Pitch Perfect - Blog Five!
Happy New Year to all the Groundsman across Kent!
After a small winter break me and my team are straight back into work maintaining our pitches here at K Sports.
Despite temperatures forecasted to drop over the next couple of weeks we still have good growth & a consistent grass coverage across most of our pitches. We are cutting a minimum of once a week whilst ensuring we offer the surface as much protection as possible by continuing to cut at 30mm.
Since returning in the New Year we have concentrated heavily on cutting, divot repairs & feeding in preparation for the return of Ebbsfleet United & all of our K Sports youth teams.
Carrying out divot repairs can be very time consuming when working your way across 6 pitches particularly if the damage is excessive. We don’t spend as much time as I would like carrying out divot repairs due to our busy schedule but it’s vital we ensure the pitches are safe and playable for all age groups.
Our feeding programme varies depending on the time of year where we switch between liquid and granular feeds. This works very well for us and excluding any extreme weather conditions our pitches remain healthy whilst maintaining good colour throughout the year. In our most recent fertilising application we applied 10 bags per senior pitch using Rigby Taylor’s Delta 6-3-9 granular feed. We feed in two directions to help ensure the granular is evenly distributed and consistent across all our grass pitches.
Pictures below are before and after our granular 6-3-9 fertilising application:
As written in previous blogs we are also booked in for our second Verti-drain of the winter later this month. Our contractor will come on site for the day and ensure all our senior pitches are aerated with a minimum of 10-inch depth. Verti draining will reduce compaction and aid stronger root growth which is particularly important during the winter months. If you are unable to Verti-drain, slitting can also be effective.
Pictured below is our contractor carrying out our Verti-draining with a minimum 10-inch depth:
Moving on to one of my most important tasks of every year is to ensure that all our machinery is in good safe working order for me and my staff to use. Throughout the year our machines work extremely hard cutting every day particularly during the growing season. Despite our in-house maintenance its vitally important machinery is well maintained and serviced by a machine maintenance specialist at least once a year. Our cylinder mowers will have bearings replaced and the cutters will be regrind whilst our rotary mowers will also have a full service. Regular greasing, cleaning and correct adjustments will help to ensure your machinery is performing at its maximum helping to achieve the best results possible. Cylinder mowers in particular should be adjusted correctly at all times to avoid damaging the machine.
Lastly we move onto renovations for 2019. Like many of you I have a budget to work with here at K Sports and its essential that we use our money in the best way possible. Renovation programmes are often dependant on finances and some groundsman face more restrictions than others. Contractors will be extremely busy come the end of the season so if you haven’t already booked your renovation I would advise getting it in the diary as soon as possible. Programmes do vary & can be negotiated to suit your budget & requirements to give you value for money. Medium course top dressing for the average pitch can vary from 60-80 tonnes or even less if restrictions are in place. Our pitches here at K Sports receive excessive usage all Year round so we must get our renovation programme right to ensure the pitches can handle the workload.
Pictures below are from our in-house renovation works last Year which show extremely positive results. Despite being carried out later than I would like and working within a tight budget the grass coverage improved significantly in a short window.
As we turn towards the end of the season we will have our full renovation programme agreed and in place ready for works to be carried out mid to late May.
Best of luck for the month ahead.