Posted in Maintenance on Monday, December 13th, 2010 at 5:03 pm No Comments

Bowling greens

The end of season renovation will be completed this month. Little outdoor bowls will take place after early October, so complete the work as soon as possible thereafter. Greens that are renovated late may benefit from the turfing of thin areas, although choose a sample which blends in with the existing sward.

Watch out for Fusarium, especially if topdressing has been applied. Consider a preventative fungicide application if the green contains a high amount of annual meadow grass. Ditches should be cleared of their fill material then cleaned and washed down. Decommission the irrigation where applicable before the winter frosts set in.

  • Repairs to banks can be carried out after any work on the green has been completed.

Tennis courts

Remove fallen leaves from adjacent trees to avoid them smothering the sward. Lightly top the grass to keep it well trimmed. Switch or lightly drag brush the court surface to remove dew and reduce the potential for disease attack. Keep an eye open for disease attack, especially if mild and humid conditions occur.

  • Keep off the court wherever possible to allow good, initial grass establishment. De-commission the irrigation system where applicable.
  • With the easing up of maintenance work, now is a good time to consider attending training courses over autumn/winter or to enrol on courses that lead to recognised qualifications.

Cricket square

If renovation hasn’t been completed by now, ensure it is finished as soon as possible. Germination sheets on the ends can aid any late germination and initial establishment of seed – but watch out for disease attack. Drag brush on a regular basis, especially if dew is present. Earthworm activity can be very high this month, so drag brush when dry. Chemical control may also be required.

  • Keep the square topped at a suitable height of cut – no more than 25 mm – as this will maintain a suitable sward density and prevent the sward from thinning out if it is let to grow too long.
  • Fence off the square to maintain its integrity. This will reduce the chance of damage caused by winter sports or animals straying onto the square, as well as hopefully keeping walkers away from the square.

Cricket outfield

  • Repair areas of wear as required. Be vigilant for pest/disease attacks; the use of a drag brush or similar will help reduce the chance of attacks. Fungicide/pesticide application may be required.
  • Mow as required, but this should be much less frequent.
  • If the outfield is to be used for winter sports, be vigilant for damage and wear areas; repair as soon as possible – remember this will be an outfield the following spring.
  • Aerate throughout this month to maintain surface drainage and root development.


The pitch shouldn’t be showing many signs of wear if it has been managed with the long-term season in mind. If not, then some soil-based pitches may be exhibiting significant signs of wear in goalmouths and centre circles. An application of sand, combined with hand forking, can help maintain a dry surface during the month.

  • Earthworm casting may be a problem, so brush or chain harrow when conditions are dry.
  • Raising the height of cut slightly, say up to an extra 10 mm, on high wear areas can help to maintain an improved level of ground cover for a longer period of time.
  • Divot the pitch as required. Try not to neglect this operation, which will be essential on pitches maintained to a high standard. Higher standard pitches will also need to be brushed to maintain an upright grass and to produce a pitch which is well presented.
  • Service irrigation systems on high sand specification pitches, as these will be needed for use during the winter.

Golf course

The renovation of the greens, and ideally the tees, should be completed by now. Fairway renovation, particularly divoting, will most likely still be ongoing. This is usually a good month for the deep spiking of fairways, as the ground is typically neither too dry nor wet for adequate tine penetration and soil shattering.

  • Slit tining of greens should not be neglected just because the greens will have been renovated fairly recently.

Trees will be shedding their leaves by now, so clear greens, tees and fairways as required to prevent leaves smothering the turf. Unfortunately this can be quite a monotonous and apparently pointless exercise until all the leaves are off the branches, but it is essential that leaves are removed on a regular basis if good playing surfaces are to be maintained.

  • De-commission the irrigation system as required.

Rugby Union

  • The frequency of cut for the pitch will be reducing considerably as grass growth slows due to the colder weather and shorter daylight. Consider drag brushing to produce a striping effect in between cuts.
  • De-commission any irrigation system to prevent damage from hard frosts.
  • Continue to aerate where ground and soil conditions permit.
  • With the easing of maintenance work, now is a good time to consider attending training courses during autumn/winter period or to enrol on courses that lead to recognised qualifications.

Horse racecourse

  • The course should be prepared in anticipation for the start of the National Hunt season. Courses used just for flat racing will be rested over the autumn and winter period. The whole course should be mown and tidied, with extra effort being put into the presentation for the first meeting, especially if it is televised.
  • De-commission the irrigation system.
  • Certain parts of the course might be prone to leaf coverage from adjacent wooded areas. Regular raking of fallen leaves will avoid the turf from being smothered. Consider using the leaves within a soil compost heap, which will eventually be used for topdressing.
  • Set up and prepare fences and jumps prior to the start of the season.
  • With the growing season essentially coming to a close, or at least a serious slow down, now is a good time to consider attending training courses over autumn/winter or to enrol on courses that lead to recognised qualifications or to maintain continuous professional development.
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