Dave Saltman gives an update on the pitch ahead of the big kick-off
Shrewsbury Town Groundsman Dave Saltman is delighted with how the pitch is looking ahead of the start of the 2018/19 season.
Town get their campaign underway on Saturday at home to Bradford City and despite the hot weather this summer, Saltman believes the pitch is in a good place.
“I’m really pleased now, given the youthfulness of the pitch. The grass is still quite young, it hasn’t fully matured, but we’ve got a full head of grass now.
“With the weather, as much as it’s been a problem getting it irrigated, the dry weather has forced the plans to send its roots down, so we’ve got a really good root structure underneath, which will help with stability.
“Every day now is almost a 100% improvement on the previous day, so over the next few weeks it will just get better, and better, and better.”
It has been just seven weeks since the seed was sowed after the Lionel Richie concert, but Dave believes things are in a better state than they were this time last year.
“We’re cutting it daily and have been for about three-and-a-half weeks”, said Saltman.
“We’re pruning it, which is encouraging it to be more vigorous, send out more shoots and thicken up, so it really is starting to turn into a proper carpet now.
“The levels are much better this year, back to where we want them to be, much happier with that. We are generally just happy.
“We’ve got a few issues on the sides where we’re on thick clay and because we’ve had to use a lot of irrigation they are waterlogged, but even the grass is coming through those now.”
The start of the season is always a busy time for grounds staff and Saltman explained what will go on over the next couple of days.
“Rich is cutting it now, tomorrow it will be double cut and it will be double cut again on Friday”, Dave continued.
“We are probably going to try and get a spray on it tomorrow with some more seaweed, sugar and biostimulants to green it up a bit more and then on Saturday morning we will have a cut prior to having a mark out and putting the goals up.”