Hi all and welcome to my bowling green blog, I am going to discuss the works that I have carried out on my green so far this year and how I am managing dry patch on my bowls green.
Lockdown for me has not really happened, I have been privileged to be able to carry on working. This has allowed me to spend more time on my green and re-ignite the passion I have for green keeping!
Recent times have led me astray from what I really enjoy doing and I am in such a better place from being able to put time aside to really get stuck into my green.
So when lockdown first hit and all recreational sports were postponed with the possibility of none being played this year, I devised a plan. My plan was to remove as much thatch from the green as I possibly could as I had no interest in making it look pretty.
My green has always suffered from dry patches and I am adamant this is due to thatch and compaction from years previous and of neglect.
Every year all I wanted from greens where was to look pretty, normally this means over watering, over feeding and not disturbing the sword or soil structure to much, well this year that was out the window!
Down to business
I started by reducing my cut and then hitting hard with the sissis 600 roughly, 10mm into the soil structure. As the soil temps were still low, I felt no need to over seed but I did apply a cold start fertiliser to try and de-stress the current sword.
Every week for six weeks I would alternate from verticutting (just through the sword) and scarifying (roughly 5mm into the soil structure)
My plan was going smoothly, temperatures were on the up and I had decided that I would do one more scarify at 10mm and then over seed, as temperatures were on the up.
Mid-way through scarifying I received a call that the green would be open Monday, my immediate answer was no!!
Thankfully, they understood and allowed me a week’s grace, but this did put me behind as I knew the seed would not germinate in 11 days.
11 days went by, some germination was seen but no way good enough, I reduced my cut to 7mm and applied a granulate longevity fertiliser. I knew it would be a waiting game and I would have to take the moans and groans but at least they were playing!
This Brings me onto the main part of my blog being dry patch on a bowls green. My green suffers bad from this and always has, hence why I have set this as my focus to try and eliminate it.
Dry Patch is commonly caused by
- Compaction, water hits the surface and immediately runs off.
- Thatch, poor maintenance.
- Greasy surface, a light grease is formed that needs to be removed.
- Poor irrigation, sprinklers are not doing their job properly.
Compaction, this year I massacred my green, to remove thatch and decompact areas, the best way to do this in my opinion is to core the green, paying more attention to worse areas.
Standard tine aerating will only compact areas more as it is pushing soil down and to the side of the tine as it goes down.
Scarifying will also decompact if all arising are cleared up properly, I have in the past deep scarified down to 25mm and then immediately top dressed creating nice free flowing soil.
Thatch, this again can be removed by scarifying, but more importantly regular verticutting is a saviour in prevention. If you can do this a minimum of once a month in two directions, you will see a massive improvement on the thatch levels within your green
Greasy surface, right this is the game changer, applications of wetting agents. I apply a wetting agent once a month and have done for years, this year I have been experimenting with different ways to apply a wetting agent.
My Step to Step Programme
The best practise I have found is to
- Verticut the green
- Flood the green (over water).
- Hand water the worst dry patches.
- Apply wetting agent exactly how the manufacturer has stated.
- Flood the green once more.
- Re apply 5 days later if the dry patches are still persistent, then repeat if needed again.
Lots of club will do a maintenance day once a month, where they will verticut and aerate. If you can implement this sequence just listed during this day, you will see a massive improvement to your green.
Irrigation, check it out, check that all sprinklers are moving, check the nozzles are spraying correctly and all areas are receiving water.
A trick I was taught is to place a cup in the middle of the green and various other places, run your irrigation on its normal sequence, then measure how many mm’s you are getting in certain areas of your green.
This will show you where your sprinklers are failing and need adjusting or replacing with new ones
I am not going to state how much water you should put on your green as I feel every green is different, this is something you can learn and adjust over time.
Once the seed had germinated, I applied a liquid feed and iron to help the new sword become healthier and stronger.
My cut is now down to 5mm and I am still following my wetting agent plan!
The above picture speaks for itself; I still have a few dryish areas caused by dry patch, but I will carry on with my wetting agent plan, keep watering and keep feeding!!!
Lastly if you guys have any questions regarding your green or my blog, I am more than happy to try and answers them, we are all on the journey of learning.
I feel we are stronger together when we share our knowledge and ideas.
Dry Patch on my Bowls Green by Lewis Williams (Greenkeeper)
Have you seen our bowls greenkeeper section on our website, if not hit the link- https://turfcareblog.com/category/bowls/
Also check out Bowls England, who run there own advisory service- https://www.bowlsengland.com/greens-advisory-service/
Please note the views and opinions of our bloggers are just that and for professional advice get in touch with The Grounds Management Association, through there regional pitch advisers.
Brian and team