2021 Winter sports pitches end of season renovations.
It may seem a way off, and probably not at the top of your concerns at the moment, but now is the time to start thinking about end of season renovations for your football or rugby pitch. We appreciate many clubs will just be trying to survive right now, but hopefully this article will give some guidance on how you can produce the best possible pitch for next season – whatever your budget may be.
The main issue currently, is that clubs have no idea when the season will end or if it already has…
For elite clubs who are still playing, things won’t be much different from the norm in terms of renovations. However, if seasons do restart in the spring for lower-level clubs, pitches should be in a better condition having not been played on much through the wettest period. With better grass cover at the end of the season, some money that is normally spent on a full over seed could be saved or moved into other operations, such as top dressing or scarification. Overseeding may still be required but just in the high use areas.
In the event that winter sports do not start again in the spring, there are a few key operations we would recommend. It will be a great opportunity to get pitches in tip top condition ready to welcome players and supporters back for the following season. If your budget is super tight and you need the most bang for your buck, the minimum we would recommend is early spring aeration (ideally in the form of a verti-drain) and an application of a controlled release spring fertiliser. Why? Well, these operations really work in tandem. The aeration will help the grass put down deep roots, which will help with drought tolerance through the hot summer months and produce a hard-wearing, better draining pitch ready for play in the new season. The fertiliser will give the grass plant the nutrients required to help put down these deep roots and will also promote a thick hard-wearing sward.
Our big concern with the long break is grass coverage may actually become too thick (yes, really!) meaning thatch and organic matter levels in the top of the profile will build up. This could cause some major drainage issues next winter as they hold onto moisture like a sponge. Players normally do a good job of ‘scarifying’ winter sport pitches and with a short off season, thatch is not much of an issue in normal years. Machine operations such as full scarification in the spring may need to be considered, and regular raking, brushing, or grooming before cuts will help. Collecting cuttings, if possible, will also help to stop organic matter building up in the soil.
If you’re not really sure what to do for the best, or what you can achieve inside your budget, we are happy to come out and visit any local clubs and discuss possible plans for end of season work. Clubs that are further afield your local FA’s pitch improvement program or RFU body are good places to start and may even offer up some funding towards pitch works, so well worth a phone call.
We are already taking provisional bookings for end of season works for those who’ve got their plans sorted and want dates pencilled in.
If you have any questions were always happy to have chat or point you in the right direction for your requirements.
Looking forward to the 2021/2022 season being a great one!