Turf Maintenance Planner: May

SGM's turf maintenance planner for MayThroughout the month of May, the weather will be improving and the grass will be growing so you should notice your work load beginning to increase. Cricket, tennis and bowls are getting into full swing as the signs of summer are emerging, whilst the football and rugby union groundstaff will be focusing on those all important renovations. It's a busy time all round. 


  • The season is coming to an end and post-season renovation is the name of the game. 
  • The application of a topdressing, typically sand, must be adequately incorporated into the existing soil profile. 
  • It is also beneficial to scarify the surface before applying a topdressing. 
  • Relieving compaction is important, and spiking as deeply as possible - to a depth of 250-300mm - is advisable.

Bowling Green

  • Be careful not to set the mower too low as the grass is only realistically 'getting going' at present. 
  • Cold snaps or May dry spells can still easily occur. It is sensible to keep the height of cut to 6mm or higher for as long as possible. 
  • Areas of the green which had been renovated in April, or even late March, should not be treated to any form of heavy scarification. 
  • Watch out for any signs of Fusarium patch disease that especially wet, dewy mornings bring in prevalence.
  • Ensure the greens are adequately brushed and/or switched. 

Golf Courses

  • Mowing will typically be carried out five times per week with the mowing height being around 5mm. 
  • Any areas on the green that haven't been successfully renovated should be targeted for completion. 
  • Be careful not to verticut the greens too frequently as growth is still variable. 
  • Fairway divoting will be continuing. 

Rugby League

  • Cut regularly to encourage growth and sward thickening. 
  • Overseeding may be required if temperatures dictate. 
  • Drop the height of cut if necessary - 35-40mm should be suitable depending on team requirements. 
  • Keep on top of divoting. 

Rugby Union

  • Assuming there has been regular pitch use throughout the season, there will be a certain amount of compaction present within the soil profile; this will need to be alleviated by aeration. 
  • Don't delay applying a fertiliser if this has not been given in April.


  • Roll the court to continue to firm the surface. 
  • Mowing will be regular, typically three occasions per week, and the height of cut will now be at its lowest which is typically maintained throughout the summer months.
  • Dragbrush regularly to remove dew. 
  • Be careful not to verticut or groom too intensively, especially on areas of the court that may have been oversown in April.

Horse Racecourse

  • Mowing may peak at three times per week. 
  • Irrigate as required to help produce the desired level of firmness of ground. 
  • Divot and repair the course after each meeting. 
  • Weed control might be required on selected areas of the course.

Cricket Square

  • Scarification of the square and during wicket preparation is an important operation for reducing undesirable thatch. 
  • Wicket preparation will be occurring some 7 to 10 days before a game, with this time period going up to 14 days for top class cricket. 
  • A spring, mainly nitrogen, fertiliser should have been applied to the square. 

Cricket Outfield

  • Aeration of the outfield can also be considered, before the soil dries out too much. 
  • Scarification, to reduce and control undesirable thatch build-up, is also ideally undertaken now. 
  • Mow regularly, now usually once per week, and aim for a height of cut of 10-15mm.