Polo Ground Maintenance

The maintenance of a polo lawn will be determined by several factors, the most important of which will be:

  • Standard of surface required by owner
  • Budget available for maintenance
  • Amount of use the lawn receives
  • Quality/expertise of staff in maintaining the ground
  • A good manager to bring all the management elements together.

Organisation of the right maintenance works will be paramount and will be affected by the above factors enormously. Through the year the outline of work required is likely to be something like the following.


March/April – (Preparation Phase)

Grounds are prepared for the on-coming growing and playing season. This will take the form of:

  • Increased grass cutting frequency
  • Reducing height of cut
  • Harrowing/scarification
  • Possibly continue aeration programme if soil type suitable
  • Apply light roller to stimulate grass
  • Apply fertiliser (type will depend on ground and sward type)
  • Pest and weed control
  • Repairing animal damage e.g. fox diggings, mole damage, etc.
  • Repair of any damaged areas
  • Prepare and repair hardware associated with the game of polo e.g. paint and erect goal posts, set up boards, position/set up spectator facilities, etc.

May to September – (Main Playing Season Phase)

  • Regular inspections of the playing surface
  • Mowing may continue subject to growing conditions
  • Divoting and repairs to damaged areas
  • Fertiliser application where necessary
  • Plant growth/conditioning product application e.g. Amino acid supplements, growth regulators, etc.
  • Irrigation as required to maintain plant life
  • Top-dressing with sand or other material determined by surface and soil characteristics.

September to March – (Recovery Phase)

  • Regular inspections of the playing surface
  • Mowing may continue subject to growing conditions
  • Divoting and repairs to damaged areas
  • Fertiliser application where necessary
  • Plant growth/conditioning product application e.g. Amino acid supplements, growth regulators, etc.
  • Irrigation as required to maintain plant life
  • Top-dressing with sand or other material determined by surface and soil characteristics.

Of course there are other issues relating to the management of the grounds such as management of paddocks, stabling, staffing (at the larger facilities), etc.

It is important that clubs and non-prestige venues realise the importance of correct polo field maintenance. Ponies are not cheap and the welfare of them and the players can be jeopardised if maintenance is not undertaken correctly or sufficiently. It is not uncommon to see ponies whose value may be 70, 80 or 90 thousand pounds being ridden on facilities where the maintenance budget is less than the value of a single pony! Some investment in surfaces is therefore required as well as the animals.

Thanks to Noel MacKenzie of sportsturfconsulting.co.uk for writing this article.


 

Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

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