Image above ,managed to get a heavy roller on for 1 session in the whole of march .
Well just a brief review of March,wet,cold the beast from the East and his mate and more then the wet stuff.
Pre season rolling usually starts in early March this year by the end of the month we had barely rolled and the rolling we had done was with our Dennis (36″) ,we where cutting out wickets ,before we even had the heavier roller near the squares can’t remember a year when that has happened before.
a lot of rooting in the top inch of the grass but little top growth but guess soil temperatures were down and roots grow in lower temperatures than top growth .
Not sure what the records show but for me cant remember such a wet period from the new year to March.
We do have the luxury of sheets and domes ,unsure whether a luxury at times but sadly due to water table being so high a sloping ground sitting on heavy clay our efforts where in vain ,so had to give up trying to keep early season wicket dry.
image below 10ft,18,10,domes and 4 run ups but water still found a way under ,though pitch under domes at the top of the square.
Usually preparation of wickets in late march are 20 days but looking ahead forecast wise our preparation time could end up 7/10 days and that will probably not be enough so the first game on the 17th is looking unlikely unless we get a charge in weather .
while so wet ,finished off the last of our ordering inc fertilisers ,seed,hosing and got the machine servicing and purchasing completed.As a club we also take part in cricket force and took advantage of the jewsons credit account where you pay in £50 and get £150 added to your account,this will be used to purchase teak oil,scoreboard paint and some hand tools so highly recommended this scheme for clubs next year.
March saw the groundsman day at Hove finally go ahead with subjects such as feeding ,rolling and squareing up the corners of ther squares,22 people were expected on a cold and snow forecast day but we where delighted to see over 30 groundsman attend which was very encouraging.
Bacon rolls ,networking and a few jokes from Brian Fletcher made the day a very fruitful experience and talks will go ahead at the next committee meeting to discuss the next training events for the Summer.
lets hope for not too many April showers this Month and some good grass growth and drying winds/sun to get some of that moisture removed from a very high water table.
Pre season rolling part two and pitch preparation will continue ,slowly reducing the height of cut allowing the grass leaf a bit of length to release some of that ground water ,which only the grass roots can pull up.Difficult to give attual heights and weather dependent but wicket cut to 10 mm ,slowly reduced right down to 5/6mm a couple of days before the game feels about right .
The squares will get stressed with all the pre season rolling so feeding is important with a suitable spring fertiliser to help thicken and strengthen the grass after creating stresss conditions with rolling.
Our feeding plan is based on soil analysis carried out in January,this analysis identified we need to add more applications of potassium to our North squares and more Phosphorus to our South.Months when the grass is less active is the best time of carry out analysis so by that thinking March/April is the last chance to get this done please see link below
If squares are growing well then we will be verticutting the squares to encourage a upright grass cover with no crowns and this will also remove dead grass build up that occurs naturallly as the grass grows ,we also using a cartridge brush which will also clean up the surface of leaf litter and debris and help keep the grass upright after rolling .
verticutting is working with top of grass,not impacting the soil,image below of a verticutting unit.
Other jobs to consider in April
-continue pre season rolling and pitch preparation.
-complete squaring up squares if not done last month .
-ensure of suppliers of seed,fertiliser ,white paint is in prior to needing it
– moss treatment with either iron sulphur or a fertiliser containing iron,then possible a verticutting a week or so after to remove some of the dead moss ,allowing grass to grow through.
-overseeding any bare ends /outfield goal mouth etc with a 100% rye grass seed with 3 cultivars,ensuring you create a tilts which will ensure good seed/soil contact which is kept to germination,pos application of a pre seed fertiliser and germination sheets (🕊)off.
-general grass cutting around site including outfield ,get on it as early as possible before it shoots off ,slowly bringing the height of cut down to around 12-15mm.Bringing the hoc down gradually (weather perm)will reduce stress on the machines and prevent breakdown and will stress the plant less.
-strongly recommended additional training we are all learning just at different points ,mini clinics coming up with the association and there is the Institute of Groundsman who represent us all ,have a look at there training course below.
The below image is 7 days before the top image of Tom rolling ,showing how quickly things can change on the grounds alway room to be positive .
Hope you all have a wonderful Easter ,bring on some sun ☀️