Off-the-shelf cricket square renovation package
The new Cricket Renovation Package contains everything needed to overseed and feed worn and tired cricket squares:
- 50% ESCAPADE (Perennial Ryegrass)
- 50% CABRIO (Ultrafine Perennial Ryegrass)
This 100% perennial ryegrass blend is one of the top-performing grass seed mixtures for close mown, high quality turf areas. It is the ideal mixture for repairing cricket wicket ends (as well as tennis base line and golf tees) where good root penetration, high shoot density and excellent fineness of leaf are required.
Fine Turf Winter Defence is the ideal fertiliser for fine turf areas which have been damaged by intensive use during the summer months. With a high ratio of phosphate, it aids sward respiration and promotes root growth in new seedlings. Its mini-granular formulation makes it easy to apply and ensures rapid dispersal into the soil.
G4 is a balanced fertiliser which stimulates root development in the spring. Its mini-granular formulation makes it easy to apply and ensures rapid dispersal into the soil.
Cricket square renovation advice
With the playing season at and end, it is a race against time and the elements to get the square renovated ahead of the winter: whether you choose to fully scarify or core the entire square is of personal preference, but as a general rule of thumb, scarifying every year and coring every two or three years is adequate – coring more frequently than this could remove too much loam, but at the same time it is essential to remove more thatch than scarifying alone can achieve, plus the soil will benefit from some coring to let air into the upper layer of the profile in order to enable roots to develop.
Once the area to be renovated has been scarified, a high quality seed lot should be applied while the grooves in the soil surface are still open: two bags of a pure dwarf rye mixture (A5 Cricket, Tennis and Tees is ideal) should be enough for a 6 to 7 strip square. The seed can be applied evenly using a pedestrian fertiliser spreader, or a garden hand spreader will also suffice – the latter will be better than hand spreading as it ensures even coverage and avoids wastage and areas of over applied seed.
Whichever application method you use, the seed should subsequently be covered with a light layer of loam as simply scattering the seed onto the finished surface is not ideal: grass seeds need full coverage and protection, not just from birds prior to germinating, but also once germination has started so that the seedling is protected from direct sunlight and any sapping winds.
The amount of loam applied is of personal choice and dependent on the extent of the damage to be repaired, but be mindful to use enough to ensure a full coverage of the square: just repairing the wicket ends each year will create a saddle effect that over time will make the square very difficult to play on.
The minimum recommended amount of loam is 5-6 bags per strip: this is enough to cover the new seeds and to fill any hollows and divots that have been created during the season.
Take care to spread the loam evenly over the seed before dragging it in. Lastly, apply a pre-seeding fertiliser such as Germinal’s Fine Turf Winter Defence which contains low levels of all the major nutrients, and as such is ideal for establishing new seedlings as you don’t want to force any excessive growth at this time of year but you also don’t want to neglect any new growth or deny the seedlings any nutrients.
One or two bags of fertiliser per block should suffice and will give the existing grass a good boost after the long playing season. It will also provide the new seedlings with some phosphate to aid root development and potassium to stave off any winter diseases.
At this point in proceedings the hard work is done, but don’t be tempted to walk away just yet: give the new grass a trim with a rotary mower on a high setting a couple times before winter sets in – just enough to cut the tips of the grass leaves back in order to prevent any soft, lanky growth going into the colder months. The grass plants will actually be healthier for this: it’s a task which can even be done as late as January or February if the winter is mild and conditions allow.
As spring takes over and just before the season begins again, apply a booster fertiliser such as Germinal’s G4 Fine Turf Spring Kick to wake the plants back up. At the same time, overseed any remaining bare areas and you should now be on track to start rolling and lowering the height of cut in anticipation of the season’s first fixtures.