Expected weather for this month:

The long range weather forecast for November is giving us reasonably dry month

If the long range weather forecast is to be believed, then frost covers and undersoil heating might not be needed until the end of the month, even December.

However, for parts of mid-November, whilst thermals might be the order of the day, there should be little disruption to your maintenance regimes.

Key Tasks for November
Maintenance Regimes

Maintenance Regimes

On the basis that the Met Office are correct, you will be able to offer decent presentation, even though grass growth will be slowing down considerably. Aim to present your pitch with bands, stripes and a consistent surface and maintain a height of cut between 24-30mm.

Continue with post match divoting and brushing and undertake aeration if conditions allow.

If snow does make an appearance, training will either head indoors or on the main pitch. If the latter, ensure that regimes, such as goalkeeping drills and small sided games are rotated on the pitch to avoid excessive wear.

  • Continue cutting to encourage good sward density, ensuring that you do not over cut as this would thin out the sward due to the slowdown in growth
  • Ensure that any equipment used is keenly set to cut
  • Regular brushing will keep the air circulating around the base of the plant
  • Deep spike to alleviate compaction as and when required
  • Continue spiking when the conditions are right (this should only be carried out if the soil is suitably moist) to compliment your deep spiking
  • Keep your spiking regime flexible, alternating between surface spiking, deep spiking and slitting
  • Hand fork goalmouth and centre circle areas, if difficult to get onto the pitch with machinery
  • Use any downtime to overhaul/service machinery
  • If it's frosty, keep off the pitch until the frost has lifted or it becomes absolutely necessary. This will avoid damage to the grass plant/leaf

Try to keep the top 100mm free draining; this can be achieved by regular spiking with solid or slit tines to a depth of 150mm or more.

At this stage of the season, the addition of seed mixed with a little topsoil may help to repair any deep scars. Ensure good seed to soil contact, otherwise the operation is pointless. Ensure you use new seed as old material may not germinate.

Marking out

  • Keep your linemarker clean
  • Keep string lines taut
  • Ensure that right angles are correctly formed. Use the 3:4:5 triangle method. The bigger the triangle at the start, the more accurate the pitch will be.

Machinery

  • Keep your machinery in tip top condition
  • Grease where you find a grease nipple, oil where you see a metallic moving part, check the oil, check the water
  • Clean it when you've finished

Additionally ...

  • Now is the time to check and repair covers!
  • Apply a low nitrogen, high phosphate and potassium autumn/winter fertiliser to aid grass recovery
  • Dragmat, harrow and groom rake surface, as required, to maintain levels, remove early morning dew, control disease and generally get air in and around the plant
  • Spike/verticut as often as possible

With the sun now lower in the sky, shade problems tend to increase. Shadows remain on the ground for longer periods and these areas tend to take longer to warm up and dry out which, in turn, may affect maintenance operations and playability.

Pre and post match routines

Before the match

  • Check that the pitch is fit and safe for play
  • Check for debris (glass, stones etc.)
  • Clear away leaves - a thankless task, but one that needs doing
  • Ensure the surface is firm and not saturated, correctly marked out and flagged, and that the posts are safe and secure

Post match

  • Replace divots, even if it's just the worst affected areas - it will make a difference!
  • Dragmat/brush/harrow to restore playing surfaces and remove worm casts
  • Clean up the playing surface with a rotary mower
Other Key Tasks

Weekly checks:

  • Check goals for loose bolts and tighten as necessary
  • Check nets - make sure they are properly supported at the back of the goal and aren't sagging
  • Check team dugouts are stable and anchored securely. Make sure that they are tidy and free from litter
  • Repair and maintain fence lines
  • Sweep up/vacuum fallen leaves

Articles you may find helpful

https://www.pitchcare.ie/magazine/drainage-improvements.html

https://www.pitchcare.ie/magazine/pot-planting-goalmouths.html

https://www.pitchcare.ie/magazine/open-space-mowers-put-through-their-paces.html

https://www.pitchcare.ie/magazine/fifteen-years-in-the-grass-graphics-making.html

https://www.pitchcare.ie/magazine/repairing-your-goalmouths.html