Pre-season cricket pitch maintenance
27th April 2017
In the latest edition of his Groundsman column for The Cricketer Magazine, David Bates offers cricket pitch maintenance advice at an exciting time for the cricket groundsman…
By now, the club’s supporting equipment should all be ready for action – mowers serviced and returned with their and blades sharpened; all covers out with repairs taken care of and the sight screens back up. Many will have enjoyed being involved in the NatWest CricketForce weekend, seeing vibrant volunteers help bring club back to life after winter months and cementing team spirit ahead of the playing season.
With all this taken care of, it’s time to turn attention to the pitch itself. Now’s the time to think about the first cuts to bring the sward from winter height down to ½ inch or 12mm. This should be done in stages, cutting no more than 1/3 length at a time so as not to put the grass plant under stress.
Now is also a good time to check surface levels, look for any bare areas and carry out a health check on the grass plant. A soil analysis will test pH and nutrient levels so that any fertilizer application can be tailored specifically. Worms will no doubt be a hot topic at this time of year, and hopefully you will have already applied a worm suppressant containing Carbendazim. If worm cast are present, reseeding the affected area using a dimple seeder will provide good results but an alternative is to overseed by hand or using a cyclone spreader with the seed then rolled into the surface.
That said, you should hang fire on any rolling until the surface is becoming firmer and there are good drying conditions – rolling in overcast or damp conditions will have absolutely no benefit to the sward or profile otherwise. This should get your cricket pitch maintenance programme off to a good start.