Planning football pitch maintenance

Why do football pitches need regular maintenance?

Football pitch maintenance is an important part of protecting the quality and longevity of the pitch. It is important to avoid compaction of the soil by ensuring that the pitch is not overused and that it has the right drainage system installed. There is no right or wrong way to maintain any specific pitch as each one will require different levels of maintenance to ensure the health of the grass. However, by assessing the pitch in greater detail, it is possible to establish the right pitch maintenance schedule for your specific playing surface. 

To keep the grass healthy, it is important to:

  • Use appropriate fertilisers and weed killers. 
  • Ensure that the pitch is well aerated to enable healthy grass growth. 
  • Water the pitch regularly to keep the grass healthy 
  • Remove any debris from the playing surface 
  • Check for any damage to the playing surface that could affect the quality of each match 
  • Repaire any divots or damaged turf

By following these steps, a football pitch can be kept in excellent condition for players to enjoy.

Budgets for pitch maintenance

For many, the thought of additional pitch maintenance can seem quite daunting as a full maintenance regime can cost around £10,000 per year. But, providing a detailed inspection is carried out, operations can be selected depending on the current pitch condition as a surface may not require all annual operations, so this will reduce in cost.

Pitch maintenance planning

A site visit by a professional contractor is essential. A sports pitch contractor will be able to assess the condition of the whole grounds, as the various maintenance operations may not necessarily be required for each pitch. However, this does depend on the purpose of the pitch and its current state. In conjunction with “Pitch Power”, funding may be available to help clubs with additional maintenance costs. 

Football pitch renovation

During the football season, pitches can receive a huge amount of use both from matches and training schedules. Other uses such as car boot sales and summer fairs may also take place on public access pitches. To help maintain the longevity of the pitch and the overall grass health, a suitable pitch maintenance plan should be in place to not only maintain the health of the grass sword itself but also monitor the overall ground conditions.

To keep a pitch in good playing condition it requires more than just grass cutting. Some of the following operations would need to be carried out to ensure longevity of the pitch.

 Some operations to help improve your pitch may be: 

  • Selective Spraying – to keep unwanted broadleaf weed growth under control. 
  • Fertilising – to add vital nutrient to promote grass/root growth.
  • Aeration – to allow much needed oxygen to get to the root system and help alleviate soil compaction this also assists with surface drainage.
  • Drainage – to allow water to flow through the topsoil and be carried away to prevent water logging.
  • Harrowing – to remove any thatch within the grass sward and any dead vegetation.
  • Top Dressing – using a sports grade sand this builds up and restores surface levels and improves surface drainage. 
  • Seeding / Overseeding – this improves the overall grass sward and can introduce more suitable grass species to promote growth. 

With all or a combination of the operations above, the overall condition of a pitch could vastly improve, if continued. Just carrying out additional pitch maintenance for one year is not cost-effective, as the improvements would not last if maintenance is not continued year after year.  

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