August Bowls Diary 2004

Laurence Gale MScin Bowls

August Bowls Diary


By Laurence Gale

August is a very busy month for the sport. Currently, the Men's World Bowling Championships is being played at the Northfield National Centre for Bowling at Ayr in Scotland, and Warwick District Council are preparing their greens in Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa for the Worlds Women's Bowling Championships in September. Numerous clubs up and down the country are accommodating annual tournaments at a time when the grass may be under severe stress from lack of water and being maintained at a low height of cut of 4mm or less.

As many clubs do not have appropriate irrigation systems many greens will be suffering from a lack of water. If the recent dry spell continues many greens will be showing signs of drought stress where the sward turns a bluish green colour prior to turning brown. They may even develop into dry areas on the green, sometimes these dry patches can become hydrophobic i.e. not allowing any water through into the soil profile.

These dry areas (dry patches) are often seen on ridges or high spots or where the underlying soil is very sandy or free draining or compacted. Once they have been allowed to dry out, it can often take a lot of effort and time to re-wet these areas. To overcome dry patch requires a combination of practices - aeration, the use of wetting agents and large applications of water.

The maintenance regime continues with regular mowing, grooming, feeding, brushing and watering ongoing.

Most of the tasks detailed can be undertaken within a limited budget. Local conditions and circumstances will need to be taken into account. If any members are undertaking any specific work not detailed, please let us know by adding a comment in the section below the diary.

August tasks for Bowls





When conditions allow

Aeration should only be carried out using micro tine aerators (if and when required) as we do not want to disturb the playing surface.


Daily or as required

Brushing/switching of the playing surface keeps the green clean and removes any dew or surface water. Keeping the surface dry will aid resistance to disease.



Keep an eye on fungal disease attack and use approved fungicides to treat infected areas. Red thread can be very prominent at this time of the season.

Drainage channels/gullies

Weekly or as required

Inspect and clean out drain outfalls and gullies. Replace and level up drainage ditch materials.


As required

Fertiliser treatment and turf tonics can be continued in accordance with your annual programme. If you haven't got a fertiliser programme, have your soil tested; try an independent soil analysis company for an impartial set of results.

Most groundstaff will have completed the summer fertilising programme but, depending on the greens needs, may now be looking to applying some turf tonics to reduce sward stress. These come in the form of amino acid/iron products (Amino-sorb F and liquid iron by Rigby Taylor). These products are designed to help the grass plant overcome stress. The choice of material and how well it works will be dependant on factors such as soil type and weather, with moisture and air temperature being the catalyst for growth.


Fortnightly or as required.


Irrigation equipment


August is normally expected to be the driest month of the year, when both soil temperatures and air temperatures are at there highest, increasing evapotranspiration rates (loss of water from both plant and soil surfaces). So, attention to irrigation needs are essential in maintaining a healthy sward. Further information about Irrigation of sports surfaces can be see on the link. Irrigation

Litter pick

Weekly or as required

Inspect and clear away litter or debris.



Keep machines overhauled and clean.



Ensure you have organised and ordered the appropriate materials for any proposed Autumn renovation works. Don't leave it too late!.

Moving markers and Rinksnorthfield-bowls-players.jpg

Daily / weekly

It is important that the rinks on flat bowling greens are moved on a regular basis to prevent wear.


Two and three times weekly



As required

Carry out any repairs to ditches, paths, gates, floodlights and other building features.

Seed bare & worn areas

When conditions allow

It is important that you use a compatible rootzone may-bowls-bare.jpg

Seeding sparse or bare areas can be continued. Any rise in soil or air temperatures will help germination. Use germination sheets to aid this process but remove the sheets regularly to check for diseases. Remember that without good seed to soil contact the operation is useless.

Ensure you use new seed as old material may not give you the required germination rates.

Soil tests

Ideally once or twice a year, or as required.

Soil sampling is an important part of groundmanship. The results will enable the manager to have a better understanding of the current status of his soil and turf. There are many tests that can be undertaken, but usually the main tests to consider are:

  • Particle Size Distribution (PSD) this will give you accurate information on the soil type and it's particle make up, enabling you to match up with appropriate top dressing materials and ensuring you are able to maintain a consistent hydraulic conductivity (drainage rate) of your soil profile.

  • Soil pH, it is important to keep the soil at a pH of 5.5-6.5, a suitable level for most grass plants.

  • Organic matter content, it is important to keep a balanced level of organic matter content in the soil profile.

  • Nutrient Levels. Keeping a balance of N P K nutrients within the soil profile is essential for healthy plant growth.

Once you have this information you will be in a better position to plan your season's feeding and maintenance programmes.

Top Dressing


As required

Top dressing is usually carried out in spring and autumn in conjunction with the renovation programmes. However, some bowling clubs have a policy of applying top dressing materials during the season. It is important an appropriate top dressing material is sourced to ensure compatibility with the existing rootzone materials of your green.

The last thing you want to encourage are rootbreaks in the green.

Spreading of the materials can be achieved by several methods, utilising pedestrian or ride on disc or drop action top spreaders, or by hand using a shovel and a barrow.

It is important to get an even spread of material, the aim is to put on a very light dressing, followed by brushing in with a lute or drag brush/mat to restore levels.

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