Autumn 2019 Report

HOW DID OUR 'ORGANIC' GREENS BOWL FOR YOU THIS YEAR?

Now the 2019 bowling season is over…we think that in spite of the poor soil condition coming into the year, the grass managed to stand up to it reasonably well!

 
Opening Day 2019

Regardless that ‘Dollar Spot Fungus’ heavily attacked the greens in July and dark spots of ‘Toad Rush’ have been visible throughout the year, one would have to agree with several very experienced bowlers who have commented to us that the greens have bowled better than they have for several years. 
So, “Well done Eric!”

 

Dollar-Spot fungus infection (light straw colour) and Toad-Rush,(brown spots)


Theory goes that, as we raise the acidity in the ‘A’ green soil, nearer to neutral (6.3 is perfection for grass: 7.0 being neutral), the toad-rush will start to wane (it loves very acid soil) and at the same time our grass should grow stronger, so ‘Dollar-Spot’ will be less likely to infect it.

So all summer we have manufactured and applied sophisticated ‘Compost Teas’ along with other nutrients, religiously and will continue to do so through winter. We have tined and mowed regularly and probably prayed (not sprayed!) a little too. We have been working to re-introduce life back into our soil in the form of beneficial bacteria and fungi that live harmoniously amongst the grass roots, breaking down thatch into humus, thus feeding the grass.




Eric took new soil samples in late August and sent them for analysis. Without getting too technical, all the previously measured values have moved nearer to the desired figures; some measurements more than others perhaps, but overall a very positive result.

 Our guru; John Quinn, (Bowls Central, Scotland) analysed the results of our August soil tests and recommended our ongoing program of care for the autumn work and then winter 2019 through summer 2020. This is intended to further build on this summer’s good work and move all the critical factors nearer to perfect grass growing conditions. In a year or two the chemical factory that is ‘Mother Nature’ at work in the soil, should be doing much of this work on our behalf!



Knowing how much physical work would be required this Autumn (see the program at the bottom), Eric put out a call for assistance and a good response allowed us to get the work done over the course of this past week. Three cheers for the willing volunteers and despite the fact that most of the volunteers were the same members that do most everything else in the club, we were pleased to see a couple of new faces. Where would the club be without volunteers?



 






The intensively maintained greens are now to be protected from marauding animals (foxes mainly) by an agricultural electric fence. You will notice the change from the chicken wire of previous years. The machine gun towers and searchlights will be added later.


  Our recommended Autumn Program (from John Quinn)

The autumn program is fairly intensive. The physical work is identical for both greens, but for slightly different reasons as you will see from the recommended green-keeping programme attached.

Green A needs this work to allow for the addition of Traceolte and Calcium Amendments which must be well brushed in to the holes/grooves left by the physical work.

Green B needs this to assist in reducing thatch and anaerobic layers in the soil to reduce sulphate levels/oxygenate the soil.

Here's the process to use for recommended autumn works:


Hollow tine with 5/8″ tines at 2″ centres…leave the cores on the green.

Immediately after hollow tining, use a heavy duty scarifier (Graden/Sisis have suitable machines) in the same direction as the hollow tiner.

Clear the resulting debris (leaf blower is best, but a snow shovel is good if it's damp).The thatch will now be separated from the soil, so you will be blowing off the thatch and leaving a good deal of the soil/sand/previously purchased/applied top-dressing on the surface ready to be brushed back into the Graden grooves...no need for further top dressing.

If over-seeding this should be applied now by spreader to seeder if you have access to one

Apply Calcium Carbonate and Traceolite now on Green A.

Brush the remaining rootzone/base saturation amendment/seed material into the holes and grooves left by the Hollow corer and Graden.

Cut the green with an old mower at about 6-7mm

Apply autumn fertiliser (Mycogro 5.0.28)


To view the first report, Spring 2019; click here!