The recent hot and dry weather has seen the UK experience forest fires for the first time in a lot of years.
It’s a hot dry spring, just the thing to get the bowlers out and active early in the season.
But, of course with this comes a problem. How do you get a green that has just come through one of the most prolonged and cold winters on record to perform well when the underlying soil is powder dry?
Performance turf requires heat and moisture and it is inevitable that you will have to turn to your irrigation system at this time to keep your green’s progress moving forward. Failure to keep up now could result in a disastrous season later on when the green dries out unevenly, succumbs to Localised Dry patch or simply doesn’t perform due to a lack of moisture early in the season.
Over the last week or so we have been inundated with readers asking for advice on the correct irrigation of bowling greens.
There are 2 key pieces of information you need to know before you can hope to keep up with the irrigation requirements of your green:
- How much moisture (in mm) is being lost from the green each day due to evaporation from the soil and transpiration from the grass plants? The combined effect of this is, strangely enough called Evapo-transpiration or ET
- How much water (in mm) does your irrigation system apply for each minute of run time?
Armed with these two pieces of information you can water your green confidently without over or under doing it.
So what are the answers to these questions?
There is a detailed article on this here.
But you’ve come here for a cheat sheet haven’t you?
For a very large proportion of bowling greens the answers are as follows:
- Around 25mm per week.
- Approximately 0.5mm per minute of run time; i.e. 1mm requires 2 minutes of run time.
These answers are based on averages; so if you are suffering blisteringly dry heat the first answer could easily be higher. If you have anything other than a standard specification, 4 pop-up sprinkler system from one of the main manufacturers such as Toro, Hunter, Rainbird etc the second answer could be a lot different, particularly if you are using a hose.
Getting irrigation right is essential to achieving a consistently high performance bowling green.
For more detailed information on the problems associated with this issue have a look at these articles.
For more in depth information on calculating your irrigation requirements and inputs have a look here.
As always any questions or comments please feel free to contribute.