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Essential turf quailities for performance bowling greens – Shoot Density

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.