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Football 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 Football 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

If freezing temperatures at night and the ground is hard throughout the day very little can be done. Aeration is vitally important for turf to grow well, particularly the roots. If there is no mechanised machinery to hand speak to the Battersby Support Team who will advise your best course of action here. Failing this use a hand fork in the areas of concentrated wear and dress with sand afterwards.

If you see starlings or rooks pecking at the turf it is an indication that there are high numbers of Leatherjackets or Chafer larvae. lift an area of turf and identify number and species of larvae. If you need help take a photo and email to sales@sports-grounds.com

Ensure the marking equipment is kept clean and the correct type of white marking paint is used - you can find it here.

February

The importance of aeration cannot be over emphasized as grass roots grow in the spaces between the soil particles. The vertidrain is very helpful when used on football or rugby pitches and will reward you by improving the firmness of the surface. After using a vertidrain or deep slitting equipment it is desirable to dress with sand. This should be of the correct particle size for sports turf, details of which can be obtained from your representative.

If the weather is mild without frost at night apply a dressing of fertiliser to help the turf start to grow as soon as possible. There are certain analyses such as 6-0-12or Delta Sport 6-3-9+0.5%Fewhich are ideal for using any time of the year. Providing the pitch is approximately 100 x 70 metres ten 20kg bags should be sufficient. If the weather allows mow the turf with a machine set at 35-40mm. Keep irrigation systems serviced as winter weather may cause damage.

March

The appearance of the pitch may be affected by dead leaves which have accumulated through the winter. To remove these attach a brush or wire rake to the rear of a mini tractor or mowing machine which should help to collect them. If it was not possible to apply fertiliser in February this should now be done. Because the season has moved on consider using an analysis with a higher nitrogen similar to Delta 12-4-8+0.5Fe. Ten or twelve 20kg bags should be sufficient to give a good result. Always ensure the fertiliser spreader is working correctly to ensure an even spread is achieved. Mowing should be increased in frequency with machine set about 35mm.

April

The season will be drawing to a close and pitches are usually very worn from the use through the winter. Aeration is still important to try and improve the structure of the soil profile. Fertiliser should have been applied by now so the existing turf should be growing well.

To ensure sufficient time has passed before renovation in May any selective weedkillerrequired should be applied now. Ask your representative to identify any weeds so that the product with the correct spectrum is used. Ensure that the pitch is cut at least once every week as frequent cutting improves the density of the turf.

Make sure end of season renovation materials/products have been ordered.

May

The season has now ended so renovation should be started as soon as possible. Begin this procedure by scarifying the pitch to remove organic matter which may have accumulated at the surface. Follow this by deep aeration to improve the profile of the soil. Presuming it is now some time since fertiliser was applied a further dressing should be made prior to drilling in the grass seed. If a drill cannot be obtained the seed may be spread using a fertiliser spreader. However if this procedure is used the surface must be made friable so that the seed can be worked into the soil and not left lying on the surface. Follow this with a dressing of suitable sportsturf sand.

One of the major factors after seeding is ensuring the grass seedlings have sufficient moisture. If the weather is dry it will be necessary to irrigate using a travelling sprinkler or other type of equipment to ensure even coverage.

Usually pre seeding fertilisers have a high phosphate analysis such as 8-12-8but the Delta 8-6-6would also be very suitable. Any mowing which may be necessary should be carried out using a rotary mower set at a height so that it will not stress the young seedlings.

So the list for spring renovations is:

  • Scarifying
  • Spiking
  • Fertilising
  • Seeding
  • Topdressing
June

Continue to mow using a rotary mower to help the new seedlings. June can be very warm so ensure the turf doesn’t become stressed because of lack of moisture through the profile. It is important to ensure not just the surface is moist. Any areas which look like they are not establishing quickly enough should be over-sown. A light topdressing will also be a good idea at this time. Mow regularly. Consider planning for the season ahead by painting goalposts or ordering new posts, flags or equipment. Doing this early will ensure it is received in time for the coming season and not delayed in the rush around August/September.

July

Start to mow the pitch with a cylinder mower set at 35-45 mm, consider applying a summer fertiliser to ensure establishment of the new grass. The Delta Sport 12-4-8+Feis ideal.

Continue irrigating if possible and pay attention to the centre circle and goal mouth areas if water is limited.

Mow regularly to prevent ryegrass flower stalks establishing. Areas which look thin and uneven should be topdressed at a rate of about 1-2kg/m2.

August

The grass seeded in May should now be sufficiently established to mow at 35mm with cylinder mower. Remove the clippings by always having the grass collection box fitted so that there is less chance of organic build up at the surface caused by decaying leaves. This month make the initial lines using a prescribed marking paint.

Remember frequent mowing will improve the density of the turf, once every week is the minimum.

September

It is time to start aeration again, any type will help but deep slitting is helpful to encourage good root growth. Try to remove worm casts before mowing if possible by brushing and if the problem persists apply a soil conditioner such as enhance C. Continue regular mowing at 35mm. Consider applying herbicide to treat weeds if necessary.

A light topdressing may be required in September.

October

October is the month when leaves begin falling from trees, remove any accumulations to ensure the grass is not starved of daylight. Lack of ultra violet light is one of the main reasons for development of fungal disease. Modern ryegrass cultivars are very robust against disease but at this time of the year you should keep diligent watch for any signs.
Apply a suitable fertiliser for the autumn, the 8-6-6 Delta Sportor the 6-3-9from the same range would be ideal.

Raise the height of cut on highly worn areas to improve cover in the long term.

November / December

Try to prevent the surface becoming water logged, the aeration throughout the year should help prevent this occurring. Making holes or slits in the surface in wet weather will help remove water from the surface so the importance of this cannot be over stressed. Divot as often as possible to help keep an even playing surface.

 

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