Is your pitch cracking up in the heat?
Cracked soils should be infilled with a sand/soil mixture and over-seeded with a fast-establishing seed mixture as soon as moisture levels improve.
Soils which are prone to cracking will typically open up along lines of existing weakness: such as along touch lines and at goalmouths where excessive wear has removed the plants and root material needed to hold the soil profile together.
On areas such as this – and indeed any other area where grass coverage is thin – the soil surface will dry out rapidly, with any cracks that subsequently appear easily visible. And once established, these vertical areas of weakness are more likely to reappear in subsequent periods of drought.
This leaves the question: how do I repair cracks in my pitch, or is it too late to take remedial action once the soil surface has become damaged by a lack of moisture?
The obvious way to prevent this type of damage occurring is to irrigate, but this isn’t always feasible or practical, especially for amateur and lower league clubs and sports facilities where budgets and resources simply don’t stretch that far.
Beyond irrigation, the first essential step towards reducing the potential for soils to become crack-damaged is to prevent excessive wear. This can be done by varying the position of goal lines and touch lines over successive years so that the pressure of wear and tear is spread over a larger area. Obviously, this strategy is only appropriate for top-flight pitches and training facilities where funding and space aren’t an issue.
For day-to-day parkland pitches and smaller scale club facilities, the first port of call should be to remove the potential for injury by filling any larger cracks with a mixture of sand and soil – but be aware that excessive cracking which extend across the entire pitch may take several tonnes of infill material to repair. It is also worth noting that a sand/soil mixture will be more effective than plain sand as the organic matter contained within the soil component will retain moisture more effectively and therefore be less prone to future drought damage.
In the longer term, the re-establishment of a healthy, wear-tolerant grass sward is the most effective method of reducing cracking: as soon as soil moisture levels allow, the infilled areas should be over-seeded (and subsequently watered as often as possible until the new seedlings have matured) with a fast-establishing seed mixture such as Germinal’s A30 Rapid Sports Renovator Plus: by blending two perennial ryegrasses (Calico and Carnac) with a creeping perennial ryegrass (Zurich), A30 produces a fast-establishing, hardwearing playing surface which, thanks to the creeping growth habit of Zurich, offers good recovery and persistence.
- 35% CALICO (Perennial Ryegrass)
- 35% CARNAC (Perennial Ryegrass)
- 30% ZURICH (Creeping Perennial Ryegrass)
- Offers good recovery
- Cost effective
- The perfect mixture for sports pitch repairs and renovation