Time to reflect at Chapel Allerton
By Anthony Asquith
We are now looking back on an extremely busy summer schedule which comprised the Yorkshire championships, the club open championships and Yorkshire veterans, plus Chapel Allerton is used as a training base for Yorkshire based players who are competing in Wimbledon, Nottingham and Eastbourne tournaments.
Additionally, the courts are open from May-September for roughly about 11-12 hours per day. The courts are now showing the expected wear and tear and are looking very tired and sorry for themselves. We`ve been planning the renovations for some time now and we were looking forward to getting on with them.
At the time of writing we've now renovated 5 courts, with 2 to go. We only take courts out when we are ready to work on them, this way members can play for as long as possible. We removed all the equipment i.e. nets and posts, and cut as low as possible, without over-stressing the plant, to remove the excess foliage. We then irrigated thoroughly the day before we started operations. We scarified, both along the line of play and at diagonals; we wouldn't want to scarify across the line of play as this could cause a "cubed" effect and the courts could de-stabalise.
Once the debris was removed we overseeded with a pure ryegrass mixture, Bargold, at double the recommended rate to achieve a good take without sowing too heavily as damping off disease could be a problem. We overseeded both along and across court to gain as even a coverage as possible. This was followed by topdressing with around forty bags per court of GSB Kettering loam. Because we haven't any problems or hollow cored, all we needed was a light coverage of loam just level out any minor irregularities and to give the seed something to hold onto.
We`ve been using this finer loam with great effect, it has been much easier to work with over the last couple of years, so we are very happy with it.
It's been very dry of late and we've got be carefull not to let the seed dry out, thus the irrigation system is ready and waiting. We apply our pre-seeder fertilizer at the 3-4 leaf stage, once the plant is up, as there is adequate nutrient in the topdressing and I don't want to trigger disease by over-feeding.
I will commence my aeration programme around November time when there is sufficient moisture in the soil profile to take a tine. I aerate around once every 2-3 week to a depth of 100mm, however I will stop in January as I don't want the courts to open up once the dry weather comes.
Apart from that, switching will be the order of the day to remove moisture off the leaf as this could cause a pathogenic attack. And, of course, cutting will be as and when possible.