The FA Pitch Improvement Programme (PIP) will deliver improvements to more than 200 grass pitches across Kent over the next three years.
Kent FA is committed to improving pitches and supporting ground staff across Kent.
With this in mind we are delighted to introduce a monthly blog aimed to provide an insight into the world of Groundsmanship while providing tips and advice to help pitches across the County flourish.
The blog is written by multi award winner and K Sports Head Groundsman, Scott Byers.
In his first blog Scott provides an overview and tips as football pitches experience drought conditions this summer.
Hello to all the Groundsmen around Kent.
I am Scott Byers Head Groundsman at K Sports Cobdown.
I am writing to you following a fantastic trip to the home of football St Georges Park, where I had the opportunity to speak to many different groundsmen, ranging from volunteers with extremely limited resources to full time professional groundsman from world famous football stadiums.
We covered a variety of topics at the event, but the main topic was the recent drought conditions across the country & how this has impacted our playing surfaces. In my first blog I will be sharing my experiences here at K Sports.
Below is a picture of one of our senior football pitches.
Also pictured is the same pitch 6 weeks on after the drought conditions we have experienced.
Like most of you, I know first-hand how disappointing and frustrating it is when all your hard work throughout the year suffers due to the recent conditions.
Here at K Sports my team and I have 6 grass pitches including 3 senior, 2 junior and 1 9v9 pitch. This isn’t including our croquet or bowls lawns, sand dressed hockey pitch and 3G.
Managing resources here can be challenging with the high work load on my team and I, choosing which pitches to water and when has been challenging in the recent conditions.
Currently here at K Sports we don’t have the luxury of an automated irrigation system installed and like many other local clubs during these difficult conditions we have limited irrigation.
I do try to use our resources to the best of our advantage, watering in the evening or early mornings during cooler temperatures is much more beneficial.
Our main tips for other clubs experiencing drought conditions are:
- Reduce cutting & increase the height of cut to prevent the pitch from further stress
- Do not attempt to apply any fertilisers or pesticides during drought conditions to avoid further stress to the pitch
- If limited irrigation is available, try to make good use of it by watering in the evening or early morning in cooler temperatures (This will allow the water to get deeper into the soil)
- Work with professional organisations who can offer you both technical and practical advice
Fortunately for us our recovery process has already begun after the long over due heavy rainfall in the last few weeks. Light cutting, feeding & over seeding is all in process as we approach another busy football season.
Looking into Autumn/Winter verti draining is a very important task which should be carried out to help avoid compaction, this provides healthier and deeper root growth which will help during these difficult conditions and aid an improved drought tolerance next summer.
Good luck to you all for season ahead.
If you have any questions for Scott or you would like your pitch to be part of the FA Pitch Improvement Programme please email Football Development Manager, Lee.Suter@kentfa.com.