Renovationtime at St Mary`s
By Dave Roberts
At the end of the season we had the pitch renovated by Barr - they got on at the end of May. The construction depth was increased by 4" to improve the drainage rates.
At the moment we`ve got about 200mm of rootzone. Testing has proved that with 300mm of rootzone the drainage would be what we want, however the company have had difficulty getting a match for the rootzone, so that work isn`t going to be done until next summer.
The renovation work was fairly standard - koro`d with a fraize mow. Because it was so new the pitch was more uneven than before and highlighted a few more hollows than we thought. It left a lot of green streaks going across the pitch and removed the high spots completely. They took off about 40 tonnes of material. Overall it did a good job.
They followed that with a scarifier, because of the drainage rates issue. There was a concern that there might be organic material build up at the surface, so they cleaned to about 6mm deep, then hollow-cored the top 2" at close centres, again just to remove organic material.
Then they top dressed with 110 tonnes of double washed sand, followed by seeding and fertilising.
I have to say that establishment has been fairly slow. The fertilisers are kicking in quite nicely now and it is beginning to fill out, but there are still areas, about 20% in total, where it is still thin and weak. It is improving.
The overseeding took almost 4 bags. Last week we vertidrained to the full depth of construction and then hollow cored. We dragged the cores back in because of the heavy sand dressing to try to create a bit of a layer on the surface, which could actually give me problems as the season goes on.
We`ve been feeding every 3 or 4 weeks, initially with a granular pre-seeder 6:9:6, then a liquid 18:3:6, and recently a 14:4:14 granular fertiliser which has kicked in quite nicely.
I am awaiting the results of a soil analysis before deciding what we use next. We suspect the micro nutrients may be deficient, especially magnesium and potassium, which is what you would expect on sand,
The weather hasn`t been much help this year. It`s been a poor summer, nowhere near as much sun as you would expect - I1ve not had my shirt off at all this year!
The only disease we`ve had. was a bit of leaf spot. I sprayed it out with Rigby Taylor`s chlorothalonil.
So all being well, we`ll have everything ready in time for our first match - a preseason friendly 10th August, then we start in earnest the following week with Middlesbrough at home.