I had a couple of calls this morning right after the last post went up.
Same question from both callers.
Simple and logical enough question:
“So, how many of the problems that we encounter on bowling greens are merely symptoms of a bigger issue?…and…(I know this is 2 questions!, but both callers asked exactly the same thing)…what are these symptoms?”
Well, its very simple…everything that goes wrong with a bowling green is a symptom of inappropriate maintenance.
There is a kind of hierarchy though:
Poor maintenance practices usually result in excessive Thatch and/or excessive Compaction (they usually go hand in hand) and almost all of the other symptoms we spoke about earlier are in turn symptoms of these two big issues.
Flooding, puddles, poor drainage, fungal disease, localised dry patch, weeds, moss, slime, algae, bumpy surface, skinned heads, loss of grass cover, annual meadow grass ingress, spongy surface, foot-printing, poor grass growth, bare patches, slow surface, uneven surface…the list goes on and on…
These can all be attributed to poor maintenance, which in turn leads to compaction and thatch problems.
You will see some confusion in the list; it’s sometimes unclear if thatch or compaction is the main cause of a problem and that is because the problem is best thought of as circular and not linear.
To explain this better a few years ago I introduced my concept of the Circle of Decline.
Imagine you are 5 years old and your pals are all spinning happily on the roundabout in the park, but you are just watching, wishing you could get on.
Sad, I know, and I’m sorry if I’ve brought back any bitter memories for any of you, but the answer is to just take the plunge and jump on! After all they aren’t going to stop it for you are they?
The Circle of Decline is similar (but I am seriously considering changing it to the Roundabout of Disappointment now), and it’s never quite clear what the starting point is, but the answer to curing it is to just jump in and start doing something positive; and if you start doing something about Thatch and Compaction, then you can’t really go far wrong.
My previous post on the Circle of Decline is here.