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.
A reasonably quiet month, depending on how much maintenance work was carried out in November and December.
Switching or drag brushing will be the order of the day, assuming the ground isn't frosty.
As with all maintenance operations if there is frost-stay off!
However when the weather is mild you need to brush, firstly to remove dew, and get the grass dry and standing up, but also to disperse any worm casts to avoid the grass becoming smothered.
At this time of year, with cold air and night time frosts, diseases should be kept in check, but keep an eye on the green and if necessary spray with a contact fungicide.
If weather conditions allow, tip the green with the mower once, maybe twice during the month. Groundsmen tend to vary in ideas as to the height of winter cut, but typically it is tipped between 10-20 mm.
I always find too, that due to the free draining sand constructions of most greens, that a winter turf tonic applied in the right conditions will 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.
Again subject to weather conditions, the green should be slit, solid or chisel tined at least once during this month. Aeration is most important in helping to remove surface water and provide air space for the roots to grow into.
If the maintenance of the machinery hasn't taken place yet, get them serviced. Make sure that ditches are cleaned out and free of debris and winter leaves. Trim the grass on the banks, and dig over flower borders and beds.
It's also a good time to get the benches rubbed down, painted or stained.