June Football Diary

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By Laurence Gale

June is a busy time for most football facilities with the end of season renovation works well underway, coupled with the ongoing summer maintenance regimes of grass cutting, grooming, brushing, aerating, feeding and watering. Particular attention should be made to your irrigation regimes ensuring that all newly sown turf and seeded areas are watered to ensure uniform germination and growth.

Any major resurfacing or drainage works are usually programmed to coincide with end of season renovations works.

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.

June tasks for Football

Task

Frequency

Reason

Aeration

When conditions allow

Hand or machine aeration to aid surface drainage, at varying depths of penetration to prevent the development of a soil pan.

Brushing/

sweeping

Daily/weekly

To remove dew and remove surface debris. Using a brush or a SISIS quadraplay will restore levels and produce striping or banding aesthetics.

Disease

Daily/weekly

Keep and 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.

End of season Renovation As required All bare areas are cultivated, levelled, top dressed and over seeded. Other works may include aeration which need to coincide with applications of top dressing materials, fertilisers and seed. See article on spring renovation
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.

Most grounds staff will be applying a summer N P K fertiliser, perhaps something like a 12/0/9 to maintain grass colour and vigour. A slow release fertiliser could be applied to see you through June and July. The choice of materials and how well they work will depend on factors such as soil type and weather, with moisture and air temperature being the catalyst for growth.

Grooming/

verticutting

As required Grooming and verticutting are operations that remove unwanted side grass growth and reduce the amount of debris in the sward. These operations are carried out on a regular basis often weekly or fortnightly. These operations are completed in conjunction with your mowing regimes.

Harrowing/ raking

When conditions allow

Helps to restore levels and keep surfaces open.

Irrigation

As required

Irrigation will be a priority, especially when maintaining newly sown seed or turf. It is important that these areas do not dry out and die.

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It is important to irrigate uniformly and ensuring the right amount of water is applied. Ensure that the water gets deep into the root-zone to encourage deep rooting. Allowing areas to dry out can lead to dry patch, a condition that prevents water infiltration into the soil, thus forming areas of non-uniform turf quality. Further information about Irrigation of sports surfaces can be see on link. Irrigation

Litter / debris

Daily/Weekly

Inspect and remove debris from playing surface, litter, twigs and leaves.

Machinery (Repairs and maintenance)

Daily/Weekly

Inspect and clean machinery after use; service and repair damaged machinery.

Mowing

As required

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Seed bare & worn areas When conditions allow Seeding of sparse or bare areas can be carried out, the rise in temperatures 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.

Soil tests Ideally once or twice a year, or as required. Soil sampling is an important part of groundmanship. 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.