Turf Maintenance Planner: March

2 footballers playing on a football pitch The beginnning of spring is a busy time for all groundstaff, whether it is summer sports gearing up for a new season, or winter sports planning those important end of season renovations. 

Football

  • Keep the surface as presentable as possible by drag brushing and divoting as required. 
  • Light sand dressings on thin and bare areas may help to maintain a dry surface. 
  • Aerate the pitch whenever possible, but not when soil conditions would cause smearing. 
  • Additional overmarking will probably be required where grass coverage is absent or sparse. 
  • A light topping when the ground is dry will also help to improve appearances. 

Bowling Green

  • Aerate whenever possible - usually with slit tines, although some greenkeepers will be moving over to solid tines for the end of the month. 
  • The green might benefit from a light rolling to help smooth the surface following the damage of winter frosts etc. 
  • It is important to take a soil sample and check that the correct amount of moisture is available before commencing this operation. 

Golf 

  • Aerate whenever possible - usually with slit tines, although some greenkeepers will be moving over to solid tines for the end of the month. 
  • The desire to topdress towards the end of March should in most cases be avoided. It is best to wait until good grass growth is occuring to help the material be incorporated as quickly as possible and with minimum interference to golfers. 
  • Consider spending as much time as possible on the fairways, such as aeration, topping and divoting before the main spring renovation of the greens and winter tees. 

Rugby League

  • The most important tasks are to divot and try to stand the grass up as much as possible. 
  • If conditions are favourable, apply seed and spring/summer feed. With this, the surface may also be drying up - so, roll the surface before it firms up too much. 
  • On the amateur side, do not worry about too much damage as spring is just around the corner. 

Rugby Union

  • Early spring growth could require the pitch to be topped.
  • Aerate if soil conditions permit. Do not aerate just because a pitch might not have had this operation carried out for some time, otherwise more harm than good will take place if soil conditions are unsuitable. 
  • Machinery should now be back from its annual service and overhaul, ready for a new season of grass growth to attend to. 

Tennis

  • Solid tine aerate, if suitable conditions permit. 
  • Start light rolling of the court. 
  • An early 'false spring' may require frequent topping of the grass but be careful not to lower the height of cut too early.
  • Do not apply the main spring fertiliser too early though, as a late cold spell will reduce the effectiveness of the fertiliser. 

Horse Racecourse

  • Re-commission the irrigation system. 
  • Prepare for the start of the flat racing season by increasing the mowing frequency.
  • Be careful not to set the height of cut too low otherwise a cold spring will slow any grass regrowth. 
  • Aerate the racecourse if soil conditions permit. 
  • Machinery should now be fully serviced and ready for the new growing season. 

Cricket Square

  • The square should be regularly drag brushed and the height of cut should be reduced to about 18mm or so.
  • A light scarification may be possible if growth is reasonable, but be careful not to overdo this operation too early in the month. 
  • Ensure the square is correctly set out with the corners being at exact right angles. 

Cricket Outfield 

  • Check for any small undulations in the outfield and topdress them out. 
  • Make any final repairs to worn areas especially in the bowlers run up areas.