September Rugby Diary

By Laurence Gale MSc

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With the season just starting presentation skills will be at the forefront of most groundstaff's minds, setting the maintenance standards for the coming season. Presentation and cleanliness is an important part of the job, ensuring the playing pitch is level, safe and appealing for play.

It is important to ensure your line markings conform to current RFU laws and conditions these can be found in the RFU handbooks that are usually issued to the club's secretary.

Grass should be maintained at between 35-100mm, it important to maintain a dense/thick sward to provide a cushion and to protect players from possible injury.

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.

September tasks for Rugby

Task

Frequency

Reason

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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 and provide adequate air space for roots to colonise. Depth of aeration between 100-225mm

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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.

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Disease

Daily/weekly

Keep and eye on fungal disease attack, and use approved fungicides to treat infected areas. Fairy rings and Red Thread can often be widespread during September. Regular brushing to remove dew will help reduce disease attack, coupled with keeping the grass plant fed with appropriate required nutrients.

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Divoting

After matches and training

Repairs and replacing divots after matches is an important part of the maintenance programme to restore playing surfaces

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Posts

Weekly

Inspect posts and sockets to check they are safe and secure.

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Harrowing/ raking

When conditions allow

Helps to restore levels and keep surfaces open. Ideally carry out after matches.

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Irrigation

As required

September can often be a dry month so irrigation will be a priority, especially when surfaces begin to dry out.

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.

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Marking out

As required

Use approved marking compounds / materials and ensure all line markings comply with RFU rules and regulations.

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Machinery (Repairs and maintenance)

Daily/Weekly

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

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Mowing

As required




Remember to check the height of cut; at this time of year, the pitch can be cut at a height between 35-100mm. Continue to mow the on a regular basis, ideally weekly while grass is still growing.

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Pre and Post match inspections and renovations renovations.

As required

  • Replace divots

  • Repair worn areas,Top dress to restore levels (localised)

  • Inspecting pitch surface and line markings

  • Checking post safety and fit post protection covers for matches.

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Seed bare & worn areas

When conditions allow

Seeding of sparse or bare areas can be carried out. 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.

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Weeds

As required

It's now getting late into the season for applying selective herbicides; soil and air temperatures are not ideal for effective responses from these herbicide products. Hand weeding will be the most effective method of weed control during the winter months.