When should a football pitch be scalped? How to carry out a successful total regeneration of the pitch? What are the best options and why is the robot mower a sizeable advantage?
Should ground scalping be done frequently?
Where the pitch comprises principally annual meadow grass, it becomes indispensable. All pitches are subjected to damage from “poa annua” (Latin name). At present, there is no antidote to annual meadow grass. This is why regeneration is a recurring step in the life of a pitch. On English pitches, it is done systematically every year. When the pitch is saturated with “poa annua”, it can’t withstand the Winter and intensive play. Spring stripping is then the only solution.
Burn off the ground completely or remove 2–3 cm?
The scalping operation can be done in two different ways: completely burn the ground to really kill all plant life, or “just” remove a 2–3 cm layer of material using a machine like the Koro Topfield Maker. The number of passes will vary according to the type of machine and the needs of the ground. After the abrasion, the surface annual meadow grass and part of the seeds will have been removed.
Laying roll turf or re-seeding?
Choose to lay roll turf or re-seed? The best way of going about it, for complete regeneration, is global sowing. Even though the turf solution can tolerate a game within 3–4 days of laying, there’s no guarantee that the grass will adapt well to its new biotope. The rolls’ environment has in fact been abruptly changed – the grass may never take root. In situ sowing is adapts directly to the soil. However, full regeneration, without turfing, will take 8–10 weeks. But the requirements of the competition seasons sometimes do not leave the pitch this much time.
Mulching by robot mowers: a sizeable advantage
Mulching cuts make it possible to constantly regenerate the organic matter. The additional benefit of the robot system is the number of cuts. The frequency will lead to finer cuts, and hence much finer clippings, which will be more easily attacked by the micro-organisms. The decomposition will be more efficient, which avoids the formation of dense matting. Then the nutrients will be returned very rapidly. Cylinder mowers cannot offer this process. In environmental terms too, mulching is an unbeatable method. It considerably reduces the need for chemical products.