Taking some Tips from Wimbledon
On a grass surface that gets a lot of use, there are some special points to consider and where better to get some good tips…. Wimbledon in London SW19 where the tennis tournament takes place in mid summer each year.
Wimbledon recently changed head groundsman, Neil Stubley has the big job this year, after top man Eddie Seaward retires after 20 years with the tennis club, looking after the world famous centre court.
For the last 9 years the grass has been the very hard wearing 100 per cent Perennial Ryegrass. If you have need of good hard wear but not necessarily a sports surface 70% Perennial Rye and 30% creeping red fescue may also be a very good recommendation.
The fortnight event of Wimbledon requires that the bounce of the ball on the surface, remains consistent, so watering must be reduced, they use only 3000 gallons during the period, a small fraction of the normal amount. The bounce of course is dependent on the ground rather than the grass, which is rolled and covered to keep the moisture consistent.
The courts are cut each tournament day, their mowers always set to 8mm , to give the maximum coverage but give suitable grip for the players. Several major players this year have been told to adhere to the rules of the club, not just about all white playing gear, but also about the trainers soles, being within specifications, giving the same chance to all players on the notorious grass playing surface. As usual many have found the corners of the courts a little moist, causing slips. A good tip for the home gardener, with less critical uses, in mid summer cut short , perhaps not quite the Wimbledon 8mm, but leave the grass collection box off, when mowing. It will give just a little more protection to the grass in the heat, if it lasts , lets face it , it rarely lasts more than 3 days !
Surface watering is less than useless , if the heat rises much above 28 C. You really need to deep water, soak down to the roots, if you are to avoid the browning caused by the scorching sun. Much more of the water evaporates in the summer heat, before it has time to be absorbed.
Summer Over Seeding
You can overseed in Summer, if you have an area which is looking a bit thin. The results if the weather is really hot will be poor compared to doing this is spring. You will have to be prepared to water very well, to get the same speed and thickness of growth.
Neil Stubley and his huge staff, perform complete grass resurfacing, sometimes as this year between the major events, but by sticking to the basics, aeration , scarification, over seeding, you too can have a fantastic looking lawn, worthy of a grand slam tennis final .