The circle of decline describes a situation that many greens fall into after years if not decades of conventional greenkeeping. Breaking into the Circle of Decline is an urgent requirement for many UK bowling clubs. Let me explain...
Over 37 years of greenkeeping and teaching greenkeepers I have come to notice that bowling green performance comes down to just 3 major characteristics. Sounds easy then, doesn't it? Well it actually gets even easier when you identify the one key problem that contributes more to poor bowling green performance than any other.
With the new bowling season bearing down on us fast, I’ve received a good few emails and calls asking me whether or not it’s worth trying to start the Performance Greenkeeping Program from scratch so close to the new season?
Several of these contacts had the feeling that there was no point starting at this late stage and that it might be better to wait until the autumn, but all that would guarantee is yet another season of conventional greenkeeping and mediocre green performance.
The truth is that of course it would be great if every club could get in touch well in advance of the season opening day and request a full soil analysis and greenkeeping plan to work from, but all is not lost if you haven’t done that yet and there is a way you can usefully get started now.
If you’ve been a reader of Bowls Central and/or Performance Bowling Greens for any length of time, you will know that the conditions that make greens perform badly, on the whole originate from decades of conventional greenkeeping.
This has featured excessive use of high salt mineral fertilisers, lawn sand, sulphates of iron and ammonia and in many cases the over use of sand top-dressings. To top it off, there has been a frequent need for fungicides to combat outbreaks of turf disease.
All of these problems combine to form what I’ve termed the Circle of Decline.
Therefore changing this condition around is the answer and you can do that by starting to liven up your soil’s biology now.
Spring Kick Start
I’ve put together a package of materials you can use to get started on improving the soil in your green this spring.
If you look after the soil, it will serve you well by encouraging the finer, perennial grasses and start to reduce the percentage of annual meadow grass and it’s associated problems.
Greenkeeping Tasks for September and October have become to some degree a bit repetitive. This would be fine if the desired results followed, but in the majority of cases this can't be said to be true. This month John explains the science behind the perfect autumn renovation plan to get your green started down the road to consistent high performance.
August is upon us and the days are shortening noticeably already. Thought's might already be turning to autumn and the plan for renovations of the green. My Greencraft Column in Bowls International this month explains how you can assess your green and make the right decisions for autumn renovation works.
As if by magic we've zoomed past the longest day already, but, the nights won't be drawing in, as my Mother used to say any time soon, so still plenty of nice light evenings to get out on the green.
Last month I talked about being vigilant for the common early summer disease problems like anthracnose and red-thread. It seems that was prudent as many clubs contacted me to say they had problems.
In Performance Greenkeeping tasks for July, I'm looking at the effects of weather fluctuations and share some timely advice on Localised Dry Patch, mowing, plant nutrition and an intensive, but cheap compost tea regime for struggling greens.
A lot of us experienced a very dry start to spring, but might now be regretting complaining about that as we are faced with seriously biblical rain. In his article on the Performance Greenkeeping tasks for June, John takes account of the weather fluctuations and offers some timely advice on Anthracnose, Red Thread, aeration, irrigation, Localised Dry Patch, mowing and plant nutrition.
A lot of us have experienced a very dry spring. In his article on the Performance Greenkeeping tasks for May, John takes account of the dry spell and offers some timely advice on aeration, irrigation, Localised Dry Patch as well as the correct way to tackle the more routine jobs of mowing and plant nutrition.
Essential Greenkeeping tasks for April include Scarification, moss control, microbe boosting, disease prevention and keeping the surface clear of worm casts. Now is the time to make soil nutrient balance corrections and to get some starter fertiliser and bio-stimulants on to boost soil microbial activity and get the grass growing well. Take advantage of my soil analysis service for a positive start to the 2017 season with a done for you greenkeeping schedule.