The renovation season should be all but complete, with only a few bare areas showing signs of slow growth. The wet summer though may have put the dampeners on some clubs not being able to afford the Full Monty on their squares, following reduced income from matches lost to the weather.

Nevertheless. it is paramount that you try to get some renovation processes completed such as scarifying, to remove thatch build up through the season and at least an over seeding and light dressing. With all the wet weather, worms will be having a field day, so it is important that you keep an eye on the activity and treat accordingly.

Turf disease can also become quite prevalent at 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 disease attack.

Aeration of the square is vitally important, but often delayed until November, allowing the chance for the square to retain more moisture. Cooler temperatures during November will slow down growth rates around the country, so mowing with a rotary is more beneficial in reducing surface compaction.

Regular brushing in the mornings to remove the dew from the playing surfaces will reduce this risk. Diseases are commonly active at this time of the year such as, fairy rings and red thread, spray with a fungicide if disease is 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 and moss 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

Key Tasks for November
Mowing and Fertiliser
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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. Remember; the outfield too has a major effect on a game if unattended.

The outfield should be treated through the winter the same as any other natural grass surface - aeration, fertilising and mowing should not be neglected.

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 Mowing and Fertiliser

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Aeration of square

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 -100 mm to enable good penetration with the aid of solid tines. Sarrel roll your square to keep surface moisture to a minimum.

Useful Information for Aeration of square

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Outfield Maintenance
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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 penetration should be down 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 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, that, 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

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Pest & Disease
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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 & Disease

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Other Tasks for the Month
  • 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.