It’s that time of year when the playing surface at Sincil Bank gets its annual makeover.Head Groundsman Phil Kime explains the recent renovations...
This summer the pitch surface has been completely removed to take out the thatch layer; the decaying matter just below the surface. If thatch builds up too much it can affect the playability of the pitch. The aim is to do this every other year but due to the concert last May it had to be delayed a year.
Taking the surface off also removes annual meadow-grass which is a common problem not just at Sincil Bank and a constant ongoing battle for groundsmen everywhere. Meadow-grass is referred to as a ‘weed grass’ in sports turf. It is very shallow rooted so gets kicked out quite easily and suffers in dry conditions. It is also the main culprit for generating the thatch mentioned above.
Once the surface vegetation had been completely removed the pitch was seeded in three directions with a Ryegrass mix. After viewing a number of other pitches we decided to use 280kg of a completely different make of seed - Barenbrug Stadia RPR – that has a cultivar in the mix which generates new plants off side-shoots so bare areas will get recolonised. It also produces grass of a very good colour visually.
After overseeding 75 tonnes of topdressing was applied using a mix of 80% sand/20% soil. This was brushed-in to reinstate pitch levels and to provide a germination layer for the new seed. A pre-seed fertiliser was then added before nature was left to do its thing.
In due course the surface will be decompacted but for now it's a case of monitoring the weather and keeping the surface moist either from rainfall or the club’s irrigation system. Once the seed germinates and reaches a decent height cutting will start using rotary mowers. This keeps weight off the pitch but encourages the grass to tiller (thicken out).