Come late September, once the last ball has been bowled, thoughts of Cricket disappear long into the winter nights. Not for groundsmen though. Looking after a pitch is an all year-round task and even in the depths of Winter, you’ll want to be looking after your ground. There are certain, yet small tasks that you can do to ensure your pitch, come Spring is in good nick.
Maintenance can really vary depending on the severity of the winter, and particularly how cold it is. Look out for any signs of disease by performing inspections of the table. Red Thread and Fusarium are two to be particularly wary of.
If no signs of disease are present and the grass plant is not frozen, brush the pitch in the morning to knock dew off the leaf blade. Methods of doing this include physically brushing it or if there’s two of you, pull a rope across the surface. This helps to reduce the risk of disease that thrives in damp conditions.
In warmer weather, watch out for worms. Worms can help aeration and remove some organic matter – but any agronomic benefits are overshadowed by the problems of casting on the surface. In the cricket pitch, casts can get rolled in causing bare patches and unevenness, so spraying to control worms is vital.
During the late autumn, grass growth slows. However, it will continue to grow, so regular mowing is vital to keep the grass sward to a constant height approximately 2cm. This may mean as little as mowing once a month.
You’ll also want to have a schedule of regular monthly spiking, taking you through to January. Use vertical action machines that can spike to a depth of at least 10cm. Don’t forget to fertilise as it’s good practice to do so after spiking. Speaking of fertilising, around the turn of the year, another application of fertiliser is very much recommended.
Later in the season, over seeding the pitch with a dimple roller before the main rolling takes place can help alleviate the issues.
These are just the basics to ensuring your cricket pitch is ready for the Spring, but we always recommend having professional care and advice all year round. To discuss how JMW Turfcare can assist your natural cricket pitch maintenance programme, call us on 07972 258 640 or contact us here.