KEEPING THE GREEN IN TIP-TOP SHAPE

Because no-one wants a rubbish bowling green.

As the new outdoor playing season gets under way, bowlers coming from indoors will be seeking a firm surface, otherwise they will be giving the greenkeeper some grief.

If there is heavy rain after preparing the green, then as it dries out air will be trapped, resulting in a puff pastry effect which will need rolling out. If this is neglected, the bowls will be slowed down and divots could form.

By now, mowing ought to be done a minimum of three times a week. The height of the cut can be reduced to a quarter of an inch if the green is level. If there are a lot of undulations, then it is just not feasible to achieve really short grass.

Brushing is useful since it prevents the ends of the grasses from lying down. The green can be raked if required.

Continue solid spiking once a fortnight to aerate the turf, but do it diagonally so that the run of the bowls is unaffected.

During the season the grass plant is producing leaves, provided the winter work has been completed successfully. Now the greenkeepers’ concern is to maintain the height in order to manufacture its food in the leaf. A safe height to mow, depending on the level, is 5mm above soil level.

Greens containing thatch will need to be cleaned regularly in an attempt to get down to soil level. It is important not to disturb the soil with scarifiers.

Use a scarifier to clean out as much of the dead and dying material as is possible to prevent accumulation and a slow running green.

Feed as required. The plants will soon indicate if there is an absence of food. Keep the green firm, as a loose surface will easily damage – wide rollers do not cause excessive pressure.

Mowing, brushing, rolling, fertilising, spiking and scarifying must be done diagonally, as this will not affect the playing surface.

After play in wet conditions, spike areas, particularly where moisture shows around the mat positions. You are exchanging water for air and the green dries off quicker and retains its firmness.

PROPOSED WEEKLY DIARY…

MONDAY – Brush, shallow spike, mow and turn the green.

TUESDAY – Roll and move rink positions. If fertilising is due, have equipment and materials ready and water in the fertiliser.

WEDNESDAY – Brush and mow – move rink positions. At fortnightly intervals in moist conditions, lightly scarify with a thatch control reel in both directions diagonally to speed up the green.

THURSDAY – Roll and move rink positions. Spike every two weeks diagonally at 100mm with solid tines.

FRIDAY – Brush and mow – move rink positions.

SATURDAY – Roll off the dew to speed up the green by several seconds and move rink positions.

SUNDAY – Brush and mow – move rink positions.

SETTING UP THE GREEN

  • Establish the centre of the green. If going east to west, the measurement must start at the left hand side of the green, both near and far ends.
  • Mark the centre with a red enamel paint line, 75mm long on the edge of the bank section.
  • Proceed to measure from that line to establish three rinks to the right and three rinks to the left, leaving a minimum 600mm each side between both outside rinks and the edges of the green.
  • Once the rink positions are established, also mark them with a short red line. The centre of each rink position will be marked with a red dot to indicate where the rink numbers will be situated.
  • From these coloured marks, further rink positions can be introduced by measuring, say 300mm from the first red line, perhaps with a blue line, and then 300mm from the red dot and so on, always taking the measurements from the left hand side of the green.
  • Up to seven colours can be used, subject to the width of the green, to enable even wear and tear over the whole surface.
  • This procedure must then be repeated on the north and south edges, again starting from the left hand side at both ends after centering up.
  • When six rinks are not required, the rink positions can be changed ‘between rinks.’ For example, number one rink could start on the red dot and the number would be on the red line. The rink divider would also fall on the next dot and this would allow five rinks on grass that has not been previously played on.

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