Keith Boyce looks forward
By David Markham
Keith stresses the need to make thorough and careful preparations to ensure that pitches are in good condition for next season.
He said: "Now we are into the second half of the season we should have been able to take notice of how our pitches are playing and work out our autumn programme to put these points right, ready for next year.
If our wickets are being criticised for lack of bounce or for whatever reason or, if as a Groundsman you are not sure of what to do, you should seek help.
There is help available. There are senior Groundsmen not too far away from you who will come to see you to discuss problems.
You must understand your squares problems and now is the time to work out a programme. It is no use waiting until next season. This Autumn is the time to deal with it.
Be honest with yourself and be ready to do whatever is necessary. Sometimes you need to be a little ruthless.
We want to establish the right grasses on the square. The grass needs heat and moisture to grow. If it is deprived of one of these components it won't grow. The ground is at its warmest in September time, as it has had the summer to warm up. So we need to get the seeds in as soon as the season is finished.
Make sure you have the right type of loam. Make sure also that when you apply new loam you work it into the surface and not just lay it on top of the square-this avoids any separation.
If you prepare your plans now, you will be able to work out how much loam you want and get it delivered on time. If you book it early you will get it delivered on the day you want to use it, not when the supplier can fit you in.
It is the same with machinery you might require to do your post-season work. Book it now and don't wait until the end of the season. The same applies to extra manpower you might need. Now is the time to get organised.
This is an exciting time of the year. This is the time to take the first steps towards pitch preparation.
Also, make sure that the cover of grass is exactly what you want before the worst of the winter sets in. Work some aeration in to your schedule. Use solid tines and make some holes before the winter comes upon us.
If your square is vulnerable to moss give it a precautionary spray. If the square is vulnerable to disease spray with fungicide. Don't wait for the disease to come, spray it with a preventative chemical.
Take care of the square through the winter months. Maintain the grass at about one inch to one and a half inches high through the winter. If you haven't done that work correctly you can't do the spring rolling because the grass will be too sparse."