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21°
Today it is clear sky in Ashburn

7 Day Forecast In Ashburn

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    Humidity - 90%
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    Humidity - 93%
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    clear sky - 12°
    Humidity - 88%
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    clear sky - 15°
    Humidity - 75%
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    Humidity - 66%
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    Humidity - 58%
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Spring preparations are about transitioning the square from its winter state through to its spring state so that it is ready for the start of pitch preparation and the summer of cricket.

The best way to manage a cricket square is always through sound preventative maintenance, which is all about dealing with problems before they arise and undertaking operations which promote the health of the cricket square. If the square was renovated successfully post season and has been regularly cared for over winter then the transition into spring is relatively simple.

If the cricket square has received no or very little attention over winter, or received a limited renovation, for whatever reason, then it will require more work in spring. What has been possible or not will vary from year to year and so the approach going into spring must be adapted to suit.
The following tasks may be carried out from the earliest opportunity at the end of winter/early spring, in a suggested order (some may not be applicable).

• Walk the square to remove any debris or rubbish which may have accumulated to ensure that no damage will be caused to the mower and, either at the same time or as a separate operation, methodically pick over the square and remove any worm casts, leaving a smooth surface prior to mowing.

• At the same time, hand-lift any weeds and repair these spots as well as any small holes or hollows with loam and seed; packing in well to leave a firm, level surface. If there is a severe weed population then you might consider a chemical control, but for this to be effective, it must wait until good growth is observed. For the good of the environment, we should always make every effort to avoid pesticide use wherever possible, especially if viable alternatives exist, but if chemical controls are used then always follow the product label and comply with pesticide legislation.

• If end of season work and winter work has been successful, and no damage has been done over winter then there may be no repairs to make. Only small repairs can be made at this stage, and not much more than 40 mm wide, or else they will interfere with rolling. Do not attempt to level any ends yet because it will be disturbed by pre-season rolling and, if wet, may even seriously delay operations. Any outstanding repairs to levels should be dealt with after or towards the end of pre-season rolling because there is a higher chance of the seed germinating then, and if done too soon then it will interfere with the rolling process.

• Apply fertiliser. This is essential to ensure that the grass plant remains healthy and strong for the following season, fertiliser may be applied to maintain the health of the grass and appearance of the cricket ground. It is best to apply fertiliser when the immediate surface is free from damp but there is still some moisture in the soil. Avoid dry, frosty, or windy conditions - as these often result in uneven distribution and possible scorching., always check the calibration of the machine before fertiliser applications to ensure that the spread rate is correct, follow manufacturer’s instructions.
Once the turf colour is improved, and good plant health is observed and conditions permit, begin pre-season rolling. This is usually best timed for the end of February or the beginning of March, but ultimately must be dictated by the prevailing weather conditions, which will differ year to year.

• Mow the surface, being careful to not remove more than 1/3rd of the leaf in any one mowing window. The height of cut can then be gradually reduced over the space of several weeks until summer height is achieved.

• Square off the square and mark in individual pitch positions.

• Once the turf colour is improved, and good plant health is observed and conditions permit, begin pre-season rolling . This is usually best timed for the end of February or the beginning of March, but ultimately must be dictated by the prevailing weather conditions, which will differ year to year.

• Continue mowing as necessary, aiming to get the sward height down to 12-18mm by the end of March (but no lower).

Once daytime temperatures are warm enough for good growth, the threat of frost has passed and pre-season rolling has finished, level any low pitch ends and reseed them. Waiting for the right conditions will mean that the potential for areas of bare loam to interfere with other operations is minimised. If pre-season rolling is not finished then continue to roll the area between the popping creases and avoid going over the repaired ends.

Benefits

• Heathy square ready for the season and the start of pitch preparation
• Reduced/easier pitch preparation
• Helps to produce consistent playing surfaces

Practical Tips

• Carrying out winter maintenance will make spring preparation far easier and produce a healthy square

• Never work on a wet square as you may do more harm than good. If the soil is marking underfoot or the leaf is being discoloured, then wait for it to dry. Walk the square first so that you can identify any extra wet areas and know where to avoid.

• If in doubt then always test operations out on the edge of the square first and on the least important pitch.

• Take soil samples for nutrient analysis well in advance of spring so that you have time to consider what you might need to apply for the year ahead.

• Allow enough time after applying fertiliser before doing other tasks or else you may damage or discolour the grass, especially rolling. Ideally, fertiliser should be washed in, but if in doubt then allow a minimum of two days before mowing and three days before rolling.

• Consider hand lifting weeds, where practicable. This is a good way of saving money and is far better for the environment. A small knife or flattened potato peeler is all you need. Weed removal can begin as soon as renovations have grown in, and working methodically, one pitch at a time will allow you to spread the task over several weeks if necessary.