most commonly seen.
Worms can also be active this month. Keep an eye out and treat accordingly. 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 may need to be assessed. Carbendazim is now the only active ingredient available for controlling worms.
Useful Information for Pest and Disease
|Red Thread Disease||Professional Fungicides|
Treatments of fertilisers and turf tonics can be continued in accordance with your annual programme. If you haven't got a fertiliser programme, have your soil tested; try an independent soil analysis company for an impartial set of results. Most facility managers will be looking to apply their autumn fertilisers in association with their end of season renovations.
Useful Information for Fertiliser
|Granular fertilisers - the inside story!||Granular Turf Fertilisers|
If you haven't already done so, it is good practice to erect some sort of protective fencing around the square, which not only protects it from pests, (dog walkers, rabbits, deer, foxes), vehicles and vandals, but deters people from trampling all over it disturbing the end of season renovations.
Take the opportunity to inspect machinery and materials in stock, get machinery serviced and repaired.
Finally, If you can afford it!!! Have yourself a well earned holiday;