The Complete Guide To Football Pitch Maintenance
To support ground staff to maintain football pitches, they need the right high-quality tools and equipment. The right compact tractor, ride-on mower, and compact tractor attachments are all essential to complete the job to the best of their abilities. Keeping on top of sports ground maintenance also requires more than mowing the grass, you need a dedicated plan for every month of the year.
Explore our guide to football pitch maintenance below. We cover the correct maintenance tasks to complete throughout the winter, spring, summer, and autumn. Keep reading to learn the best way to maintain football pitches throughout the year.
- Regularly cut the grass to maintain excellent sward density, however, you must ensure you don’t overcut the pitch which may cause growth to slow.
- Brush the turf often so air can circulate freely throughout the base of the grass stems.
- If there are difficult-to-access areas, with machinery – such as the goalmouth and in-goal zones – use a hand fork. Deep spiking will also relieve compaction if the conditions are appropriate.
- During any periods of snow or frost, keep off the grass until it’s lifted to avoid any damage occurring to the turf.
- If you have periods of downtime, it’s smart to service your machinery and equipment.
- Rainy weather and mild temperatures create a breeding ground for fungal disease on your football pitch, so treat any diseased areas with certified fungicides.
- February can mean cold, wet weather which can lead to red thread developing on turfgrasses. Red thread indicates low fertility and can be solved by applying fertiliser.
- Be flexible with the routine you have for spiking; alternate between deep spiking, surface spiking, and slitting.
- Brush the grass regularly to maintain air circulation across the turf.
- Ensure the machinery is set to cut.
- Moving into spring, the conditions will hopefully be milder and less wet, so maintain a regular spiking schedule covering deep spiking, splitting, and surface spiking.
- Warmer temperatures may increase the rate of growth, so adjust your cutting routine as necessary.
- Divot the turf using a border fork and a bucket of topdressing with a small amount of seed mixed through.
- Brush away early morning dew on the grass.
- If you’re undertaking grass renovations in April, reduce the height of your grass over the next few weeks.
- Coming to the end of the football season, ensure the height of the cut is consistently between 24mm and 30mm.
- Deep spike the pitch as the conditions continue to improve.
- If you can’t get onto the pitch with machinery, hand fork excessively worn sections.
- Regularly spike the with solid or slit tines to a 150mm depth to keep the top 100mm free draining.
- Keep air circulating the grass stems by regularly brushing the turf.
- As the football season concludes you can reduce the height of the cut to more efficiently tackle your summer maintenance tasks.
- Scarify the turf to clean the surface, removing any divots and dead organic matter that typically builds up throughout the winter.
- Spike as deep into the surface as you can to relieve compaction, around 250mm to 300mm.
- Fertilise the pitch to provide the grass with the essential nutrients it needs.
- Apply the correct top dressing to the turf.
- Keep on top of the grass length to maintain excellent sward density.
- Ensure the irrigation systems are functioning effectively.
- Establish a brushing routine to maintain air circulation throughout the base of the grass.
- Don’t forget about the goalposts during the offseason, check on them regularly throughout the summer.
- You should also check over any fences and dugouts.
- As well as cutting the grass, consider lightly rolling the surface of newly established turf.
- If we’re lucky enough to have sunshine and heat in the UK this summer, ensure the pitch is hydrated through the irrigation system.
- Areas of the pitch may consistently dry out, so use wetting agents on problem parts of the turf.
- Be flexible with your spiking routine during the summer.
- Control diseases and remove dew by brushing the turf.
- The football season is beginning again, so measure and apply the pitch markings.
- Verticute the pitch to get rid of lateral growth while simultaneously allowing air to circulate.
- Avoid fertilisers with high salt contents which may draw moisture out of the grass.
- Seaweed and amino biostimulants and calcium are good fertiliser alternatives during warmer months.
- Follow your spiking routine in preparation for the new season.
- Verticutting the grass prevents lateral growth and assists with air circulation.
- When conditions allow, continue with your spiking routine.
- Consider the best autumn fertiliser in preparation for the seasonal change.
- Maintain the correct grass height and sward density.
- Water the whole pitch and focus on areas with lots of wear and tear.
- Monitor temperatures throughout October as lower nighttime temperatures can affect humidity levels and cause leaf blade wetness.
- October can also fluctuate in temperature and weather conditions, so be flexible with your maintenance routine.
- Colder weather means increased morning dew so be sure to brush the turf and maintain air circulation between the stems.
- Windier weather may risk drying out the surface, which means your irrigation systems need to be functioning effectively.
- Monitor newly sown seeds during October because of potential weather and temperature changes to prevent germination from becoming established.
- November frosty mornings mean you may experience downtime, so this month is an opportunity to catch up on machinery maintenance.
- Every morning, check to see the frost has fully lifted before conducting any ground maintenance with heavy machinery.
- Regularly drag matting, brushing, and spiking the turf will reduce the stress on the grass during the winter months.
- At the start of November, when the temperatures may be warmer compared to later in the month, apply fertiliser to stimulate growth.
- Later in the month, work the topdressing into holes you have created through spiking.
- December is the darkest month of the year, so light gantries are a smart investment to stimulate growth and grass recovery.
- Ensure the grass isn’t overly saturated to avoid damage when being used.
- The drainage system will need to function effectively to reduce pressure on the turf.
- Monitor the grass for signs of disease as prevention is easier than curing.
- Keep on top of equipment maintenance during any downtime caused by frost.