November Bowls Diary

By Laurence Gale MSc

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All Bowling green autumn renovations should have now been completed. The weather during November is not usually conducive to renovations as the soil and air temperatures are beginning to drop, resulting in the slowing down of seed germination rates which, in turn, reduces the opportunity of increasing new grass populations into the green.

November sees the beginning of leaf fall from trees. This leaf debris can be problematic especially when the they are left to accumulate on the playing surface for a period of time. Lack of air and light to the grass plant will invariably cause the grass to discolour (turn yellow) and even decay. This leaf matter could also initiate diseases onto the green. Regular brushing with a cane or brush will keep the surface clean and tidy and free from debris.

Diseases, particularly Fusarium are often prevalent during the autumn, mainly due to the heavy dews that are present at this time of the year. Moisture on the leaf will allow diseases to move and spread easily. Regular brushing in the mornings to remove the moisture from the leaf is an important maintenance regime to deter an attack of disease.

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.

Task

Frequency

Reason

Aeration

When conditions allow

Aeration should be continued throughout the autumn when conditions allow, the use of a sarrell roller will be beneficial in keeping the surface open.

Brushing/switching

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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.

Disease

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Daily

Diseases are fairly prominent during November. Keep an eye on fungal disease attack and use approved fungicides to treat infected areas. Fusarium can be very prominent at this time of the season. Good cultural practices generally reduces the likelihood of disease outbreaks. See article on diseases for further information. Pest & Diseases

Litter pick

Weekly or as required

Inspect and clear away litter or debris.

Machinery

Daily/Weekly

Keep machines overhauled and clean. Arrange the servicing of your machines ready for the new season.

Materials

Monthly

Keep an eye on your material stocks, (seed, top dressing, petrol, oil )remembering to replenish as required.

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As required

With the season finished and the green closed down for the winter, mowing will only be required to maintain a winter height of cut at 10-12mm.

Perimeter fences and hedges

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As required

Most bowling green facilities are enclosed by fences or hedges. November is a good time to complete any tidying up of these features. Hedges can be pruned and cut to maintain their shape and form.

Pests

As required

Increased soil moisture, usually seen in the greens during November can often lead to an increase in worm activity. Regular brushing of the greens will help disperse their casts. However, if the infestation is large, you may need to apply some Carbendazim to control the worm populations.

Repairs

As required

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

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.