The focus of polo grounds is to provide a stable surface to protect animal welfare. The surfaces need to be firm enough for the ball to run and soft enough for horses not to jar.
To achieve this, we need a strong root network. It's essential that the soil depth at 100 mm remains moist to encourage deep root development, providing a stable surface.
Spring polo field maintenance
Polo pitches should be dressed in 200 tonnes of sand per pitch to improve surface levels. This needs to be repeated during the summer.
Cutting heights at this time of year are maintained at 50 mm until the start of the season, where they can be reduced to 30 mm, ready for play in April. It's good practice to keep the pitches clear of debris. This can be done using a sweeper/mower with a collector.
A slow-release fertiliser can be applied in March to ensure the surfaces are strong going into the season. A 4-5-month fertiliser such as our GSR Tri-Phase is a good choice.
Herbicide spraying to remove weeds can be carried out, followed by a wetting agent to ensure water movement is evenly distributed into the soil profile.
Pitches need to be marked, and polo field boards need to be put out before opening. It's good practice to treat/paint these in the off-season.
Summer polo field maintenance
Mowing should be carried out as often as possible to maintain the playing length of 30 mm throughout summer. Additionally, brushing against the grain before cutting can improve the quality of the cut.
Polo pitches will benefit from light scarification to provide a better surface for the ball roll. This can be done once or twice, time allowing.
Moisture levels need to be monitored and water applied in mind for plant health and animal welfare.
A further 200 tonnes of sand dressing per pitch can be applied along with ongoing divoting of pitches throughout the season. This needs to be kept up to maintain surface levels and repair damage from horses.
Aeration with pencil tines is recommended where possible and line marking must be maintained.
Autumn polo field maintenance
When the season ends, polo pitches must be renovated to recover in time for the following year. We recommended scarifying in three directions, followed by deep aeration using a verti-drain to relieve compaction and promote air movement.
All areas of play need to be overseeded at a rate of 30-40 bags per pitch. A disc seeder will provide the best results. Our A30 Rapid Sports Renovator is a three-way rye seed mixture containing hard-wearing species, and this is perfect for polo grounds.
Once seeding has been carried out, a slow-release autumn/winter fertiliser can be applied to help the new seedlings establish over the coming months.
Winter polo field maintenance
Where ground conditions allow, aeration should be carried out using a slitter. Polo fields should also be verti-drained twice throughout the winter.
Cutting height at this time of year should be approximately 50 mm but only cut if there is any notable growth.
Polo field maintenance advice
Please get in touch with our sports grass experts if you require polo field maintenance advice.