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Dr Ian Plummer

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Lawn Care
Using Turf for Croquet Lawns
Kevin Carter, kevin@profundus.com.

Extracted from Nottingham Croquet News Group

At Berkshire Croquet club we have been investigating the best means of laying a new court to a high standard. I thought other clubs may be interested in some of our findings - and we are also pleased to hear of the experiences of others, positive or negative.

We started looking at seeding, but were perturbed by advice that seeding this month would result in a surface which we would be lucky to be playing on before the end of next season.

Switching our attention to turf, we found to our surprise that this method was cheaper, quicker and more reliable. We noted that Southwick had put down some turf in the Spring and it was playing well at the inter-counties at the end of May. One of the companies we talked to had laid the new Wimbledon No. 1 court last autumn and it was played on in June.

The price for top quality bent/fescue mixture is £2-2.50 per sq m (a croquet court, including an apron around, is 900 sq m) + VAT. Companies such as Inturf, Lindum and Rolawn supply it in great rolls, like a carpet, and lay it by machine. One company recommended a mixture which included smooth-stalked meadow grass for greater resilience

The greater cost is preparing the surface on which the turf is laid. If you have a basically flat surface and you are just raking existing top soil and levelling by laser, then a contractor will charge about £1800 pounds + VAT. If, like us, you are stripping the top soil, levelling the sub-soil, then putting back the top soil, then double this amount.

Immediate aftercare (top dressing and fertilisers) will cost about £500 more. Apparently turf can be laid throughout the winter provided you allow a couple of months of the Spring growing season for it to bed down before playing on it.

So, if any clubs have manky lawns, but full coffers you might get a top quality lawn by next summer for under £5000. 



"Does anyone have any knowledge of drought resistant grass varieties suitable for croquet lawns. Dwarf rye grass?"

Mark Homan responded:

I can corroborate Duncan Hector’s advice. He recommended a minature rye grass to me and I have been overseeding a court with it for sevaral years to great advantage. The variety we both use is Bar Extreme (by Barenbrug).

If drought is the worry a surficant or ‘wetting agent’ can help. I also had a soil test and found that the problem was not just drought, but a lack of trace elements so I repeat the winter feed in early March.( 2011)

Owen Edwards (Australia) writes:

In Victoria (Australia) we are converting to Santa Ana. Info on this: www.ancoturf.com.au/santa-ana-turf and several adjacent websites

Our Club has now had Santa Ana  for two full years

  • Takes less water in Summer
  • Needs no water in Winter-completely dormant and needs no mowing

It is a bit of a worry if the courts are used constantly in winter --we find one particular court where the hoops have had to be moved several times this winter( rabbit runs) have not recovered when the holes ave merely been filled or teased inward. (2011)

Author: Kevin Carter
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Updated 28.i.16
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