Lords Update (22/04/02)
With our first Championship game starting on Wednesday, it is very much all hands to the pump, doing our final preparations to the pitch.
As with the start of any new season, we have had the usual problems with machines that have been over wintered and then don't want to work when you pull them out of the shed in the spring.
We are actually preparing three strips at the moment as we have the first of our two Test Matches here on the 16th May, which is an early fixture for such a big game. As well as our one-day season starting as well.
My biggest problem is the amount of Poa that seems to infest itself on the square, I am convinced that the seed comes in the bags with the new seed that we put on the square. As the seeds are so fine I think that it is nearly impossible for that not to happen. However we have this problem to overcome. We are currently doing some selective brushing to get the Poa standing up, and then hand weeding it out.
This involves putting out string lines and working up a half metre band at a time on our hands and knees, literally easing the Poa grasses out with a knife blade.
The new portable strips that we laid in January have been slow to germinate, understandably so, although we have had germination sheets over these areas as well.
We are now doing some over seeding on these trays, but the advent of some better warmer weather will no doubt bring these along quite nicely. The grasses that are establishing on the trays are being tipped off with a cylinder mower, so they are starting to thicken up and the loam is also starting to firm as well. I have raised the cylinder for the height of cut, and as the grass establishes, the height of cut will come down gradually.
These new trays are a learning curve for my staff and I, so we monitor the progress closely. I know that as we develop this system, the days of having a square at Lords will decrease, so eventually there will be one replaceable strip in the centre of the field.