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Groundsman Association Autumn Update

16th October 2018 Posted in Grounds and League by Michael Weeks


As some of you are aware, last season we trialled a program of deep aeration throughout the Premier League teams (some lower league clubs also had their squares done). The problem of poor bounce and carry needed to be addressed and it was decided that by deep spiking the squares and overseeding with the correct amounts of a recognised cricket pitch ryegrass mixture would increase the root depth and create a better soil profile for the grass to grow. Results have shown through the pitch markings that all clubs who have performed these tasks have improved in their bounce and carry.Vertidraining is vertical aeration performed by a tractor mounted aerator which creates holes to a depth of approx.  8-10″ (200-250mm) with tines measuring approx. 14mm in diameter. The action of the vertidrain creates fissures in the soil profile therefore creating air spaces for roots to develop which also allows for faster percolation of rainfall through the soil profile.


Dec. 10, 2015 – Slow motion clip of our Verti-Drain deeptining greens at Montezuma Country Club.


All summer we have been rolling and cutting our pitches very short and putting them under stress but we have found that those that were vertidrained and overseeded properly have performed better and recovered quicker. The deep-rooted characteristics of perennial ryegrass has meant that pitches haven’t dried out as quickly during the drought and have also recovered quicker when watered after being used.


This autumn we have arranged for a contractor to travel throughout the county carrying out vertidraining on squares.  We have waited until now to arrange this as squares are still very hard from the summers drought conditions. Hopefully by late October we will have had a quantity of rainfall to be able to perform the aeration. It will also give time for germination of new seed if your club has already performed it’s end of season maintenance.


The price for this aeration will be £195 per square.


Please contact Robert Jobson, Secretary of the CGA   if you would like your square to be vertidrained so that we can sort a route around the county for the contractor.


As a County Groundsman’s Association we have also over the last few years  offered a service where we will aerate your square using the pedestrian Pro Core machine throughout late November. This is also vertical aeration but will go to a depth of approx. 100mm and with smaller tines, approx. 8mm in diameter. The pedestrian aerator can be used during wetter periods when we cannot put a tractor over the square.


In an ideal world we should aerate monthly from October through to the end of December unless frosts occur, however, this is a costly exercise, we have found that our Pro Core programme in November is within the financial means of the majority of Clubs, regardless of the division in which they play.

The benefit of using The Toro 648 is that it spikes outside the wheels, therefore leaving no wheel marks even in wet conditions, the depth of spiking and the number of holes per square metre are easily adjustable. This service is carried out by CACG Committee Members who have great experience of this machine, for which, unfortunately we have to make a charge of £60.00 per square.

This service will also be available and if you would like this service for your square as well as or instead of vertidraining please contact us so that we can arrange the logistics for getting around the county.


It is essential to use a variety of aeration techniques to prevent pan layers being created. This usually happens if you continue to use the same aeration technique set at the same depth, resulting in a compacted layer forming at the base of the tine or core depth. This may cause a root break as the root cannot force its way through the hard layer.


More information on all of the above can be found on the Groundsman’s section of the Cornwall Cricket League website.


Toro Deep Spiker – Cornwall Cricket

If you have any questions on the above please contact the CGA or the County Pitch Advisor, Simon Johnson on 07875080366 or @ who will endeavour to answer your queries.

Kind Regards

Simon Johnson
Regional Pitch Advisor South West
Grounds & Natural Turf Improvement Programme
Institute of Groundsmanship
Tel: Work 07934 299 827
Home 07875080366