A couple of days ago I was thinking about the weather and how recently there hasn't been a lot of rain and therefore any water in the ground would be draining off deeper slowly. Add to that the sap now rising and nature is at working drying up the sogginess that is everywhere. The paddock around about now is almost a swamp in places, but if the sun comes out the drying process, coupled with the fact that it's surrounded by trees soon gets under way. The reason that this is of concern is that I need to get out there while it is still relatively soggy and give it a good roll with the roller and get the next batch of seed sown. February is too early, but it does need to rain during Feb and early March, so I was quite happy that yesterday it rained all day.
The schedule over the coming weeks needs to be along these lines........
This feature of groundwork is the most difficult to explain. All I know is that it is generally the coldest day of the year when I begin. Whether there is a gently drying wind with a hazy sun or a blustering cold northerly March blow.
The reason for rolling before the soil dries out is to consolidate the whole square down to a depth of 4 or 5 inches. Consolidating below the surface can only be done before the square fully dries out. This is a very important stage in wicket preparation because you are rolling into your square the pace and bounce required for good cricket wickets. If this rolling is successful cricket wicket preparation is simply re-wetting the top few inches facing up to give a smooth flat surface, cutting the grass short then allowing the wicket to fully dry out.
SUGGESTED SPRING PROGRAM OF WORK
1. Feb/March get rid of any worms
2. Early March lightly fertilise. 11.6.6 or similar at 1 oz/sq yd – will help withstand early rolling.
3. March/April frequent rolling. Do not create ridging. 80% of rolling should be cross-over the square, but at the end of each session roll from stump to stump.
4. After rolling the square should be shallow spiked 1 inch deep would be ideal to stimulate growth by allowing feed, water and oxygen to get below the surface.
5. Lightly scarify the surface or stiff brush to open up the grasses but take great care not to disturb the surface soil.
6. Apply 2nd light fertilizer dressing
7. Frequent cutting to reduce the grass height to approx ½ inch which is a good height to maintain it at during the playing season. Lower the height gently with frequent cuttings over a period of time.
There are two main tasks. First the continuous development of strong, healthy root structure which is about frequent mowing, preventing drought conditions and sensible feeding. Secondly, keeping the surface clean with frequent light scarification, hand raking or stiff brushing.
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