The Art of Cutting a Cricket Outfield

The Art of Cutting a Cricket Outfield

The Art of Cutting a Cricket Outfield

Regular mowing is essential for a cricket outfield to ensure optimal grass length, which allows for smooth ball roll and enhances player safety during dives and movements. A well-maintained outfield not only improves gameplay but also creates a positive first impression and boosts enjoyment for both participants and spectators.


Equipment Used for Mowing

Cricket outfields are extensive areas that require robust equipment to maintain. Here's a look at the different types of mowers used:

  • Large Pedestrian Cylinder Mowers: These mowers have a cutting width of 36” or more and often come with a seat attachment for the operator like our Allett Regal 36 or 42.
  • Ride-On Self-Propelled Mowers: These include cylinder or rotary mowers like triple golf greens/tees mowers or fairway mowers with 5 to 7 cutting units.
  • Trailed Gang Mowers: Mounted on a tractor or similar vehicle, these mowers cover large areas efficiently.
  • Rotary Deck Mowers: Driven by a tractor power take-off these mowers have a large working width.

The key features to look for are a wide cutting width for efficiency, precise height control across different units and the ability to follow the ground’s contours. Selecting the right equipment ensures the outfield can be mowed within the available time and frequency, maintaining the desired grass height without leaving piles of clippings. Make sure you are choosing a cylinder mower for the best quality of cut.

If the outfield is used for winter sports like football or rugby consider the range of cutting heights and ensure low ground pressure by using suitable turf tyres.



Ideal Cutting Height and Frequency

During the playing season aim to keep the grass height between 10 to 20 mm. This height promotes healthy grass growth and ensures a smooth ball roll. The exact height should be determined by factors such as soil moisture, temperature, time of year, surface smoothness and the level of play.

Cutting the grass shorter can increase ball roll speed, but other factors also play a role, including:

  • Grass species and their growth patterns
  • Weather conditions, drainage and soil moisture
  • Surface hardness and compaction
  • Surface smoothness and undulations
  • Slope from the square to the boundary
  • Weed presence

Players generally prefer grass lengths under 18 mm for good ball roll. Avoid setting the cut height too low to prevent scalping and equipment damage especially on uneven surfaces.

Mow as needed, ensuring no more than one-third of the grass length is removed in a single session. Typically, this means mowing one to three times per week during the season depending on growth conditions. Ideally, mow twice a week, but adjust to three times during rapid growth or once during dry periods to avoid excessive clippings that can affect ball roll.


Grass Clipping Management

Most of the top cricket clubs collect clippings but they are also using a lot of fertiliser to replenish what has been taken away. Leaving clippings on your ground will build thatch levels up which is detrimental to your outfield and stops vital nutrients and water getting to the soil. Grass will also slow the outfield down and batters won't get the best out of their shots!


Presentation Tips

To achieve a polished look, create stripes with the mower- your cylinder mower will have a rear roller. The common pattern is a checkerboard of stripes parallel and perpendicular to the direction of play or going from the clubhouse where the majority of the crowd are sitting. Use long string lines initially to set even stripe widths then cut in these lines. Typically, stripes are two pitch widths (6.10 m) wide. Once established stripes can be maintained without string lines if the operator can drive straight and align the mower correctly.

Cutting in alternating directions helps reduce grass nap preventing ball deviation- most professional clubs double cut and cut both ways. While striping enhances visual appeal, it’s not necessary for play. 


Benefits of Regular Mowing

  • Ball Roll: Correct grass height improves ball roll and overall outfield performance.
  • Grass Health: Frequent mowing at the right height reduces stress on grass, prevents clumping and reduces thatch.
  • Sward Health: Clean cuts result in healthier grass.
  • Presentation: First impressions matter; a well-maintained outfield looks professional.
  • Weed Control: Frequent mowing helps control weeds.


Practical Tips

  • Pre-Start Checks: Always check the mower before use and follow safety guidelines.
  • Height Consistency: Ensure all cutting units are set to the same height to avoid unsightly stripes.
  • Cut Direction: Regularly change the direction of cut to prevent grass nap.
  • Maintenance: Clean and maintain the mower after each use to ensure optimal performance.
  • Clipping Management: We advise against dropping clippings.
We recommend the Allett Regal for the outfield which you can fit a trailing seat to. You can also use the C34 which also takes a trailing seat.

By following these guidelines, you can maintain a high-quality cricket outfield that enhances gameplay and leaves a lasting impression on everyone who visits your ground. Happy mowing!

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