Hopefully, all football clubs will have successfully renovated their pitches for the start of the new season. It has been a good summer for growing grass in terms of having plenty of moisture about, so there should be plenty of grass cover to start the new season.
Any applied fertiliser products will have stimulated growth and provided some good colour and vigour to help with presentation. Regular mowing either on a daily / 2-3 week frequency will have helped thicken the sward, combined with an accurate initial line mark, will have set up the pitch ready for the first friendly or competitive matches.
It's not too late to apply a selective weed killer if you are having trouble with weeds; although you will need to consider carefully the age of your grass and the weeds that you wish to control, and match this to a product suitable for the task.
Some of you will be on your final pitch preparations now, including setting out and initial marking your pitches. Always best at this stage to double check your measurements before committing to a white line, as this will show up badly if it is out and needs correcting.
Check that your goal sockets are set inline with the base line and are upright. Correct this now to ensure a professional look, particularly with the newly painted goalposts and nets ready to be put into place.
Keep casual play out of goalmouth areas. This can be easily achieved if you have a set of portable goals that can be moved around to different parts of your field or pitch. However, if you only have socket goals then your task may be a little more difficult.
Dragmatting and brushing: Continue the work of brushing to keep the air circulating around the base of the plant, particularly important for removing early morning dew and controlling disease.
Useful Information for Dragmatting and brushing:
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Cutting: Continue cutting regularly, at least on a weekly basis. Most top level stadia groundsmen will be cutting on a daily basis during the summer months. Mowing heights should be kept between 25 -37mm to ensure a good sward density.
It may be helpful, with newly sown grasses, to lightly roll the surface before cutting to ensure that the weakly held grasses in the surface do not get pulled out.
Also, ensure that any cutting equipment used is keenly set to cut without tearing.
Verticutting will help ensure that the sward is kept clean of lateral growth, and also help good circulation of air around the base of the plant.
Spiking: Continue spiking when the conditions are right (this should only be carried out if the soil is suitably moist) to augment your deep spiking carried out to alleviate built up compaction. Keep your spiking regime flexible, alternating between surface spiking, deep spiking and slitting.
Useful Information for Aeration
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Marking out:- Ensure your line marking equipment is fit for purpose and has been cleaned ready for the first marking duties of the season. Take your time over this. Rushed lines invariably wander and create a poor impression, lowering the overall standard and vision of an otherwise perfect surface. An accurate line makes such a difference.
Use string lines to help produce straight lines, mix or buy ready mixed paint , do not use weedkillers in your mix; killing the grass you want to mark is not the best practice; you need the grass plant to grow and remain healthy.
Also make sure you have enough line marking material to hand and enough to get you through your season. Inspect your marker and ensure that it is in good working order for when you need it.
Useful Information for Marking out
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Irrigation:- There will be times during the playing season when you will need to water your pitch. However, many higher level clubs (professional clubs) are now using their automated watering systems to increase ball speed, these tactics should only be used if the drainage capacity of the pitch can cope with the amount of water being applied.
In general, most clubs only ever water their pitch as a last resort. Ideally, you should be replacing the amount of water lost by evaportranspration; on a hot day you could be losing anything between 3-6mm; this will need replacing.
Watering can be a costly business giving rise to some heavier than normal bills, so you may need to think about how you can use your water wisely. Invest in good equipment and make sure you do not waste any water via leaks etc.
Feeding:- A supplemental feed may be required to top up the nutrients as determined by your planned nutrient programme. A granular 9:7:7 is a typical spring and summer NPK ratio used on sports fields, however there are some greater choices /ranges of fertiliser product available in the pitchcare shop
Games will start to come in now, if you haven't already got them. It will be a good time to look through them, picking up on any major or important fixtures that will require something special. In which case, you can start thinking about any special treatments or work that will be required in the lead up, and pen an advance reminder in your diary.
Useful Information for Watering , Feeding and Fixtures
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Check goalposts conform to FA approved standards.
Continue to maintain mowers and equipment, ensure they are cleaned and serviced on a regular basis.
Keep a diary of the work you carry out.