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At this time of year the familiar sight of the groundskeeper mowing playing fields and lawns, can be seen across our villages and towns. With the unseasonably dry weather we’ve experienced of late, there have been no excuses for not getting out and mowing! Although some grounds are now beginning to look a little parched.
If the task of maintaining your grounds falls to you, how can you ensure a long lasting professional finish? Here are our ground care tips.
Spring Grounds Care
From March onwards, depending on weather conditions, it’s time to start mowing. The warmer weather and spring showers stimulates growth, so you will need to increase the frequency of mowing depending on the length of grass required and how fast it’s growing!
Now is also a good opportunity to scarify a lawn or sports pitch (particularly after the rugby and football season is over). A harrow attached to a compact tractor is an effective way to do this job, ripping the old thatch out of the turf, aerating the soil and stimulating new growth. Areas prone to waterlogging, or those that have seen heavy traffic over the winter months may also benefit from spiking to break up compaction. Make sure you go deep, to 250 or even 300mm, for best results.
You can also apply fertiliser at this point to help new seed establish. Apply before seeding and work it into the ground using a drag harrow. Once this is done you can sow new seed ensuring good soil contact to get fast new growth, rolling is good way to achieve this.
Finally a top dressing should be applied to protect new seeds and seedlings, and reduce thatch build up by encouraging it to breakdown.
Summer Grounds Care
Throughout the summer months the main task is mowing. The type of mower you use will depend on your requirements, but typically a finishing mower is used for lawns, sports fields and golf courses. If you don’t require a cricket pitch finish, a flail mower is a very versatile and economic alternative. Many landowners with pastures as well as lawns find a flail mower is an ideal compromise if they don’t want to invest in different mowers.
During the summer months you may need to continue reseeding bare patches to help improve coverage. On newly established grass it can be helpful to first roll the turf before mowing. This will prevent the mower from ripping out young seedlings and also help it to get established.
Continue spiking to ensure that any rainfall does penetrate the ground, and you may also want to feed throughout the summer months to maintain a lush green lawn or field. However, don’t apply fertiliser unless you’re able to water it in, or if rain is forecast. Organic alternatives like seaweed are a good option if there is a drought and you can’t water.
Autumn Grounds Care
As the growing season begins to fade, you won’t need to mow as frequently and you can also raise the height of the cut as the winter months approach. Now is also another opportunity to scarify your grass, remove thatch and decomposing material, as well as helping to aerate the soil.
Falling leaves become a problem at this time of year. They’ll need collecting and composting so they don’t damage your turf. Leaves can smother grass, reduce its vigour and ultimate kill off areas if left to decompose on the grass. They also encourage moss to take hold and are attractive to worms. Worms are a mole’s favourite snack, and a mole is a groundkeeper’s worst enemy!
Winter Grounds Care
There’s not much to do during the winter months apart from keeping on top of leaves and servicing your farm implements ready for the next season. However, grass continues to grow if the air and soil temperatures are above 6 degrees, so apply autumn or winter fertilisers to promote good growth.
If your grounds are used in winter, for example sports fields, a top dressing may be needed to maintain a level field. You will also need to continue with mowing and spiking during the winter season, depending on conditions and the rate of growth.
For further tips on maintaining your grounds and advice on choosing the right farm implements for your needs contact our team. Call 01420 520510 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.