This is the APRIL installment of Horticulture Week's month-by-month guide to essential maintenance and management tasks for turf and sports facilities such as bowling greens, cricket pitches, football pitches, rugby pitches, golf, lawns and other recreational and fine turf.

All turf areas
Check for disease activity and treat appropriately
Monitor weed invasion
Increase frequency of mowing and begin lowering cutting height

Winter games pitches
Don’t worry about destruction if extra matches are run, it’s nearly the end of the season
Do a soil analysis
Continue divoting and maintaining an even surface
Apply quick-release fertiliser
Water if necessary
Plan deep aeration for after the last game
Increase mowing frequency and mow to 25mm for football and 35mm for rugby
Ensure end of season renovation materials have arrived

Renovate greens, include approaches
Renovate winter greens and tees
Brush or switch as necessary
Mow greens to 5mm, tees to 8mm and fairways to 12mm
Continue to aerate
Top up bunkers

Mow to 6-7mm in case of cold weather
Renovate, leaving two weeks before first match
Brush or switch as necessary
Roll lightly
Top up ditch material
Aerate with slit or solid tines
Begin thatch control at end of month
Clean ditches

Ensure square is ‘squared up’
Reduce mowing gradually to 2mm for the square
Roll to achieve a solid base
Carry out a light scarification to the square
Apply a spring fertiliser
On the outfield measure out the stripes and mow to 15mm
Repair bare areas and monitor weed invasion

Gradually lower cutting height to 6-8mm for ornamental use, 12mm for general and 25mm for amenity
Hollow tine if not too dry
Scarify and apply suitable feed
Control moss
Overseed bare patches and top dress

*Jobs should only be undertaken when ground and weather conditions are suitable and will vary according to location and may vary significantly from year to year. And remember that while the year nicely divides into 12 months, activities often overlap.

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