Top dressing with high sand content composts has become a tradition in bowling green maintenance but it is far from beneficial.
- After 3 decades of routine top-dressing most greens are “inert” and can’t support a population of beneficial soil microbes.
- Soil microbes break down thatch and release nutrition to the turf.
- High sand and thick thatch usually result in Localised Dry Patch which is a long lasting, devastating condition that causes the soil to repel water.
- The surface smoothing and levelling actions of top-dressing are massively over-sold and of very little relevance to producing a smooth, fast green.
- Most bowling green irrigation systems are inadequate to start with, but are completely useless in the face of localised dry patch.
The process of top-dressing a bowling green has become so ingrained in our maintenance practices that it is hard to find a club that doesn’t do it, but over the decades it has devastated a huge number of greens in the UK.
Do your green and your wallet a favour and break the habit this year.