The routine addition of further sand to bowls greens has led to a method of reactive greenkeeping where we wait for negative symptoms to arise and then treat them. This has created a thankless job for many greenkeepers, where they are constantly having to be vigilant for a host of weeds, diseases and disorders before deciding which pesticide to use. The inert nature of the soils that this system creates means to to get any reaction form the turf in terms of growth, it is usually essential to continually apply chemically derived, strong fertilisers, which themselves help perpetuate the problems due to the high salt content of the minerals used in their manufacture.
The future, however, is bright for those who recognise the folly of this approach and accept that there is already too much sand in their green. They know that some semblance of life needs to be returned to the soil. If you’ve read Performance Bowling Greens, you will of course know that bringing a club around to this way of thinking can be difficult. Clubs are usually not very patient in waiting for results and 40 or 50 years of sand top dressing does things to the soil that are not easily reversed, but reversed they can be and that has been my goal since I started out in greenkeeping.
To that end, I have studied soil science and developed methods of helping greenkeepers to improve their soil to enable the development of fine perennial turf that becomes easier and more economical to maintain, but of course these methods take time. Over the time that I have been doing this, we have moved to a point where more of the industry that supplies the greenkeeping sector are realising that they need to listen to greenkeepers and develop products and materials that help with this transitional process.
- Improves soil structure
- Increases nutrient exchange and retention, CEC within root zones
- Stimulates microbial growth
- You can now add humus to bowling greens easily to help counteract excessive sand
- Improves nutrient absorption & increases nutrient uptake, especially micro nutrients
- Stabilizes pH
- Increases stress tolerance within the plant
- Increases root development
- Improves seed germination
- Easily applied through fertilizer spinners or top dressing equipment
- A source of energy for soil microbes present in the root zone
- A source of organic carbon necessary for healthy root zones
- Enhances shoot and root growth in turf
- Greater chlorophyll content
Total Humus content: 80% minimum
Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC): 600 meq
Granule size: 1 – 3mm