With low light levels and low temperatures, January represents mid-winter and, unless there is a major change in the weather, the best advice is to leave the surface alone. Working, or even walking, on the greens when frost is on the ground will do a lot of damage to the grass plant.
Tidying up the green surrounds - hedges, trees etc.; and ensuring your machinery is in good condition, should be high on your priority list.
Key Tasks for January
At this time of year, it best to keep off the surface as much as possible. A little bit of mowing, should conditions allow, and some aeration is usually sufficient:
- Tip grass, if necessary, maintaining a winter height cut of 10-12mm
- Carry out inspection and maintenance of machinery and irrigation equipment
- Service equipment and replace any worn or damaged parts
- Check for diseases and pests, seek advice if necessary
- Clean up any leaf debris
- Spike, if and when possible, and only if conditions are right
- Maintenance of fences and hedges
With cold conditions forecast, you might consider applications of Magnesium along with iron which, as a key component of chlorophyll, will help to maximise photosynthesis on long dark days. They work to help the plant tolerate the stresses and strains of frost and harsh desiccating winds. A granular slow release iron such as Maxwell Bullet Duragreen is a very sensible solution for providing a nice steady trickle of iron for up to three months.
If snow is forecast, then applying Iprodione to surfaces in advance will guard against disease spreading under a nice damp insulated blanket.
Insect pests and potential secondary damage from animal pests digging them out should be minimal this month. If worms persist in casting on the surface, then simply brush away casts on drier days.
It is important to maintain machines by carrying out regular servicing and repairs.
With minimum work needed on the green, use the time to take some machines out of operation for an overhaul.
- Keep machines overhauled and clean
- Maintain a stock of consumables for your machinery, replace worn and damaged parts as necessary.
- Keep an eye on your material stocks (seed, topdressing, petrol, oil), remembering to replenish as required.
- Service machinery and equipment - changing oil / air filters and greasing up moving parts and sharpening mower blades.
Pitchcare is the only provider of LANTRA accredited training courses in the maintenance of Bowls Greens. It is a one day course designed to provide a basic knowledge of bowling green maintenance. The course enables the Groundsman to grasp the basic needs of a bowling green surface, either Flat or Crown, throughout a 12 month period.
Delegates attending the Bowling Green course and using the accompanying manual will be able to develop their own skills, working knowledge and expertise, by understanding the method of instruction and the maintenance principle it sets out.
Included in the Course Manual, there are working diaries showing the range of tasks needed to be accomplished each month. The Course Manual is available for purchase separately.
In addition, we are able to arrange courses to be delivered on site to groups of 6 – 10 people. Email Chris Johnson for information.