This is the MAY 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
Watch for pests and control when necessary
Control weeds
Mow regularly

Winter games pitches
It’s renovation time
Relieve compaction, scarify, top dress and seed
Water when needed
Mow to 25mm for football and 35mm for rugby

Finish any renovation work
Brush or switch as necessary
Irrigate when needed
Control weeds with a selective herbicide
Aerate greens with slit tines
Apply quick and slow release nitrogen fertiliser
Mow greens to 5mm, tees to 8mm and fairways to 12mm
Top up bunkers

Mow to 6-7mm in case of cold weather
Renovate, leaving two weeks before first match
Roll lightly
Top up ditch material
Brush or switch as necessary
Aerate with slit or solid tines
Change rink positions regularly
Control weeds with a selective herbicide
Begin thatch control at end of month

Scarify the square
Select and prepare pitch
Mow square to 2mm
Irrigate and roll regularly
Scarify and aerate outfield
Mow outfield to 10-15mm
Apply light fertiliser low in nitrogen to outfield
Towards end of month control weeds

Gradually lower cutting height to 6-8mm for ornamental use, 12mm for general and 25mm for amenity
Irrigate, especially after aeration
Scarify and follow through with light application of moss killer
Apply suitable feed
Overseed bare patches and top dress
Change position of benches and other furniture to avoid wear

*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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