Hi all and welcome to my first blog!
My name is Lewis Williams and I am head greenkeeper at the isle of thornes Bowls club, and have been for the past five years. I also own my own grounds maintenance company ,Roots Gardening & Grounds Maintenance Ltd.
Well the weather certainly has not been on our side, we would be better off building an ark at this rate. I am going to discuss some of the operations I have managed and some that I would’ve liked to have achieved. Luckily we managed to get the green cut in late November, reducing it down to 10mm, the recommended height during winter.
So throughout December I have been religiously checked for disease. I did stumble across some fusarium(pic above), normally I would’ve treated it straight away with a fungicide, but due to the cost of this treatment I gambled. I was due to apply a granulate fertiliser with a high iron content, anyway and felt that this product would help treat this disease. It also contains seaweed extract, which in these mild conditions will help with any sorrow looking greens. Overall I was happy with the outcome of this treatment, but will be paying close attention to any fungal activity.
I would have liked to have aerated this month, but due to the weather I have not been able to do so. Aeration is key, especially this time of year, we are in a sport where we do not have to worry about how the green will play during the winter, unlike golf. I tend to aerate and leave the holes open for as long as possible, allowing for gaseous exchange to take place over a longer period.
In the summer though it is key to cut straight after carrying out aeration, as this will make the green slightly bumpy if not completed.
Another product I use during the winter period is sulphate of iron. This is great for toughening up the sword, to help with disease and for treating moss and its spores. The treatment of spores is key for me as every green has moss spores present. I normally apply this once a month and then follow up with aeration, this is due to a higher sulphur content in this product. By aerating this helps to break the sulphur content down, resulting in no change or very little to the ph level.
All I can say is do not carry out any works if the green is too wet, if water rises as you walk on the green, it is to wet! You will do more damage than good and we are lucky with our sport that we have a long off season, so plenty of time to get it in tip top shape.
My schedule of works for January
Mow when you can at 10mm.
Check for signs of disease and treat when needed.
Aerate when you can minimum of once if ground allows.
Apply sulphate of iron.
Apply a Autumn/winter feed if you feel it needs it, at the end of the day you know your green!
It’s time to think about getting the mower serviced and cylinder reground and a new bottom blade if needed.
Thank you for your time reading my first blog!
Happy Christmas one and all..