As always this season has started off with many greens playing “slow”. The usual reasons apply of course; mowing heights are still above summer level, the frequency of cutting is still low in many cases due to a really slow start to growth in many areas. Many greens are also thatchy and there has been a lot of moss about as we come out of winter, due partly to the excessively wet end to last summer and more significantly to long term Localised Dry Patch problems which are inherently linked to persistent moss problems. Oh yes and of course we are all still Read more
Laser surveying will tell you exactly where discrepancies occur down to about 1cm of change. This can be done on a 1 metre grid so that you end up with a very clear colour coded picture of the green surface.
However, once you have a survey result in front of you, what do you do with it?
Well you could embark on a program of localised top-dressing as I have seen some clubs do, but this is a largely futile process, as you simply can’t make a big enough impact in a reasonable timeframe for it to be truly noticeable or beneficial or worth the investment. In to the bargain, as you are doing this the green is changing all of the time.
Heavy rolling should be avoided, but regular light to medium weight rolling with a tru-level type roller is very beneficial.
In the end you must Read more
Last week’s post on green-speed has raised a few questions, a lot of them along the lines of
“How can we afford to cut the green 7 days a week?”
In the introduction to my book Performance Bowling Greens I speak about the danger of traditions.
Traditions are funny things, because they don’t actually seem to need to be very old, or for that matter very sensible for them to take hold; they only need a bit of support from a few people and Bingo! They are “new” traditions.
One of the quirkiest? Cutting the green on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, usually early in the morning. Why has this become a tradition at many clubs?
Well it probably boils down to cost mainly and perhaps convenience and possibly a little bit of misunderstanding of the growth pattern of greens.
Following this cutting plan those playing on Monday evening, Tuesday, Wednesday evening, Thursday, Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday are not seeing or playing the green at anything near its best!
That leaves a lot of potentially dissatisfied customers!
So in answer to the question at the beginning, another question:
How can you afford not to?
However, in Bowling Club Turnaround terms remember dissatisfaction can actually be a good thing as it gives you a huge opportunity to move things to a better state and make an overall positive gain from an otherwise negative situation.
Over the next few weeks I will publish a few articles to help you to evaluate your turf with an aim to improving its performance over the long term.
Density is perhaps the most important component of turf grass quality. When rating the visual quality of turf it is the shoot density of the grass plants above all else that impacts on the look and function of the turf.
Unlike unoformity, turf grass density can be measured by counting the number of shoots or leaves per unit area although this is rarely done in practice.
A high turf grass density helps to crowd out competition form weeds and weed grasses and is a key quality in producing smooth and fast greens.
The shooting density can vary widely between species and also between individual cultivars within the same species.
The cultural practices employed in maintaiing the turf also contribute to shoot density as does the growth habit of the grass type used. The seeding density and the success of the initial establishment program can also be important factors in the relative density of the non-creeping turf grass species such as chewings fescue and browntop bent.
Attention to soil moisture, mowing heights and correct turf nutrition all have a role to play in increasing the shoot density. Bentgrass typically produces the most dense turf with shoot densities sometimes reaching over 1,700 shoots per square decimeter, which is equivalent to 164.8 billion shoots per acre.
Please feel free to post your views, questions and comments about anything bowls related. I know from my weekly visits to bowling clubs in Central Scotland that when it comes to the green, the big questions Read more
Green Speed; the actual surface pace that we can reasonably expect from the green on a regular basis.
Consistency; the ability of the green to replicate high performance throughout the day, week and season and also from season to season.
Predictability; the ability of the green and individual rinks to be set up for play of a reasonably predictable nature, time after time and over time.
Achievability; high performance must be not only physically achievable but also relatively easily achievable and for that the program we put in place must tick the following boxes; it must be:
Workable; with “in-house” labour and skills or with a financially sustainable amount of “bought in” labour and skills.
Sustainable in terms of its environmental, financial and infrastructural requirements.
Replicable time after time within the parameters defined above.
Minimum Input in terms of artificial fertilisers, chemicals and expensive bought in machinery or skills.
The goals we have set above require us to produce a very specific kind of green surface.
The great debate about green speed has raged on since the beginning of the game. But what are the factors known to affect green speed?
In order of their impact on green speed these are the top 7 factors that you should bear in mind. Obviously there are others such as weather patterns, level of play etc, but these are largely out of the greenkeepers control and in any case do not figure highly in green speed management.
Thatch Layer Control and Management; this means knowing the thatch levels on your green and having a feel for how quickly thatch builds up at each point in the year.
Typically thatch will be much quicker to build up in the main growing season and it can easily take greenkeepers by surprise if they don’t keep a watchful eye on the situation.
Reducing a troublesome thatch layer significantly is a job best left for the autumn when severe measures can more safely be taken, but following the Performance Greens program will ensure that you are minimising the occurrence of new thatch through the production and maintenance of a healthy living rootzone and turf.