What can I do about the fact that irrigation water is not percolating through the surface of a bowling green that is turning brown? (continued...)

Following the question about irrigation water not percolating through the surface of a bowling green that is turning brown (HW, 23 July), Terrain Aeration Services (TAS) of Suffolk has contacted me to say its equipment will physically break through or disrupt the hydrophobic layer that is impeding drainage.

It has two types of machine. "The Deep Drill, drilling down 10 inches, would break through any thatch or surface compaction panning," says TAS operations director Lynda Green. "The 5/8in diameter drills are on five-inch spacings and as the drills physically wind their way down and back up again, soil is brought to the surface and can be swept away. Aerating this way would open the soil uniformly and allow water to percolate." TAS recommends the treatment after the playing season.

The company's other aeration kit is the Terralift. This is a longer-lasting treatment. Green says: "The Airforce Scamper was designed to access most bowling greens. The 30mm diameter probe is hammered to a depth of 1m and compressed air blasted into the soil to break up the compaction panning.

"On the tail end of the air blast, dried milled seaweed is injected. This sticks to the walls of the fractures and fissures created by the main blast and then expands and contracts with the moisture content in the soil, helping to keep the fractures and fissures open longer."

The Terralift process is repeated at 2m spacings on a staggered pattern and the probe holes backfilled with an aggregate and topped with the club's topdressing. Green adds: "This treatment has been used to keep bowling greens playing throughout the season."


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