November Cricket Diary

By Laurence Gale MSc

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Most groundstaff will have, or should have, completed their end of season renovations. Air and soil temperatures are dropping and the likelihood of establishing a good germination of seed on repair areas is diminishing. Some areas of the country have experienced periods of wet weather which in turn has delayed some of the autumn renovations, it's essential that any outstanding works are completed as soon as possible before the colder wet weather sets in.

It is good practice to erect some sort of protective fencing around the square, which not only protects it from animals but deters people from trampling all over it and disturbing the end of season renovations.

It is also essential to keep leaf debris off the square. If left to accumulate these leaves will become a wet mass of debris that in turn will restrict light and air being available to the grass plant, thus putting the grass under stress resulting in the grass turning yellow and then decaying. Sweep/rake up leaves on a regular basis.

Most of the tasks detailed below 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 at the bottom of the diary.

November Maintenance Tasks for Cricket

Natural Grass

Task

Frequency

Reason

Aeration

As required

Use of a sarrell roller can be used to keep the square aerated.

The outfield can be aerated using solid or slit tines when conditions allow. See article on aeration

Coversedgebaston-test-covers.jpg

Not required

All covers and Portable covers to be inspected for damage/wear and tear. Organise appropriate repairs or replacement.

Covers and sheets can be stored away now the playing season is finished.

Diseases (square and outfield)

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Daily/Weekly

Turf disease can become 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 off 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, and red thread are the most commonly seen.

Drainage

Weekly

Inspect drainage outfalls, channels and ditches. Ensure that they are working.

Germination sheets
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As required

Germination sheets will aid seed germination and seedling establishment. Cover renovated square, but check daily for disease.

Fertiliser programme

If grass shows signs of stress (weak growth, discoloured)

Air and soil temperatures are dropping reducing the respiration rate of the grass plant. The grass plant is now entering its dormant stage. Applying fertilisers during November and through the winter months is not a viable option. The plant cannot and will not be able to make good use of the fertilisers. Any growth produced by the plant may be susceptible to disease attack.

Fencing off the cricket square

At the end of the playing season

Many Groundsmen fence off the cricket square at the end of the season to protect it from pests (football players, rabbits, deer, foxes), vehicles and vandals.

Harrowing/raking (outfield)

When conditions allow

Harrowing/raking helps restore levels and keep surfaces open.

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As required

Check and repair fences, scoreboards, covers and sightscreens. All structures can be stored away for the winter after use.

Litter/debris

Daily/Weekly

November is a period when the leaves begin to fall from the trees. Inspect and remove debris from the playing surface - litter, twigs and leaves.

Machinery (Repairs & Maintenance)

Daily/Weekly

Ongoing inspection and cleaning of machinery after use. November is an ideal time to send any machinery away for repairs or servicing.

Materials

As required

Keep a good supply of materials such as loam and seed at hand for repairs and maintenance.

Mowing

As required

Mowing frequencies during the winter months are dependant on the need and condition of the facility. It is important to maintain a constant height of cut on both the square and outfield. The outfield should now be maintained at between 25-35mm. The square should be maintained between 12-20mm.

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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 (aeration and mowing).

Some cricket outfields are often maintained as winter pitches, however the amount of work carried out may be determined by whether the outfield is being used for other sports (football/rugby).


Pest control

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As required

Worm activity can be quite prevalent in November, keep an eye the square 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 need to be assessed.

Carbendazim is now the only active ingredient available for controlling worms.

Rigby Taylor's Mascot Systemic (Maff 08776.contains 500g per litre carbendazim). 1 litre will cover 2,500m2.

Soil tests

Ideally once or twice a year, or as required.

Soil sampling is an important part of grounds maintenance. 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 it's particle make up, enabling you to match up with appropriate top dressing 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.

Artificial wicket and net Facilities

Artificial Grass Systems

Surface treatments

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

Net facilities

post -season

Repair damaged structures and netting, order new if required. Strim and mow around structures.

All net and practice structures can be repaired and stored away for the winter.