March Cricket Diary

By Editor

Most of the tasks detailed can be undertaken within a limited budget. Local conditions and circumstances will need to be taken into account.

If any members are undertaking any specific work not detailed, please let us know by adding a comment in the section below the diary.

March Maintenance Tasks for Cricket

Natural Grass

Task Frequency Reason
Aeration When conditions allow Hand or machine aeration to aid surface drainage, (varying depths of penetration to prevent the development of a soil pan).
Brushing / Sweeping (Square) Daily / Weekly Prior to mowing, the surface should be thoroughly brushed, every time. Continue to brush square daily to remove moisture from the grass surface stopping the spread of disease and facilitating an improved quality of cut on the dry grass.
Diseases including Moss & Algae

(Square and outfield)

Daily / Weekly Keep an eye on fungal disease attack, and use approved fungicides to treat infected areas.
Drainage Weekly Inspect drainage outfalls, channels and ditches. Ensure that they are working.
Fertiliser programme If grass shows signs of stress (weak growth, discoloured) Fertiliser treatment and turf tonic 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. Apply a winter fertiliser when conditions allow.
Frost and snow As required Keep people and equipment off playing surfaces when covered in frost and snow.
Harrowing / raking (outfield) When conditions allow Harrowing / raking helps restore levels and keep surfaces open.
Inspect Cricket structures As required Check and repair fences, scoreboards, covers and sightscreens. Your pitch covers, are they ready for action? any repairs needed? Remember covers are used regularly in the UK climate for protecting the pitch under preparation from both rain and sun.
Litter / debris Daily / Weekly Inspect and remove debris from playing surface! Litter, twigs and leaves.
Machinery

(Repairs & Maintenance)

Daily / Weekly Inspect and clean machinery after use, service and repair damaged machinery, prepare machinery ready for new mowing season.
Marking out Season preparation The square must be "squared off" very soon. By using semi-permanent markings, this operation can be made very simple, use a 3,4,5 triangle to obtain the correct right angles.
Materials Inspection Estimate and order seed, loams and fertilisers for forthcoming season.
Mowing

(Square & outfield)

As required The mowing height on the square should be lowered to around 15-18mm by the end of March, subject to local weather conditions, but remember not to remove more than 1/3 of total grass height in each cut. The less stress that is placed on the grass at this vital time, the better the results further on into the season. The outfield height of cut should also be reduced to around 20-25mm by the end of the month, if not already determined by other sports.
Outfield Remember not to neglect the outfield; it too has a major effect on a game if unattended.

The outfield should be treated the same as any other natural grass pitch, carrying out regular mowing and aeration and feeding programmes to maintain a healthy sward.

Pest control As required Worm treatments can be carried out if needed, but please remember to ask yourself why do you have worms, Ph level, organic matter and your cultural practices on the square need to be assessed.
Rolling Daily / Weekly If rolling hasn't started, then this should be initiated no later than the middle of the month-again subject to local conditions. Roll in as many different directions as possible, but always finish in the direction of play, timing of this operation is vitally important. Start with your lightest mower. If you aren't removing clippings, disengage the blades, reducing friction and unnecessary wear on the machine.

Gradually build up roller weight by moving onto the next size of cylinder mower and so on. Ideal rolling conditions would suggest the soil be in a state of plasticity-or "plasticine". Consolidation is your aim and the quality of pre season rolling will show when you produce your early season pitches. The pitch is required to be consolidated throughout to a depth of no less than 100mm. This can only be achieved with gradual build up of roller weight.

Scarification Fortnightly Light scarification or verticutting can be carried out at fortnightly intervals pre season. Removing horizontally growing grasses and surface organic matter are always beneficial for the onset of pitch preparation; along side brushing, this will also improve the quality of cut.
Seed bare & worn areas on Cricket square When conditions allow Seeding of the ends where the grass is weak, sparse or bare can be continued and the rise in temperature will help germination. Use germination sheets to aid this process but remove the sheets regularly to check for diseases, remember that without good seed to soil contact the operation is useless.

Ensure you use new seed as old material may not give you the required germination rates.

Artificial wicket and net Facilities
Artificial Grass Systems Surface treatments Keep surface clean, regular sweeping and brushing. Remove any algae and moss from surface.

Sand filled systems require regular brushing to maintain manufacturers recommendations for sand levels and pile heights.

Net facilities Pre -season Repair damaged structures and netting, order new if required. Strim and mow around structures.