Concentrate on minimising lateral grass growth for greater speed and smoothness.
OK, so this is probably a bit late for this year, but keep a note of it for future reference.
This has been a popular question on the site.
The readers who searched on variations of this theme were essentially asking, “What can be done immediately before a game to improve the playing surface?”
Green speed is hampered by excessive thatch build up, which saps some of the momentum of the bowl, so although there isn’t much that can be done about this 5 minutes before the match starts, making thatch reduction and control a major part of the maintenance strategy will help a great deal.
The other major problem in achieving speed is the control of lateral grass growth on the green. This is when grass grows along the ground instead of straight up. The grass plants develop this tendency in order to avoid damage from the mower blades. It’s an evolutionary process; the grass plants that grow this way survive to create more vegetative growth.
So we want to discourage this habit and promote survival of the more upright plants.
To do this we can employ regular grooming, brushing and verti-cutting.
Using the groomer set to 1.5mm above cutting height for the cut immediately before the game will help a lot with this. The groomer attachment on your mower is designed to tease up lateral growth just prior to being cut by the cylinder.
If you don’t have a groomer on your mower you can usually fit a static brush just behind the front roller and this can also do a good job of teasing lateral growth to the upright position prior to cutting if set properly.
Regular verti-cutting will slice through the lateral growth and tease up blades that would otherwise not be cut properly