June Rugby Union Diary
By Laurence Gale MSc
For most clubs end of season renovation works are well underway, together 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. In general most of these are completed by competent sports turf contractors, who are geared up for these operations, particularly with the development of the big roll turf systems and Koro fraise mowers.
The extent and nature of the works to be undertaken will be dependant on a number of factors:-
Type of pitch profile system, sand, soil, Desso or Fibre sand constructed pitch
Level of wear
Time for completion
Ideally the minimum level of renovation should involve the following operations:-
Aerating using a vertidrain
Overseeding sowing at a rate of 20-25g/m2
Brushing in materials
Fertlising Pre-seeding or spring/summer, applying at a rate of 25g/m2
The cost of these operations will be dependant on a few factors, number of pitches to be completed, types of materials used and haulage and delivery of machinery and materials. The rough cost for the above works is between £4-5,000 based on industry contractors rates for a single pitch area (7000m2).
Once the seed has germinated it is important to keep it watered. Irrigation is essential, many grounds are beginning to show signs of stress resulting from the lack of rain we have had in recent months. We are already seeing hose pipe bans in some parts of the country.
Try not to waste your water resources, keep an eye out for leaks, check the sprinklers are working properly. It is best to water during the evening to prevent excessive water loss from evaporation.
Mowing should be continued throughout the summer period, mainaining a cutting height of around 30-40mm to encourage the grass to tiller. Grooming and verticutting are operations that remove unwanted side 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.
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 groundstaff 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 dependant on factors such as soil type and weather, with moisture and air temperature being the catalyst for growth.
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.
Keep and eye on fungal disease attack, and use approved fungicides to treat infected areas.