Here are the recommended Greenkeeping tasks for November maintenance work for the Performance Bowling Greens Program.
Carrying out maintenance is of course dependent on the weather and underlying conditions. This week in Perthshire we’ve been getting very low temperatures at night, as low as -70C. Bad news for fusarium on those greens still in the renovation phase. Of course, hard frost is also good for breaking up compaction in greens that have been slit tined to schedule, but not so good for getting more slit tining done…swings and roundabouts I suppose.
Here’s what you should ideally be getting on with this month:
Mowing (8mm and at least one cut this month)
Mowing should go on through the winter months when conditions allow. It’s important to keep the height of cut at 7 or 8mm throughout the winter period and not to let the grass get too long at any point. Not only does longer grass encourage disease, by creating a slightly warmer microclimate at the green surface, it also become coarser in texture.
Disease Control and Prevention (get some Liquid Seaweed on)
Greens that are still in the recovery phase probably will see occasional outbreaks of fusarium when the weather is mild and you shouldn’t be too complacent about these if your green is still thatchy, annual meadow grass dominated and/or apt to stay wet and soft at the surface.
Spot treatments of fungicide are still recommended if needed.
Seaweed Liquid with its plethora of trace elements and natural plant inoculants is an essential helper in the soil in deep winter. Trace elements like Copper and Zinc are known to help grass plants fend off attacks from fusarium and other fungal pathogens and its bio-stimulant properties helps to keep the microbe population growing and active.
Dew/worm cast removal
Worm casts left on the surface or smeared into the turf with the mower become ideal seedbeds for weeds next year, so try to make sure you clear them using a switch or brush frequently when conditions allow.
We have over 50 species of earthworm and only 3 surface feeding species’ produce surface casts. They feed surface detritus, taking it back underground, helping to recycle it into soil. If you leave debris on the surface you will get more casting worms, so try to keep it clean.
Worm killers are mostly unavailable now thankfully, as they did more harm than good, so it comes down to suppressing worm activity if they are causing a nuisance. Light applications of sulphur liquid or lentils (granules) can have a good suppressant effect.
More ideas for worm control here.
Deep slit tining
This is the most important job throughout the winter months for any bowling green. By deep, I mean 125 to 200mm, with tines that can get in to the upper limit of this range being preferred.
If you’re starting this kind of maintenance for the first time, the tines might not penetrate to this depth due to hard, compacted layers in the soil, but persevere with twice a month slit tining and you will notice a gradual and incremental improvement in the depth achieved.
If the weather is mild and the green is able to take a pass of the sprayer it’s a good time to brew up and get some soil rejuvenating compost tea on your turf.
Tank mix the compost tea with Liquid Seaweed for an additional bio-stimulant boost to keep plants
More on Compost Tea here.