Compaction — common on well played surfaces — has the effect of reducing the pore spaces to such an extent that soil-air supply is restricted, drainage is reduced and root growth is physically impeded. A solution is to break up the compaction, so allowing water trapped above it to drain out of the larger pores and be replaced by air. Aerating the green will literally give the roots room to breathe.
Bowling greens, because of their size and limited access, demand the use of pedestrian equipment. Although there is a lot of aeration equipment on the market, you really need to aerate as deep as possible and preferably 100mm or deeper. Sisis of Macclesfield is one company to offer machinery ideal for bowling-green aeration. The company’s vertical-action Dart will take a range of tines, including solid, pencil, hollow, chisel and flute, so there should be something to suit — whatever the time of year.
With recurring problems accompanied by standing water at the surface, it may also be appropriate to investigate existing drainage systems or look at the possibility of installing a system to
remove excess water.
After aeration you may consider investigating the use of microbial treatments in order to put the “good bugs” back into the soil system.
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