Well and truly Earthquaked
By Laurence Gale MSc
On a recent outing to take some much needed cricket pictures I came across a local authority maintained cricket ground that was cracking up in more ways than one.
Now into the fifth game of the season the square is looking more like Crewe railway station with the amount of lines showing. Some of the cracks are 3-4mm in places!
The cracking has been accelerated by the recent dry weather conditions, plus the fact that watering facilities at the ground are limited.
The linear aeration lines were running down the length of each pitch, and the whole square had been treated. The cracking was even more pronounced on the more recently prepared wickets where the sward had be mown below 4mm.
There was also some horizontal cracking forming on the sides of the drain lines.
I would certainly question whether this type of aeration technique is suitable for decompacting cricket squares, knowing full well the likely consequences of the shrinking and swelling characteristics of clay soils.
Most groundsmen do aerate their squares, but generally use solid tine spikers like the vertidrain, Groundsman and SISIS machines, and complete the work before Christmas to allow the soil profile to recover and minimise the chance of any cracking in the forthcoming season.
In my opinion these cracks will not only affect the playing characteristics of the pitch but will also accelerate its deterioration and could be considered dangerous.
What are your thoughts?
Has any one else used the Earthquake to aerate their squares?