Bowling Green Maintenance Tips
To support groundsmen, the following bowling green maintenance calendar has been supplied courtesy of Pitchcare.
This calendar should be used as a guide only.
As a new year begins, it is perhaps a good time to reflect on what you have achieved last year, and then plan what you want to achieve in the coming year. Keeping records and monitoring the performance of your turf facility should be encouraged. How can we be expected to know how to improve the condition of the sward if we do not recognise or understand its current state?
Many greens will have suffered as a consequence of the recent poor weather and changing soil and air temperatures. Grass growth will slow if temperatures remain below 5 degrees Celsius. Also, the recent snow cover may have incubated and promoted an outbreak of fusarium or snow mold disease. Depending on its severity, it will probably need a dose of fungicide to keep it under control.
Many greens have taken a battering from the recent poor weather, especially those who suffered long periods of snow cover, after which they suffered from various degrees of disease damage.
April sees the start of the new bowling season with many bowlers desperate to get on the greens and get some much-needed practice and matches. Green speeds are likely to be slow to start with due to the fact that many greens are wet, lush and bumpy.
With April being one of the driest and warmest on record , it comes as no surprise that may clubs are desperate for some rain, particularly those with little or no adequate watering facilities.
It has been a tough couple of months for many bowls clubs, with greenkeepers struggling to keep their greens watered due to the prolonged dry period, coupled with drying winds. As fast as water went on, it evaporated from the surface.
July will be a busy month for bowling clubs; there is usually a high demand for play, with many clubs involved in domestic competitions. Greens could well be in play on a daily basis. Coupled with the long daylight hours and warm temperatures, grass growth will be quite prolific, if there is plenty of moisture about.
It would seem the weather front has finally changed, for the better in terms of promoting grass growth on your bowling greens. The recent downpours have replenished the greens adequately to stimulate some much needed growth. Many greens will benefit from a feed during these conditions, as the moisture will activate any granular applied fertiliser products.
The weather this year has been quite challenging, the dry spring set the scene for what was going to be a tough year for greens maintenance. There has been a lot of dry patch on many greens, especially crown greens where water runoff is more prevalent. Clubs with adequate watering facilities will not have suffered too badly; however, clubs with limited water resources will have struggled to control the problem and may be faced with having large areas of dead grass on their greens.
Ideally, end of season renovations should have been completed by now, making good use of the favourable weather conditions. However, we still see a number of clubs playing late on to the end of September. For many clubs who do not have adequate watering facilities, the recent dry weather has had a detrimental effect on their greens in terms of them drying out.
There is no such thing as putting the green to bed and forgetting about it until the spring. It is important to keep the sward cut (topped) at between 10-12mm and carry out regular aeration and brushing to keep the surface clean and open to the elements. A dose of liquid iron would not go amiss, this helps harden the grass plant and maintain some colour.
Up to the last week in November, many parts of the country where still experiencing spells of mild weather, soil and air temperatures in double figures, with grass still growing. This mild weather was also exacerbating a lot of fungal disease, with outbreaks of fusarium and red thread causing the most concerns.