Welcome this month has been so dry ,not a normal October from what l remember mus be below the average for rain fall and for those of limited irrigation l am guessing some squares are a bit patchier than in previous years .
I am hoping the below guidance will both reassure you of what you can do about it and hopefully prepare you for what to do for the coming weeks.
Aftercare of new seed
Overseed bare areas /ends
Sure most of you have new seed up with others a little more patchy or behind ,it’s been such a dry autumn so far but keep the faith if it’s warm and growing .seed will germinate in any temperature over 5c so it’s certainly worth doing start by making some holes where it is bare and get some seed down ,brush in and keep it moist.
We are now cutting once a week at 20mm and watering as required to keep the plant and seed growing .
I really do focus on cutting and feeding at this time of year our aim should be to get establish as much grass cover as possible prior to the plant slowing down in the depth of winter.
If it’s growing cut it,ever cut will encourage a thing called tillering(plant thickening)so a cut once a week or every two weeks will reap Benefits come spring.
Feeding is also another priority job for Autumn a application of a low nitrogen feed with around 3-8% of nitrogen will encourage growth help keep a strong plant and aid prevention of disease (namely red thread)
Something like a (4-12-12) 4-(nitrogen)12(phosphorus)12 (potassium)would be ideal ideally you want 2/3 times of phosphorus than nitrogen this will get the roots going on the new seed.
Once all the seed is up and established you can move onto a fertiliser with a bit of iron in its this will keep the moss at bay and keep the grass strong in the colder months.
Yes l said watering ,as l write this we have had very little rain we have been watering every couple of days just enough to keep the seed/soil moist.
I know for those who are just part time /volunteers with low water pressure this isn’t so easy but just needs to be considered as most squares l ve seen are on the drier side (even ours).
So if you believe there’s a need and the dry spell continues it’s worth considering to keep the seed and grass active.
Casting Worms –
Worms are great for the soil but once casts appear on the surface sadly for a cricket grounds its a issues .
Worms will bring up native soils and dilute down your cricket loams and will also decompact the top inch of the soil and create small bare patches ideal for weeds and non desirable grass ,so worm control on a cricket square is a must .
There are several products on the market still available so any questions message me and l ll give you some guidance on what to use and when if you struggle to find this info.
In cricket we can have issues such as a layered profile if we haven’t scarified thoroughly enough or can also be caused by incorporating incompatible loams or rolling in wrong conditions.
Spiking will allow air into the soil and carbon dioxide out this in turn will contribute toward a healthier plant .
Spike holes will keep the surface more free draining and provide a downward route for root growth ,making for a stronger and more drought proof plant .
We have a spiker on site so from mid November to late January (no later than)we try and get 1/3 spikes in at alternate depths .
Our aim is to spike to ameliorate our old and our new Loam this will help prevent any layering between loams.
I also note on clay soils there often a good root depths but a lack of density of root growth so creating air space in the soil can only be a good thing in getting roots down and increased in density.
Does spiking decompact-
A few opinions out there but generally if done in cricket with a vertical punch aerator (no heave )probably not.
Are we worried ,no our aim season wise is compaction ,if we were a football pitch or golf green this would not be the case but we are all about compaction and shouldn’t over focus on decompaction works ,we allow nature to take care of that via frosts and softening via rain.
Why bother then ?
Saying that a spiking with a vertical punch aerator can work magic for root break /layers aiding roots down and helping to pins these layers together and as l said above creating spaces for roots and air can only be a good things,not to mention plant health.
I am fully aware most clubs don’t have access to a spiker but here’s the good news the association of cricket grounds does and for a fraction of the price of hiring one we can supply one for your usage .
If you can l highly recommend it but only with the right machine (vertical punch type )in the right conditions ,soil should be moist but not wet.
Hopefully l have given a brief guide to the above subjects and answered more questions than l have created ,any questions though please leave comments below.
Sussex Association of Cricket Groundsman will be having our Annual general meeting on the 29th of November (tbc)at Hove ,details to follow but we are fortunate to have the new Head Groundsman at Lords speaking ,there will be a free raffle for a bag of grass seed (thanks Brian fletcher)will be on offer so could be a really good evening.
Let’s hope for some rain 🌧 and continued warmth prior to the set in of Winter.