H.A.R Rumph - Blog #2

17 Apr

GRUMPLINGS from BEHIND a PICKET FENCE

Grumpy Groundsman

Greetings  grounds people!

Rumours abound that some work has been getting done to cricket squares over the last week or so. Driest we’ve had in many a year but also the coldest. Met a polar bear looking for a scarf the other day!

Depending where you are in the country, pre-season preparations may have been hindered by continuous overnight frosts meaning little or no grass growth restricting the days on which to roll the square.

Low temperatures affect the recovery of the grass plant from its winter dormancy. It would be usual to give the square a fertilise at this time, but most nutrients can’t be taken up by the grass until soil temperatures, at a four inch depth, have reached five degrees Centigrade or more.

Until temps rise, one method I have adopted is to spray my square with a high carbohydrate feed; sugar to be precise. What we are seeking is a liquid solution akin to giving someone who has had a shock a sweet cup of tea to aid recovery. Various retailers will sell you molasses but at a price.   

My solution (pardon the pun) is to use beer! High in carbohydrate, higher still if you use “brown” beer as opposed to lager AND it could be FREE! Carbonated drinks, Coke for example, are also high in sugars.

If you have a bar as part of your clubhouse, why not ask your bar person to put aside the overspill from the drip trays or from the operations following line cleaning (mind no cleansing fluid goes in the mix) or the run-off at the beginning of a day’s business.

The mix is 10 litres of beer over 1000 square metres of grass with a half dose of iron topped up with water in the spray tank. I repeat the beer at weekly intervals during April with a further half dose of iron in the month. Thereafter, it should be getting close to using a traditional fertiliser most probably an Autumn/Winter one with a low Nitrogen content as we don’t want a “grass factory” so early in the season.

Six weeks or so later, this low-level nutrient mix will be wearing off, then it’s time for a Spring/Summer fertiliser which will encourage vigorous grass growth and many happy days of cutting grass! 

On the subject of grass cutting, many moons ago I witnessed a groundsman getting a serious eye injury from flying grass clippings. It was at a time when the grass was dry with a lot of the fine clippings flying into the air even although the grass was being collected. He received a piece into his eye, the more he blinked the worse it got, which resulted in a scratch on the cornea, a hospital visit and an extended period of time off work.     

Always wear eye protection. That is my Tip of the Day.

Until the next time –“Be seeing you” as Number 6 would say!

H.A.R. Rumph

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