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Cricket Pitch Preparation - 12 Month Calendar

Ensuring your ground is in excellent condition all-year round is hugely important as it not only makes things easier come the point of pre-season preparations or end of season renovations, but over time it will ensure you ground is able to withstand the ups and downs of the UK climate with ease.

Due to the seasonality involved with many sports, our main playing facilities can often be over looked and only tended to 6-7 months of the year.

Our calendar guide is designed to make it easier for you to maintain your ground all year-round.*

You can also download our 12 Month Cricket Pitch Guide here.

*Our guide is a recommendation only. Application or mis-use of products is the individuals responsibility. Battersby take no responsibility for actions taken as a result of using this guide. If in doubt, consult Battersby prior to application.

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January

Root growth is very important for all sports turf especially on cricket squares.
The roots will help to keep the surface intact in the summer when wickets are cut closer.
To achieve root depth on cricket wickets it is essential to have a regular mechanical aeration programme.
Products such as Mascot Activate “R” will help root development. However, without vertical spaces made, the turf will suffer due to the loam used and compactionc aused by rolling the wickets.
In frost free conditions try to carry out deep aeration using large slitting tines. If a club does not possess this equipment it may be hired.
Battersby partner with reliable contractors and will be able to help you get the correct solution for your ground.

 

February

Continue to aerate; depending on the venue location some nutrition may be applied in February. This should have a ratio of 1-1-2 such as 5-5-10 + Fe. Any worm activity, which sometimes begins this month, can be controlled by the use of applying soil conditioners such as Enhance C.

If there is growth due to mild weather, mow the turf with a machine set at approximately 8-12mm.
Ensure the cylinder is correctly set on the sole plate to ensure a clean cut. This is a good month to use root development products, particularly after aeration.
Start rolling with a light machine unless the wickets are very wet.
If work on the outfield was not possible in January it is now advisable to address the issue.
If possible control any moss using either liquid or granular products containing iron. In both cases some nitrogen should also be incorporated.

 

March

Try and remove any dead leaf tissue that has accumulated through the winter. Do this without significant disturbance to the surface by using a stiff brush or a machine set about 1-2mm above the turf. The weight of the machine should take the verticutting blades into the surface of the turf without the risk of too much drying out should the weather become dry. Gradually reduce height of cut from 8-12mm to 6mm. Continue to aerate the wickets which are yet to be played on.

Towards the end of March apply a spring fertilizer with a ratio of 3-1-2 similar to Mascot Fine Turf 12-0-9.
If equipment is available use a liquid fertilizer on the square as there are many advantages.

If the weather is suitably dry it may be a good opportunity to apply some cricket loam.
This should be the same as the loam used for the previous autumn renovation.
Continue rolling gradually moving to a heavier piece of equipment.

 
April

Most leagues begin during the latter stages of this month. Having gradually reduced the height of cut on the square from 8-12 mm to 6mm consider reducing it further to 5mm. This will help the turf suffer less shock when preparing a wicket for a match.

The reinstatement of a wicket after a match is vitally important work. If it is to be used again soon afterwards repair the ends using your chosen loam and use a trulute or similar piece of equipment to ensure a level surface.

When a wicket is not to be used again for a while, ensure the whole area is aerated with round solid tines. The wicket ends should be worked on using a sorrel roller. This will make thousands of small holes enabling seed such as SQUARE RENO and loam to be worked into the surface rather then being on top of the existing loam. It is important that whenever loam is used every effort is made to incorporate this into the profile rather than applying a layer on the surface.
Root development on cricket wickets is always difficult, to assist this consider using Mascot Activate ‘R’. This is available in both liquidand granularform.

 

May

In all areas of Britain the grass should now be growing well. It may be help to apply further nutrition in the form of a liquid fertilizer.
A suitable analysis for late spring and summer is 17-2-5 Mascot Microflow– to an area such as a cricket square this can be applied using a knapsack sprayer. Always ensure there is no residue from previous use, particularly if pesticide has been applied.

The amount and weight of roller used will depend on the weather suitability. Remember grass roots grow in the spaces between the soil particles.
If the profile is so compacted by rolling that roots cannot develop wickets will become fragile at the surface.

The start and finish of rolling lines should always be in the direction of play.

Reduce thatch by scarifying the square, which, in turn, should lead to improved bounce and pace.

 

June

The season is now in full swing and there are long hours of daylight. This is helpful for seed germination so try to repair the wicket ends after each match. The amount of disturbance allowed will depend on how soon the next match is to be played. However, in all cases ensure the grass seed used has a good loose surface in which to establish. Grass seed will germinate on compacted surfaces providing there is sufficient moisture.

Use a liquid fertilizer such as Mascot Microflowto rejuvenate a wicket after use; liquids have the advantage of not requiring much irrigation to make them available to the grass. In hot weather use Amino Formto reduce stress on the turf.

 

July

Very similar to June, always ensure when repairing wicket ends that you obtain a level surface.

The use of wetting agents on the outfield to prevent Dry Patch may be continuing throughout the summer months.

Regular applications will help moisture reach the soil where the roots reside, helping to ensure an even turf quality.

Aim to mow the square twice a week and the outfield once a week, but this will depend on local conditions. The outfield should be cut at around 10-12mm.

 

August

If the square is small, wickets may be becoming very worn. Pitches may be being used for the third or fourth time in the season.

Repairing of wicket ends earlier in the season will now help you.

When the second half of the month arrives keep a watch for fungal disease, particularly if ground covers have been used.

When possible remove dew from the surface of the turf – this is also helpful in reducing disease attacks.

Make sure all materials/products are ordered in time for renovation work taking place at the end of the season.

 

September

The end of the season is here and this is a hugely important month.

Use of the roller throughout the season will have created compaction of the soil.
This must be rectified if the existing turf and new seedlings are to establish good roots.

Firstly, scarify the whole square to remove any thatch that has developed at the surface.
The next operation is to aerate so that the wicket dressing can be keyed to the existing profile.

When these operations are complete apply autumn fertilizer with a ratio of 2-1-4 or similar. Mascot OC2is ideal, the analysis being 5-2-10.

Keep out a watchful eye for disease and treat before it becomes established.

After applying cricket loam, brush or mat this into the holes made when aerating. Not all of this will go into the holes so ensure no areas are left with loam lying in thick patches.

 

October

Try to continue to remove morning dew, using a drag brush or switching rod - even boundary ropes can be used.
As the daylight reduces the risk of disease increases, always have a spare application of fungicide as an insurance. Red thread and fusarium are the most common at this time of year, though many more may be seen.
October can be a month when worms are active. Apply a soil conditioner such as ENHANCE Cwhich may also help with worm control. Continue mowing but raise the height of cut to 8-12mm, this will help the young seedlings to establish.

The square may be fenced off to prevent unnecessary damage.

 

November / December

Very similar to October. Do not allow the turf to grow too long if mild weather continues. Continue cutting at 8-12mm and remove dew whenever possible.

Avoid working on the square if there is frost. An application of Mascot Turf Hardneris good practice providing there are frost-free conditions.

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If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact us here.