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Winter grounds maintenance

October 2015

In this first of a series of blogs, Richard Hackney, Grounds Operations Manager at Suffolk Coastal Norse and Waveney Norse looks at what needs to be done to ensure a healthy lawn next year.

Grass is continuing to grow extremely fast at the moment due to mild days putting lots of warmth in the soil, combined with periods of rain and the dew in the morning keeping the ground damp: this means a continuing need for cutting of domestic gardens which, unless there is a cold snap could continue until December.

As we handle a lot of amenity and local authority area grounds maintenance where grass banks are involved we have special ‘mechanical spiders’ to cut these areas.

It’s also a time of the year shrub bed weeding  is a regular feature of our work, as is hedge pruning in preparation for plants’ winter dormancy and start of their spring growing activity.

In the next 2 or 3 weeks we will be replacing summer bedding with winter bedding in those areas that still have this kind of planting.

Spraying of weeds around obstacles (beach huts are just one example in the Suffolk Coastal area) needs to be completed before the weather gets too cold and systemic herbicides cannot work.

Sports field of all types still need attention.

Cricket wickets are getting their major overhaul, being scarified, weed killer applied and loam put on which will be left over the winter.

Football and rugby pitches are being marked and cut as necessary.  These also need to be sprayed for weeds, which means that the weather is being watched closely so we can apply it on the right day -  it needs to be put on when the weather is dry but when rain is forecast to fall shortly afterwards.

And finally, in preparation for the winter we will be making sure that we have appropriate salt stocks and checking their winter machinery; three of our ride-on mowers have snow plough attachments for path clearance, and we also have three specialist salting machines.