Fighting Black Layer
Following on from the 'drill-n-fill' work that we had done in June, we are continuing our struggle to control the black layer problem we have under the surface of the pitch here at Maine Road.
When we took a profile out of the ground in June it showed us severe layering in places, and a thick layer of anaerobic bacteria-that awful bad egg smell! This is a never ending battle for us in some areas of the pitch where there is shade and problems with the drainage.
As we haven't a game now for three weeks, we will keep off the pitch with the heavier cylinder mowers for the next two weeks, instead using the small rotary mower if we did need to tip the grass. The vertidraining was done on Sunday and today to give the pitch a good chance to get the air under the surface, and to help to take the rain away that we are now getting.
Today, as the vertidraining was halfway across the pitch the heavens opened which meant that the rain water was filtering through the holes on one half but starting to hold on the surface of the un-worked half. The decision was made to carry on as the worst part of the pitch had been spiked already and if we weren't to finish it and with worse weather to come, the rest of the operation may have to wait for a few days.
The picture showsthe vertidrain bringing up water to the surface, this water was then dispersed down the holes made by the machine. Had we not vertidrained in advance of the latest rainfall, the pitch would have become saturated and we would not be able
On a lighter note, whilst this was all going on, we have endured three earth tremors today, the largest measuring 3.5 on the Richter Scale-maybe this helped to shake the water into the drains as well!!!
With the aeration done, we will keep off the pitch now unless it is absolutely necessary. At the end of the week there are eight bags of 'Activate' to go on-this will help with the root growth and also help to hold the nutrients a bit better in our sandy profile. Following this application we will also apply a granular feed. Both of these products will be applied with a pedestrian spreader to make sure the vertidrain holes stay open for as long as possible.
Our next game is on 9th November against our close friends from the other side of town and is to be shown live on Sky. Hopefully the fertiliser will have kicked in by then, giving the pitch a nice flush of colour. There are a further two games in November before another well earned break up until the 23rd December. During this break in fixtures, we will probably repeat the above process although we will change the depth of the vertidrain down to eight inches to avoid panning the profile.