Outdoor grass bowls is played as a summer sport, the season commencing from the end of April to the end of September.
The closed season allows for an end of season renovation, hopefully while the good germination weather is still with us and continues through the dormant winter period until the spring.
If end of season renovation work hasn't been completed fully before the cold weather sets in, in the autumn, then don't panic, the spring usually allows enough time to make any repairs, (over seeding and top dressing) and get any new grasses established in time for the start of the season.
See our Useful Information section for the rink and overall measurements of the bowling green.
In brief there are two types of green, a flat green and a crown green. Typically flat greens are found in the south of the UK whereas crown greens are usually situated further north. A typical green is usually square in shape and should be between 37 and 40 metres in width and length. The area of an average sized green will be 1500 m².
The maintenance criteria for the sport of bowls is to provide a firm, even and true surface. The woods need to roll on level ground that is free from undulations that may otherwise cause the wood to deviate. The surface should also be weed and moss free, with a complete coverage of suitable grasses. In Crown bowls the centre of the green is cambered, this adds interest to the bowling, but the local levels of the green still need to be true.
Our monthly diary is not 'set in stone' and is purely designed as a guideline. There are variables involved that will ensure that no working template can be created, the weather, the site location, aspect, soil characteristics, finance available will help to determine your own working diary.
Please feel free to e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org your helpful hints and tips for any months during the year.
Another quiet month in terms of how much physical work can be achieved on the green. However it allows extra time for the periphery areas to be worked on in readiness of the spring onslaught.
Switching or drag brushing will be the order of the day, assuming the ground isn't frosty. If there is frost-stay off! However when the weather is mild you need to brush to remove dew, and get the grass dry and standing up, but also to disperse any worm casts to avoid the grass becoming smothered. Worm casts are best dispersed when drying and therefore crumbly, which goes against brushing to remove the dew. The necessary evil of brushing is to stop disease multiplying and spreading via water droplets, so there isn't much of a choice. If time allows brush the green again, late afternoon to disperse any worm casts that have emerged during the day, while the grass leaf is dry.
As stated in January, the cold air and night time frosts, should keep diseases in check, but keep an eye on the green and if necessary spray with a contact fungicide. At the end of January 2003, the country experienced over a week of unnaturally high temperatures. These temperatures will have encouraged disease, but also promoted some growth. So, again, if weather conditions allow, tip the green with the mower at least twice during the month. Groundsmen tend to vary in ideas as to the height of winter cut, but typically it is tipped between 12-20 mm.
If there wasn't time or conditions didn't allow in January, apply a winter turf tonic to help the grass to remain resilient to fungal attack and be in a position of strength for the spring growth. The tonic needs to have a minimal dose of Nitrogen, some phosphorous, plenty of Potassium and some iron, but the actual amounts will be determined by the soil analysis of each individual green.
Continue your aeration of the green (subject to weather and soil conditions) by slit, solid or chisel tining at least once during February. Aeration is most important in helping to remove surface water and provide air space for the roots to grow into.
It isn't too late yet to put your machines in for a service but if the mowers are back having already been serviced, then make sure they are stored safely and securely. The winter months are an ideal time for thieves, usually because there are few people around out of season-so be vigilant.
Assuming that the ditches are cleaned out and free of rubbish, check to see if you need to order any additional cork or ditch material in readiness for when the ditches are refilled.Keep the grass banks in trim and while there is little plant growth and if the weather is fine, it's worth considering a quick coat of Cuprinol or similar on perimeter fencing.