The importance of Mowing is often misunderstood especially at local and community level. It is a crucial factor in a Football Pitch Maintenance Programme and this simple task if applied properly can go along way to improving player safety and pitch presentation on local community standard pitches.
Mowing is often neglected and can become an onerous task. Combined with Aeration and Soil fertility, Mowing is a key maintenance practice for a more wear resilient playing pitch. Your grass if mowed properly may also out compete weed invasion for the most part and provide a consistent playing surface to tolerate increasing fixtures for players.
Mowing should not be a onerous task as it should only remove grass clippings one third of its length at any single cut which also avoids the need for collecting grass clippings or the fear of leaving heavy clumps of grass clippings on the surface, so mowing frequency is key.
Frequent mowing means a consistent standard that results in few players realising the pitch was actually mowed or not as they become used to the pitch always been at that standard. Frequent mowing avoids the swards green colour becoming a weakened pale green colour post mowing. Mowing too much grass off the pitch typically results in a weaker grass sward which becomes a less tolerant grass surface to wear and tear from fixtures.
Frequency of mowing is determined by the growth rate of the sward, which is obviously determined by soil temperatures and daily sunlight hours. Typically in the growing season the frequency of mowing between the equinox dates March 21st – Sep 23rd a maximum of two or three cuts per week and once per week in the remaining part of the year. Although some years it is May before full growth kicks in.
Mowing frequency is about allocating the time each week to mow frequently enough throughout the year. It is essential you have a mower that is well maintained with blades sharpened annually. Choice of mower does not need to be expensive but equally you should avoid using a domestic standard mower as this is pointless as they are not designed for regular cutting of three hectares or more of grass per week.
For community based pitches the height of cut is usually best for most clubs somewhere between 40-75mm depending though if the ground is heavy soil or sand based. Hurling and Soccer generally prefer it at a lower height compared to Rugby and Gaelic football.
So mow frequently to ensure it is a practice that almost becomes unnoticeable. Mowing provides for great presentation by mowing in equal straight dark and pale striped lines. Mowing frequently in straight lines and change to a perpendicular direction for every second cut or more gives your pitch an extra distinction.