The July cricket diary.

By Jon Buddington

Continue to record details of pitch performance as this will prove priceless during end of season renovation in September. Clues to conditions found then will come to light after reading notes.

Pitch repair will still be your priority during this month. A level, safe square is your aim. Make good any foot marks and scuffs and firm up with loam, re seed and irrigate. The important key is to get good loam/seed contact to provide germination.

Continue to verticut prior to cutting at a height around 15mm.

Remember nitrogen drastically improves wear tolerance of rye grass, so regular controlled feeding will be a huge benefit to the life and regeneration of the square. If you have a break in fixtures, its an ideal time to irrigate the whole square and boost germination of worn areas which may not otherwise receive attention.

Good housekeeping is boosted by a reduction in worn ends and therefore more play. There's revenue to be made by having the ability to host a few extra games! Remember though to have a spare pitch available during preparation work for emergencies.

The outfield will benefit from grooming by brushing or raking prior to the cut at about 18mm/20mm. Repair the bowlers run ups with a loam and seed mix, irrigate prior to germination, I'd prefer the use of loam in the run up, as it's more stable.

Outfield aeration of the surface on a weekly basis is ideal to promote drainage from rain fall to the roots and provide a key for feeding programmes. Summer aeration will also encourage root growth, enabling the plants to survive far better in periods of dry hot weather.

Finally, while the games are coming thick and fast, sit down and start to check prices of loam, seed and fertiliser for delivery early September. Orders will need to be issued soon, so you don't get put at the back of the suppliers list.