Your nerves are raw, your nails chewed. Have you been watching the Ashes by any chance? The skills and fortunes of the players are, naturally, your focus of attention, but the game is dominated by a third force – the cricket pitch. We thought we’d get a bit nerdy about cricket ground maintenance and how it affects the game. Looking after a cricket field is a year-round labour of love – made easier with pro sports turf.
The pitch is a flat surface normally covered with 1-2mm tall grass. A fresh pitch is required for each match, and they take time to recover and prepare, so large grounds like Lords may have 20 to 30 pitches across an area known as the square. Even small cricket grounds have 5 or 6 pitches.
Ideally, a different soil is used for the square compared to the outfield. In professional pitches the loam (a fertile soil mixed with clay and sand) will have a higher clay content, usually between 26% and 36%, which makes the ground harder.
Pitch quality determines the speed at which the ball reaches the batsman, whether it spins, how high is bounces, or whether it flies straight through to the wickets. It has a massive impact on the outcome of the game. The grass must be constantly brushed, scarified, mowed and rolled to achieve a pitch that delivers good bounce for the ball without giving advantage to the bowler.
The outfield must be carefully maintained too. A cricket ball travels at considerable speed across the outfield, and an uneven surface could cause the ball to fly up and injure a player.
Throughout the year, a groundskeeper will keep the cricket field healthy by supplying the right balance of nutrients. Nitrogen is essential for healthy plant growth. Grass uses nitrogen for chlorophyll production, and chlorophyll is vital for photosynthesis. Grounds keepers will give a cricket field nitrogen year round, and in higher quantities in the growing season.
The grass plant needs phosphorus for root growth, plant development and seed formation, while potassium supports the plant’s general health and makes it more resistance to cold and drought.
Iron makes the grass greener and also helps to keep moss and algae under control, but too much iron will damage the grass and can prevent clay from binding, reducing pace and bounce on a pitch.
All these nutrients will help your own lawn too!
Not all grasses are created equal
If you’re a landscaper designing a sports ground or a communal green space, you need a trade supplier who can offer a durable and resilient turf.
Our pro sports turf is a specialist turf for sports fields, and any space that would benefit from a hard wearing grass. Our grass blend is quick to establish, has an excellent ability to recover, is hardwearing, and disease resistant.