Leading on from the last article which looked at the relative rigidity of grass plants when observed as a stand of turf, today I want to take a look at a closely linked performance quality of turf and that is turf grass elasticity.
Elasticity is a measure of how able the turf grass is to bounce or spring back to an upright position after being pushed down flat by a bowl, a foot or a mower for example. When the pressure is removed, how quickly do the grass leaves spring back to their upright position?
Turgor, or the grass plant’s relative content of water, the strength of cell walls and the general health of the plant will all influence this. In dry conditions when transpiration is rapid, it might be difficult for the plants to remain turgid throughout the day and some loss of elasticity will result. In extreme dry conditions where the plants have been affected by drought, the leaves can become brittle and break completely. This of course will result in permanent damage to the plant.
In winter it is important that traffic of all sorts stays off the turf if the grass is frozen. When
frosted grass is walked on, you will usually see black footprints on the turf after it has thawed and this is the result of breakage and bruising to the grass plants. This is also permanent and to make matters worse will leave the damaged plants susceptible to attack from fungal diseases such as fusarium at a time when they have few resources to fight back.
As far as bowling green performance is concerned, elasticity is a key component in this respect. Poor elasticity will cause inconsistencies in the surface smoothness, trueness and speed and can be a big contributor to the infamous “bad rink”.
Next time we will be discussing the Resiliency of the bowling green turf, a critical measure of turf performance as it can influence everything from green speed and trueness to how well your green can withstand skinning and even disease outbreaks.
Meantime you can review the previous articles in this series as follows: