Dealing with a Play Area After Flooding
After flooding cricket square work
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Staying off the ground for as long as possible to let the ground dry sufficiently is the main advice that I can give. There is always the temptation to carry out work as soon as possible especially with pressure from above but more harm than good can be done in the long run from working when the ground conditions aren’t right.
Walk the square and litter pick any debris left behind from the flood before getting any machinery onto the square. Every ground is different and the grass coverage on the square will determine what is done next. A square with a good covering of grass may just need a very light brush with a mechanical brush when the leaf is dry set up to just touch the grass. This will help to remove some of the silt that may have been left behind by the flood. Top the square with a rotary mower. This will stand the grass up and help to remove any debris that may have been missed in the litter pick or by the brush. An application of autumn winter fertiliser with a content of iron to help harden the grass plant ready for the spring rolling regime can be applied.
A square that is thin on grass coverage will require a different maintenance programme. From experience I would recommend a complete over seed with a 100% perennial rye grass mix if the budget allows. Sown at the same rate as your end of season renovations. Cover the square with an economy germination sheet to help speed up germination. These can usually be bought in 4m x 250m, 8.5m x 250m or 12.75m x 250m rolls.
Spring rolling will have to put on hold but from experience I would rather have a good coverage of grass to work with as the season goes on rather than a compacted square lacking in grass. The depth of water that you have had on your square may have given you your pre-season rolling any way. At times we have had over 6ft of water on the main square.
After flooding - cricket outfield work
The outfield will require walking to remove any debris left by the flood. It’s essential this is carried out so that machinery isn’t damaged. Work on the outfield again will depend on the state it’s been left in and the standard of cricket to be played. At Worcester we try to let the field dry for as long as possible and tow six old metal bread trays that were constructed together by the previous head groundsman. This helps to break up any silt on the leaf but also collects any debris in the trays.
These will get emptied several times during the process of matting the whole outfield. Small areas may require an over seed by hand carried out with a rake or a sorrel roll to make a seed bed or the whole outfield with a mechanical seeder depending on the damage after a flood and the budget available. At Worcestershire CCC we use a seed mix of perennial ryegrass, strong creeping red fescue, slender creeping red fescue and chewing fescue.
Remember every ground is different and you will all be working with different resources and budgets.