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How to Cure Localised Dry Patch in Bowls Greens

Create a healthy living green environment.

This question is an amalgamation of upwards of 50 similar search queries on the site this month.

Essentially what these readers are looking for is a cure for Localised Dry Patch.

As regular readers will know, using the word “cure” in Bowling Green Maintenance is an example of “Symptoms Thinking”

Most problems that occur on bowling greens are symptoms of more fundamental problems and Localised Dry Patch is a case in point.

This is a relatively recent addition to the list of difficulties greenkeepers have to deal with in maintaining bowling greens.

I won’t go into a long description of the problem as that is well documented on the site elsewhere (just click on the LDP tag on the right of the page to go to articles about Localised Dry Patch).

The main thing is to get away from thinking of LDP as something that can be cured; it isn’t a disease; the answer is to change your maintenance practices overall to make sure it doesn’t occur.

This means creating a healthy living soil environment by:

  1. Increasing air within the soil
  2. Minimising thatch
  3. Minimising compaction
  4. STOP using sand-top-dressings
  5. Increase microbial activity in the soil
    1. Firstly by doing 1-4 above
    2. Then helping to improve conditions through use of bio-fertilisers
  6. Use wetting agents in the meantime to help with soil re-wetting
  7. Keep the green surface open throughout the season by using a sarrell roller.

A complete explanation and detailed step by step guidance is included in Performance Bowling Greens, a practical guide

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  1. Joe Scott says:

    I have a bowling Green in Portugal. When I took it over almost 5 years ago it was very soft & wet, so much that Groundsheet were used all year round. Core samples showed a 1-2 inch layer of wet dead matter (like chocolate fudge) 1-2 inches below the surface. I have hollow-tined every year and applied tots of sand. The Green has, in the opinion of many many visitors gone from possibly the worst in the Algarve to one of the best. BUT LDP every summer. I can usually contain by wetting agent, hand-watering etc but lots of work. Bearing in mind that all Greens in the Algarve (Golf & Bowls) are sand-based, any suggestions?

    • John says:

      Hi Joe

      All greens everywhere are now made of very high sand rootzones and they of course are inert as far as soil life is concerned so you will inevitably get a build up of un-decomposed thatch and problems with Localised Dry Patch.

      The answer is to encourage the build up of around 5 or 6% humus in the rootzone via the natural degradation of thatch by soil microbes.

      You can encourage this by using bio-liquid fertilisers instead of mineral salt based fertilisers and by applying bio-stimulants such as molasses and seaweed.

      Sand is never just sand and a particle size distribution analysis will reveal a percentage of silt and clay. These components are important for turf nutrition and moisture retention for plant growth.



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