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Beat the heat: Essential summer maintenance tips

Beat the heat: Essential summer maintenance tips

Bowling greens 

  • Verti-cut when conditions allow to help control annual meadow grass seed head production. Try not to cause stress, which will reduce the ability to withstand wear. 

  • Maintain a suitable height and cut frequency. Be prepared to raise the height in dry weather and watch for strong winds on coastal areas. 
  • Continue to drag brush or switch to remove morning dew if required. Monitor disease pressures during changes in weather and treat accordingly. 
  • Light surface aeration should not be neglected – ensure moisture levels are sufficient to facilitate this operation. 
  • Irrigation will be fundamental in maintaining good grass plant health. Be careful not to over water, though – and avoid watering during the hottest part of the day. 
  • Rotate rinks and sides regularly to accommodate levels of use, ensuring wear is spread as evenly as possible over the green – make repairs as required. 
  • Monitor nutrient levels and apply fertiliser accordingly, but plan this with weather and schedule of play. 

Cricket squares 

  • Continue using the verti-cutter, rake or brush to maintain a clean upright sward. Be mindful of pitches drying out too quickly during prep works, and flash or utilise covers as required. 
  • Apply a balanced fertiliser in line with growth, weather conditions, fixture demand and repair schedule. Pitches to be brought back into play can be treated independently to the square. 
  • Following play, carry out repairs to foot holes. 
  • Maintain cut height across the square as conditions allow – focus on cut quality and height of cut to match growth and weather conditions. 
  • Monitor the recovery of pitches – re-use of early tracks will be possible if they have recovered adequately. 
  • Ensure rolling is only carried out in line with best practice and when conditions allow. Make sure moisture levels are sufficient to facilitate consolidation. 
  • Time spent rolling and frequency of roll are important to monitor and adjust. This will need to be adapted throughout the season. 
  • Ahead of turning attention to planning renovations at the end of the season, ends can be lightly forked over to produce a fine seed bed, dressed and a suitable grass seed applied – cover and keep moist. 

Cricket outfields

  • Check for weeds and consider control methods if required. Only apply herbicide when growth is active and ground/ climatic conditions are favourable. 
  • Spot overseeding may be required to promote increased coverage in isolated areas.
  • Repair any worn or damaged areas as soon as possible. Irrigation may be required on run-ups to promote and allow good germination, establishment and recovery. 
  • Continue to cut in line with requirements of play and needs of the surface, reducing frequency and raising the height where possible during extended dry and hot spells. 

Football pitches 

  • Any thin areas will require a light topdressing and spot overseed. Keep moist and cover if possible to retain moisture to promote germination and establishment of these areas. 
  • Try to keep people off the spot-renovated areas and allow establishment prior to cutting. 
  • Continue mowing regularly to thicken the sward when weather conditions allow, being mindful not to stress the grass during extended dry and hot spells. 
  • A light fertiliser application may be considered to encourage growth if the weather conditions allow. This should only be provided if soil moisture is adequate and the grass is still maintaining growth. 
  • Utilise irrigation, where possible, to keep moisture levels up and encourage good growth and continued establishment. 
  • Herbicide application may be required – decide if spot treatment or full pitch application is necessary. 

Horse racecourses 

  • Increase irrigation as required, ensuring even application to produce a suitable firmness of ground for the day of a race meeting. Be mindful to minimise water wastage. 
  • Continue to divot and repair after each meeting, ensuring they are made in good time to ensure maximum time for recovery and establishment. 
  • Weed control may be required – decide if spot treatment or full course application is necessary. 
  • A liquid feed may be considered for the home straight, show paddock and ornamental lawns to raise the aesthetic for larger meetings. 
  • Continue grass cutting in line with growth and weather. Reduce frequency and raise the height of cut during prolonged dry spells or hot weather. 
  • A fertiliser application may be given to all or part of the course, dependent on grass plant needs, and is recommended following a nutrient analysis. 

Rugby league pitches 

  • A fertiliser application may be required to promote sustained growth – a liquid or granular product may be used, but a balanced controlled-release alternative is a longer-lasting option. 
  • Irrigate as required and where possible to promote wear recovery and grass plant health. 
  • Light verti-cutting or grooming may be required to help control the Poa and keep the sward clean. 
  • Overseeding may be carried out if coverage isn’t ideal – lightly dress to increase seed soil contact and irrigate sufficiently to promote establishment. 
  • Continue cutting if conditions allow, although suspend and revert to drag brushing if conditions are not suitable – this will help stand the grass up and clean the sward. 

Rugby union pitches 

  • Alter cut height and frequency in line with weather and ground conditions to continue promoting plant health and thickening of the sward. In suitable conditions, cut frequently but not too closely while establishing the pitch. 
  • Irrigate as often as required, at preferable times during the day and in suitable conditions. 
  • Apply fertiliser if a top-up of nutrients is required and growing conditions are suitable. 
  • Brush/rake to help stand the grass up and eliminate morning dew in changing conditions. 
  • Monitor and make repairs where required if cover didn’t establish sufficiently. Walk over and make good any remaining divots, scuffs or scrum damage. 

Tennis courts 

  • Continue to roll if there is a suitable amount of moisture within the soil profile and avoid if there has been a prolonged dry spell, as there’s a good chance the soil surface will crack and crumble. If rainfall has been regular, then rolling will need to continue through the early season to help firm the surface. 
  • Check nets and winding gears are in good condition throughout the playing season. Monitor or carry out repairs. 
  • Verti-cut and groom regularly. Take care around renovated areas, with the blades likely to be raised over these areas. 
  • Ensure irrigation is carried out evenly and at a time of the day that minimises water wastage. Check that all equipment is functioning, including blocked or damaged sprinkler heads. 
  • Monitor nutrient levels, and apply fertiliser in line with usage demands and ground and weather conditions. 
  • If there are multiple tennis courts on site, try to retire some early where use demands can be consolidated and renovate them prior to September. 

For more seasonal maintenance tips, you can visit The GMA Hub at SALTEX 2024 this October at the NEC, Birmingham.