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General Cricket => Cricket Admin, Facilities and Fundraising => The Groundsman => Topic started by: RSpall on May 31, 2015, 10:15:26 PM

Title: Square maintenance
Post by: RSpall on May 31, 2015, 10:15:26 PM
Everyone at my club are volunteers when it comes to helping out on the square but we have two men that coordinate and do the bulk of the work.

There are few different opinions floating round about how to do certain things. First how do people maximise the growth of grass at the ends? How much rolling should a strip get before a game? How often should a strip get watered? Finally what's the order of work during the week prior to a game on the Saturday?

All your suggestions would be greatly appreciated and will help towards hopefully improving our square.
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: calcurtis98 on May 31, 2015, 10:16:48 PM
I think pictures of your square would help give people an idea with what advice to give.
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: RSpall on May 31, 2015, 10:37:50 PM
Ok I'll get some this week and send on. The photos would only be for the ends. I would also like general advise for the best weekly preparation for a game and what steps people take. How much they water/roll etc.
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: pacman75cricket on June 01, 2015, 05:43:34 AM
If interested get yourself on an IOG course, foundation courses are a great place to start.  Also have look at www.pitchcare.com (http://www.pitchcare.com) have monthly diary of works including pitch prep. 

Re watering this will depend as what you want to achieve is moisture to depth in order that when you roll have maximum impact.  loam in plasticine like condition. Please read cranfield report on rolling.

My pitch prep is usually 10-14 days prior to match,  thin pitch using combination of rake attachment and brush attachment on lawnman each pass with lawnman followed by wicket mower set at about 10mm until right amount of grass on pitch.  Then irrigate if required if so will put sprinkler on overnight.  Allow upto 24 hours before commencing rolling approx 30 mins at a time ideally 2 times a day until consolidation achieved (rest/drying phase in. Between important) 2 days before match cut to match height(3-5mm) brushing before several times followed by mower each time. Day before mark pitch and cut or cut on day of match again brush before cutting so grass stands upright.

Re pitch ends presume they have been seeded need soil seed contact not just left on surface once seed germinated needs to be kept moist can sheet to help but don't leave on for too long.

Hope that helps .

Paul
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: RPC/Blueroom Cricket - Adie on June 01, 2015, 07:08:07 AM
Pre germinate your grass seeds, then spread these on the ends and/or wickets post games. Saves time and you get more seed growth in a green house than on a wicket
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: uknsaunders on June 01, 2015, 09:05:58 AM
First how do people maximise the growth of grass at the ends? How much rolling should a strip get before a game? How often should a strip get watered? Finally what's the order of work during the week prior to a game on the Saturday?

All your suggestions would be greatly appreciated and will help towards hopefully improving our square.

1. Germination Sheet does a good job
2. Couple of hours max, normally during the week or when the wicket is soft enough to press your thumb in and leave a mark. Most of the rolling should be pre-season. Rolling a hard wicket is pointless, that's why groundsman don't tend to roll it on match days - it should already be hard by then. Alot of them use to park the roller up by the wicket on a match day just to impress the captains!
3. Watering is a tricky one as it could depend on the soil content, water table, weather conditions. I don't think any one rule applies but once you have finished with a strip a good soak is required (unless it's already raining).
4. My old man who was a groundsman - cut and roll it on a tuesday for a couple of hours and then maybe cut it once or twice more before the weekend. I think most of his time was spent filling in footholes! Another groundsman use to cut the wicket 3 times in the week before the match, the idea being to bleach the grass and reduce the grass coverage - in turn drying the soil underneath quicker. If you have a rake/broom attachment then it's a good idea to do it prior to cutting to get as much moss/weed out of the deck as possible and make the grass stand up for cutting.
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: RSpall on June 01, 2015, 06:20:08 PM
My pitch prep is usually 10-14 days prior to match

What would you start doing up to 10 days in advance and could you explain your routine in brief.

@ProCricketer1982 how would you pre germinate the grass seed? This has been mentioned to me before, and I was told to mix the loam and grass seed in a bucket with holes in and water it through until the water comes out the bottom and then stop. Can it still start to germinate even if its in the middle of a deep bucket or would it have to be put in a try so it has a better chance of germinating?
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: pacman75cricket on June 01, 2015, 06:38:37 PM
Can be done shorter but in ideal world 10-14 days as will give you leeway with weather etc. See wicket prep https://www.pitchcare.com/magazine/diary/cricket/june (https://www.pitchcare.com/magazine/diary/cricket/june)

I look after a square which was minor county standard and although volunteer try to do maximum that paid groundsman would do. Which means lunch is spent on ground.

