DCMS and ECB say that essential work on Sports Grounds can continue
Some good news...... The ECB have announced via the Government Department for Culture, Media and Sport that essential work on sports ground can continue providing the social distancing policy can be adhered to. This obviously comes as a huge relief to clubs and groundsmen that our squares and grounds will not take on a meadow appearance once we get through this pandemic.
Cricket Groundcare Tips and PDF Download for Health Guidelines
With no cricket season expected until at best late June early July, the main objective for us all who work on grounds is to now keep the plant as healthy as possible using as little means as possible and indeed limiting our time on the ground to avoid repeated daily trips. It would be advisable to attempt to get the essential jobs done in one visit spending a maximum in isolation of 6 hours, of course the normal lone working procedures still need to be followed such as regular communication via phone or message to ensure other people know all is well.
The moisture in the square is beginning to dry quite quickly at present so we would suggest a short period of rolling to help with consolidating the surface, to sessions of rolling in 4 directions and ensuring you finish on the line of play should quickly firm up the square and help to provide a safe surface for when we do resume. Do not over roll as this will dry the profile to much and we do not want to have to apply water at this point. There were no significant hard frosts or snow this winter so therefore the structure of the squares have suffered little heave other than swelling from rain therefore we are confident you will find this amount of rolling suffice in these difficult times.
Try to keep the grass plant as vertical as possible with brushing or verti cutting, this will enable good air flow around the plant and promote steady strong growth. Keep the square cut at a height between 14 – 16mm, this will prevent the plant from stressing to much and help to promote good root depth, this will aid a strong root structure and help to hold moisture in the soil profile. Unless necessary due to very poor health of the plant I would advise against any high nitrogen feed at present, this will encourage fast growth which will not be cut as regularly as required. If the plant is of a yellowing nature, then consider a feed with a maximum nitrogen percentage of 6% until we can access our squares daily and remove the excess growth. If you have bare areas from the winter wash out, take advantage of this isolation period and make a loam and seed mix and apply to these areas.
Outfields will need to be kept to a manageable height to avoid large amounts of clippings deposited onto the fields which will encourage pests and disease, if you have your own machinery to cut the outfield, we would recommended to maintain them at approximately 18mm were possible. If growth has become excessive do not try to reduce to this height in one session, gradually lower the height to avoid against clippings of a mass nature which will be difficult to disperse.
In general, do what we normally would be doing but in a more condensed time scale, use your skills of working to no budget and do not promote any excessive grass growth or indeed stress. Keep safe, and if this is ever compromised then leave matters alone until we can return in a safer environment.
Thanks to Martin Deans (Lincolnshire CGA) and Hedley Stroud (Bourne CC)
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