tennis courtWith your end of season renovations successfully completed you will hopefully be going into the winter period with some new growth on the courts. Your main priorities will be to protect this growth and keep the surface clean and open.

Many grounds will by now be reaching field capacity, a condition that relates to the amount of water in the soil profile. After the recent heavy spells of rain, many grass courts will now be softened up enough to facilitate some deeper aeration. The moist conditions allow easier penetration of tines without causing too much disruption to the surface profile.

It's essential you keep the surface open and free draining, aerating the playing surface with a sarel roller or some solid tines will be beneficial. However, only use machinery on the surface if you can operate without causing any smearing or damage. See article on Aeration.

The winter months are ideal for getting any odd jobs or repairs completed. Repairing and painting structures around the club, fences, signs and furniture. It's also a good time to send your machinery away for repairs and servicing. Soil and air temperatures are now dropping, early morning frosts are appearing on grass surfaces, it's important not to walk across frozen ground, as this will lead to turf damage. tennis fence

Depending on ground conditions, some clubs may be able to complete drainage or reconstruction works during the winter months, existing drainage systems can be overhauled and cleaned out, or additional drainage systems may be added.

Keep up the regular, daily brushing of the courts to keep them free of early morning dews and to prevent any debris accumulating on the grass surfaces. Reducing the humidity levels around the grass plant, will help prevent the likelihood of turfgrass diseases becoming prevalent.

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.

December Maintenance Tasks for Tennis

Natural Grass Tennis Courts





As required

Keep the surface open by the use of aerators, a sarel roller is often used to prick small holes in the surface down to a depth of 45mm.

Other solid tine aerators can reach greater depths. Spiking between 100-200mm is beneficial to encourage deeper rooting and gaseous exchanges in the soil profile.



Inspect drainage outfalls, channels and ditches. Ensure that they are working. Renew or repair any damaged or problematic drainage systems.



Keep an eye on fungal disease attack, and use approved fungicides to treat infected areas. The recent mild and wet weather will certainly have provided the ideal climatic conditions for diseases.

Regular brushing or switching off the dew in the mornings will reduce the chance of fungal attack.

Inspect tennis structures

As required

Label and store away all tennis furniture (posts, nets, seating and notice/score boards). Replace with new equipment if required.



Inspect and remove debris from playing surface litter or any wind blown tree debris, litter, twigs and leaves.

Leaf debris can be a problem during the winter months. It is important to sweep and clear the leaves off the courts as an accumulation of wet leaves will damage the grass surface.

Machinery, repairs & maintenance


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



Maintain material stocks and order any other consumables required.


As required

The mowing height on the courts should be raised and maintained at a winter height of between 12-18mm.

Mowing frequency will be dependant on a number of factors, grass growth, sward type, level or standard of facility, resources (staff & machinery)but, generally, it may only need mowing on a fortnightly/monthly basis to keep tidy during these cold, dark months.

Pest control

As required

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 need to be assessed. Carbendazim is the only permitted / approved active ingredient available left to control worms. Comply to all safety data sheets when using this pesticide product.

Soil tests

Ideally once or twice a year, or as required.

Soil sampling is an important part of Groundsmanship. 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.

Artificial Tennis Courts

Artificial grass systems


Keep surface clean with regular sweeping and brushing. Remove any algae and moss from surface. Sand filled systems require regular brushing to maintain manufacturer's recommendations on sand levels and pile heights.

American Fast Dry courts

Before/after games

fast-dry-courts-DSC_0052.jpgKeep surface clean, rolling to consolidate surface, levelling and brushing of fast dry materials, brushing to clean lines.

Clay courtsapril-diary-tennisEuroclayc.jpg


Keep surface clean, regular sweeping and brushing to restore playing levels using SISIS Trulute or similar equipment. Top dress any hollows or damaged areas. Repaint lines.



Keep surfaces clean, regular sweeping and brushing. Repair any hollows or damaged areas. Repaint lines.