As injured this weeks prep will be less than 7 days.   Pitch thinned out today with rain forecast hopefully rolling for the next few days before brush and cut and mark out pitch.
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: RSpall on June 01, 2015, 06:57:30 PM
Do you use germination sheets? If so how long do they stay on for? Is it a matter of hours and not 24 hours?
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: pacman75cricket on June 01, 2015, 07:35:53 PM
Think can be left for at least 1-2 weeks. I don't have so don't use.  I use flat sheets if needed only leaving for 3 Days at a time to avoid disease. If using germination sheets may wish to remove for matches to prevent damage.
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: RSpall on June 01, 2015, 07:49:19 PM
@uknsaunders How long would you suggest?
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: uknsaunders on June 01, 2015, 09:27:08 PM
Mid summer you normally get results in a week, longer at the start of the season. Take them off between games though!
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: jblowe on June 01, 2015, 09:29:42 PM
Take a look at this link regarding rolling

http://www.ecb.co.uk/sites/default/files/guidelines-for-rolling-in-cricket-104091.pdf (http://www.ecb.co.uk/sites/default/files/guidelines-for-rolling-in-cricket-104091.pdf)

Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: RSpall on June 01, 2015, 09:50:09 PM
@uknsaunders surely they can't stay on for a week as they need the sunlight etc? We have had them on for a day or so when we use them and notice a difference but we never really know the ideal time to leave them on for.

Thanks @jblowe
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: jblowe on June 01, 2015, 09:53:28 PM
Mid summer you normally get results in a week, longer at the start of the season. Take them off between games though!

I used germination sheets (of sorts) last season and loved them.  We followed the advice of the head goundsman at Wormsley and purchased a five rolls of Silage netting from our local Countrywide store, I think they were 30 each.   The roll was 25 metres in length and covered two tracks in width. I used them on the ends as Nick has stated and removed them between games or when I was preparing the square.  I found them great for bringing a used strip back to life after it had been put to bed, I would finish all my work the put the net over the wicket, pin it down and water.  It would green up in half the time.
They were also fantastic for the end of season renovations, both birds and rabbits hate them, and the re-seeded grass grew so fast the grass was at least twice as tall as the uncovered areas.  It was also really gentle on the grass, one week I couldn't make it up to the ground and the grass had grown through the netting, I was really worried that I would pull out the grass as I lifted the netting, but it was fine.
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: RSpall on June 01, 2015, 09:59:52 PM
That's sounds really good and I will have to give it a try. It's might help us better as well because we are a very open ground and grass really struggles to take because the wind is very strong all the time. Unless it's something else we are doing wrong ha. Would you suggest watering it before you put them down then? Would you also fill the ends in with the loan and seed and put the sheets down straight away?

I'm the past we have sometimes just put the sheet across the square sideways so it covers all the ends at ones. Would that be wise or would you just stick to one strip at a time. As much info as possible would help thanks!
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: jblowe on June 01, 2015, 10:03:38 PM
@uknsaunders surely they can't stay on for a week as they need the sunlight etc? We have had them on for a day or so when we use them and notice a difference but we never really know the ideal time to leave them on for.

Thanks @jblowe

Being really lazy I left the germination sheets on for 4 or 5 weeks after the end of season renovation, only took them off to do my first cut.

The Groundsman at Charlbury CC has cut down a sheets to the size so they cover just the damaged areas at each end, maybe 1 by 2 metres and they stay on until he has regrowth, they are on when you play!!!
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: jblowe on June 01, 2015, 10:14:45 PM
Found these really helpful, all the Natwest pitch doctor videos on youtube are worth a watch. just put a couple of links for you
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqp0FkObJ_A (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqp0FkObJ_A)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAOrjSyU6LE (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAOrjSyU6LE)
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: jblowe on June 01, 2015, 10:20:18 PM
Would you suggest watering it before you put them down then?

No I water over the top, the net helped to hold the water during the really hot periods. Later in the year it helps keep the ground warm.  It forms a kind of micro-climate.
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: RSpall on June 02, 2015, 10:45:43 AM
Thanks very much for those.

Would you say it matters what the weather is like when you put the sheets on? Better when it's sunny and hot or cloudy as it won't take as well without them when it's cloudy?
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: 123* on June 02, 2015, 11:39:02 AM
Hi mate, first of all well done on helping out and becoming a bit more educated, if only all players would do this!

The problem is every groundsman has their own way of working and their own methods they've developed over time. We all think our way is the best and only way to do it and anything else is the wrong way! Ask 10 groundsman the same question on pitch preparation and you'll get 10 different answers!

If I was you I'd visit your local ECB premier league club and have a bit chat with the groundsman, every square and ground is different so advice given to you might be totally wrong for how your decks are constructed. Get someone who can give you advice which is specific to where you play. Even better still get yourself an ECB county pitch adviser out, it'll be well worth the small fee and you will get a lot out of it, they will point you in the right direction!

Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: RSpall on June 02, 2015, 12:27:47 PM
Thanks. Yes I can understand there are different ways to produce a good wicket depending on the type of ground, grass and environment. I just wanto to know the basic things so I can start having a clue of what needs to be done and when. I'm sure you know what I mean, I have a lot to learn.
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: uknsaunders on June 02, 2015, 12:57:45 PM
Hi mate, first of all well done on helping out and becoming a bit more educated, if only all players would do this!

The problem is every groundsman has their own way of working and their own methods they've developed over time. We all think our way is the best and only way to do it and anything else is the wrong way! Ask 10 groundsman the same question on pitch preparation and you'll get 10 different answers!

Agree, the level of prep will vary according to standard and facilities. Many village grounds will get maybe 2-3 hours of prep a week during the season. Literally cut the square, couple of wicket cuts and a roll. Not much more as they might only use a wicket on the square once a season. Move on to big clubs or minor county standard grounds and they'll be prepping a track for 2 weeks or more, plus other things like spiking, scarifying, footholes etc.

As you get to know your wicket, don't be afraid of re-using them for further matches. Can not only save time and effort but result in a better playing surface. We had one track at Marlow that did 9 games in 16 days and could of kept going, it was that good and hard. Likewise my village team at the moment have a deck that we used for 3 games no problems, it could of been used for more it looked that untouched in the playing area. It played better/quicker with every game thanks in part to the rolling it received. Doesn't always work out in wet weather or some soil types but it's a way to cheat some time back.
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: RSpall on June 02, 2015, 09:49:16 PM
I suppose every club is different. We are a decent sized club really but it's all new to me and the groundsman are only volunteers so they do what they can when they can which is good on them but needs a lot more work than it gets. This is where we will look to invest in a paid groundsman next year so a bit more time can be spent on it. I'd love to do it myself really as I am really keen to keep learning about it. My down fall is that I'm moving away after the season donut would be silly to get involved now.

We are using a pitch from Saturday for our T20 cup game tomorrow and you are right, it's taken a lot less time to prepare. I did also give Saturday's pitch a good rolling as the ground was soft. If we look at a 10 day preparation period for a pitch, how many times ideally would you water and roll it?
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: 123* on June 02, 2015, 09:52:29 PM
Personally I try and only irrigate once but making sure it's to a decent depth, not just 5 minutes with the hose! Depends if you have covers to control the process!
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: RSpall on June 02, 2015, 10:06:15 PM
When you say irrigate do you mean scarify? Or is that something completely differentl? We scarify a strip after it's been used.
What's your thoughts on this weekly process...

Select the strip, scarily and cut it. Depending on the weather, assuming it's summer and warm it will get watered a lot early week then rolled the next day morning while still soft. Watered and rolled again midweek. Cut prior to the game Friday evening or Saturday morning? Following the game, fill the footholes in with the loam and seed and gently roll in?
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: uknsaunders on June 02, 2015, 10:43:07 PM
Even when its warm I doubt it needs watering more than once in a week. Should only need the rolling once not too long after watering. You can also roll it again if it is still a bit damp onto on the Friday or as a last resort for a wet track on the Saturday ( to get some moisture to the surface and burnt off before playing).
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: RSpall on June 04, 2015, 09:52:30 PM
We had a damp pitch yesterday so it had half an hour last night and 15 mins tonight. Looks like a nice track for the weekend. The grass on it is also one of the hardest things to deal with as its a very thick grass and not fine grass. Hopefully with the weather we have had this week and what's due, there shouldn't be any excuses not to produce a good wicket.
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: Timbo on June 04, 2015, 10:00:07 PM
If you need any advice, have you tried your local county cricket board? I'm on the Norfolk Cricket Grounds Association and we run seminars to local groundsmen. We are always here if you need us, likewise to anyone who wants advice and is willing to listen!
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: uknsaunders on June 05, 2015, 09:59:51 AM
this looks a good resource:-

http://www.ecb.co.uk/groundsman/ (http://www.ecb.co.uk/groundsman/)
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: RSpall on June 21, 2015, 09:08:29 PM
Does anyone know if the weed and feed you use on the outfield is the same as what you use on the square?
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: jwebber86 on June 21, 2015, 10:23:50 PM
No reason it cant be but it'll depend why you are putting it on
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: RSpall on June 22, 2015, 09:40:43 PM
What are the key bits of machinery needed to maximise the standard of the square. We currently have...
Roller
Several square mowers
Scarifier
Outfield mower
Germination sheets

I may have forgotten something but if I could get some feedback that would be really good. Any ideas of other equipment we need to benefit the square.
Title: Re: Square maintenance
Post by: jwebber86 on June 22, 2015, 10:12:53 PM
a good water supply is very useful.

you seem to have most bits covered.

a sisis combirake is always useful to have.