For a pitch like this, get started with your Spring clean

Now’s the time to give your playing surface a good Spring clean 

In the same way the needs of your garden change through the seasons, so do the needs of your sports pitches. As Spring is now here, it’s time to start thinking about what needs to be done to maintain your pitches and ensure they are ready for the forthcoming summer period.

This is the first blog in our Spring series, aimed at helping you understand more about what needs to be done. Below we will provide an overview, with subsequent blogs going into more detail on aeration, overseeding, top dressing and the pests you can encounter. 

Getting off to the right start 

Spring is the perfect time to start the preparation of your pitch for the upcoming playing season. Initially, you’ll want to focus on cutting the grass to the optimal playing length. For most sports and pitches at around this time of the year, this is around 25-30mm. This length provides: 

  • Optimal playability: Any shorter and it can make the pitch feel hard and fast, potentially leading to an increased risk of injury for the players. Similarly, too long and the grass will slow the ball down impacting the flow of the game and the players’ ability to move around freely. 
  • Surface stability: While it won’t fully protect against divots, it will help to reduce them along with creating better traction and a more even footing.  
  • Aesthetic appeal: Regardless of what people say, when it comes to a football, rugby, cricket, or any other type of pitch, looks do matter. This length will help to keep a visual appeal to your pitch, creating a professional-looking playing surface pleasing for both players and spectators.  

Once the grass has been cut you can move on to scarification. This is a crucial part of the maintenance process as it allows for the removal of thatch, moss and organic debris from the surface of the soil. Any debris left on the surface will naturally impact the playability of the pitch and should be collected and removed. 

Top dressing, spreading a thin layer of sand or root zone (a combination of soil and sand) over the grass, along with a combination of aeration in the form of Verti draining, is another important step in Spring Renovation. Aeration has several benefits including allowing more air to the grass root and reducing compactions. Compaction can lead to poor growth and waterlogged pitches in the winter. 

To continue to build on your Spring renovation activities, it is important to over seed the pitch areas together with the use of a good quality spring fertiliser.  

The grass seed should be applied using a disc seeder which places the grass seed directly into the soil, not simply dropped onto the surface. The grass seed should be specific to the sport you are wanting to play. There are hundreds of varieties available on the market, so it is worth spending a little more of your budget to make sure you realise the quality of the surface you want in the future. 

Fertiliser is another important benefit to spring renovations. Testing your soil and understanding its nutrient values & PH values is a key consideration in selecting the best fertiliser for your pitches. Also, when applying your chosen fertiliser, consider the weather forecast and apply when the conditions are suitable.

Constant maintenance is key

With all the hard work done, it’s important to maintain regular mowing to ensure the grass is kept at the optimal height for performance. Dont forget to check the integrity of your irrigation and drainage arrangement to avoid water logging issues. It is also important to monitor for small pests, like leatherjackets on the pitch and other potential natural problems like harmful fungi, to ensure the safety of your players. 

A year-round investment 

A good pitch requires a commitment to well-planned, year-round maintenance. Here at Kestrel, we develop long-term partnerships with our clients to ensure we understand, and can anticipate, the needs of their pitches and playing surfaces. We are more than happy to visit you and have a conversation about the specific needs of your playing surfaces. To find out more about our services, get in touch. 

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