We feature monthly maintenance guides in our members' magazine to help you keep your sports surfaces in top condition all year round. Here is a preview of our April operations, featuring tips for cricket, bowls, and horse racing. For our full April guidance across all sports, see the latest edition of our members magazine, Grounds Management. To find out more about becoming a member, visit our membership page by clicking here.
- Continue to increase mowing frequency.
- Light scarification will be increased to remove all surface debris within the base of the sward.
- Rolling should be continued to provide a solid base for the season. Additional rolling will be carried out for pitch preparation; however, the fundamental groundwork for the season is carried out prior to the first ball being delivered.
- Ensure the square is properly ‘squared up’ with the correct number of wickets being spot marked at the ends. Ensure each wicket is correctly squared.
- Measure out stripes for mowing, making sure to measure accurately to create the chequer board presentation. Mow outfield as growth demands. Slowly reduce the height of cut to approximately 15mm throughout this month.
- Monitor the outfield for weeds and make plans to apply selective herbicide when growth is strong, and conditions allow. This would usually be towards May. Only certified operatives should apply chemicals.
- Repair/redress any minor areas of damage especially in and around bowlers’ run-ups.
- Be quite flexible in your planning for April as the weather can be extremely variable.
- Complete the renovation of the greens, making sure two weeks separates the end of renovation and the first bowl being played. This should ensure adequate time for any topdressing to be satisfactorily worked in.
- Open the season on as high a cut as possible, say 1⁄4 inch. This will give the grass some insurance against cold weather returning.
- Several light rollings, with a 5cwt roller, will help to firm the surface prior to the start of the season.
- Ensure the irrigation system is fully commissioned.
- Top-up ditch material.
- Mow the course twice a week.
- Strim around the base of all posts.
- Re-commission irrigation system.
- Aerate the course as part of routine maintenance.
- Apply the main spring fertiliser .
- This is the time to complete the main renovation of a National Hunt course, which will then be allowed to rest over the summer – assuming it does not form part of a course for flat racing.