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Bulli / Cricket Clay / Turf

Cricket SA Approved Bulli

It is important to choose a bulli source which give good ball bounce and pace in cricket pitches.That's why we only use the highest quality bulli / clay which is approved by Cricket South Africa for pitch construction and sold for seasonal maintenance to all clubs and schools.

Make sure of your bulli source, and do not used "dirty bulli", clay with too much organic matter,

as this will give you endless weed problems later during your season.

There is another myth that you cannot use another bulli source if your pitch were build with a certain source.

This myth is directly related to customer control and it could affect you negatively money wise.

The two main properties that groundsmen should look for when choosing bulli are:

Permeability It is important that water can pass or leach through the bulli to the bottom of your pitch, and probably to the drainage systems.

This leaching process facilitates the removal of undesirable substances such as Sodium and other salts which are delivered via the irrigation system.

Permeability is also important because it allows water to the lower soil depths to reach deep grass roots and provide a healthy binding turf.

During rolling, water has to make its way to the surface to evaporate and produce the drying and hardening process that results in a wicket surface with that illusive “bounce” quality.

Clay content The clay content requirement varies between 50% - 70%;

Remember that the higher the clay content, the harder the wicket will be to manage and the harder the surface it can produce.

Conversely, the larger the percentage of silt, the more quickly the wicket will break and powder.

The % clay content directly influence the following two characteristics of the bulli:-

Cracking: Higher clay content could cause wide cracks in the pitch.


The grass on the perimeter of these cracks grow very well but insufficient air and water will reach the roots which will result in poor growth.

Organic material can also fall into these cracks causing a soft pitch with poor ball bounce.

Too wide cracks is also dangerous to the batsman as the ball may hit the edges of the cracks and deviate in all directions.

Smaller cracks stimulate grass growth as water and air penetrates easier to the roots.

Essentially these cracks allow for water to quickly wet the whole pitch, which is needed for good pitch preparation.

Low clay content will result in too little or no cracks at all with very little water penetration and results in shallow root development.

Shrinkage: Linear shrinkage should be between 0.08 - 0.15, type of clay 2:1 swell/shrink clay.

Clay swell and shrink as the water content changes due to a clay compound called montmorillinite that contributes significantly to the expansion and contraction properties of Bulli.

Shrinkage cause cracks in the pitches. Excessive shrinkage will result in too wide and large cracks.

Organic matter: Less than 5% organic matter should be present in bulli.

Too much organic matter will cause the pitch to become spongy with poor ball bounce.

Defined as a slow pitch. Fine sand : 20 - 50% & Coarse sand: 0-10%:

Too much sand content in clay, do provide grip to the ball and can damaged the ball.

It also prevent sufficient compaction of the pitch.

The pitch will also deteriorate more quicker than required.

USING LOW GRADE BULLI(Untested sources): It is recommended that you only use bulli tested and approved by Cricket South Africa for maintenance purposes such as top dressing material for your pitches.

It should have a good clay content, shrinkage and cracking characteristics.

If the bulli has a very low clay content, it will not bind together and will not swell and shrink at a correct rate.

This will cause layering in the pitch which result in low and uneven bounce.

Core hollowtining could relieve the layering effects but pitch re-construction can in cases with serious layering problems be the only means of correcting the problem.
artificial grass

Further reading on cricket pitch preparation and maintenance topics refer to following documents:-

Reference... Principles and practice of pitch preparation

Produced under the auspices of the United Cricket Board of South Africa

Prepared by NM Tainton, JR Klug, D Edmondson & RK Campbell (University of Natal) and P W van Deventer & M J de Beer (Potchefstroom University).

Preparation Of A Wicket

One of the icons of cricket pitch curators in Australia, Kevin Mitchell Senior, has produced an in-depth guide to preparing quality wickets.

Basic Guide to Turf Cricket Pitch Preparation

This book was written By John Shannon (Turf Management teacher NMIT and former Premier cricket player) and is a good basic guide to turf pitch preparation.

Cricket Pitch Maintenance
Document written by The Institute of Groundsmanship.

• One More :- Cranfield University :

Guidelines for Rolling in Cricket pitches

by Peter Shipton and Iain James.

Our bulli is used with great success at SuperSport Park - Willowmoore Park cricket stadium and many other high level schools and clubs in and around Pretoria and Johannesburg for the past 20 years.
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We supply both coarse bulli and sifted bulli, both of which were approved by Cricket South Africa.

Coarse bulli is sold per 5m³ loads or bagged, weighing 40kg. artificial grass Sifted bulli, primarily used as top dressing or final layer in pitch construction is sold in 40kg bags.

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