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So, the bowls season is over. The clubhouse is closed, the seats and scoreboard are cleared away and the green is closed down. It’s time for winter bowls green maintenance to commence, or at the very least be planned for the coming months.
Summer 2013 has been hot and dry for most of us…the best summer for many years. Most of us benefited from long periods of dry weather, and we certainly enjoyed it. Most bowls clubs will have watered their greens at some point during the season. Even without an irrigation system, I bet the hose pipes and sprinklers were switched on to keep the grass alive and keep the green looking and playing it’s best.
Putting a water sprinkler on during the day wastes a heck of a lot of water, as most of the water evaporates skywards due to warmer air and ground temperatures. In fact, as much as 30% of the water applied may be wasted (so not being used to help keep your grass alive) compared to watering your bowls green during the night.
If a standard irrigation sprinkler is set to operate from the mains supply, it may use 800 litres of water during a 60 minute operation time. That may not sound a lot, but if you think that if the irrigation sprinkler is moved around the green 4 times throughout the day, each time running for 1 hour that’s 3,200 litres! With almost 1,000 litres of precious water wasted, and not benefiting the grass on your bowls green. Amazingly, if you water your bowls green every day for 3 weeks, thats over 21,000 litres of wasted water!
An automatic bowls green watering system will help to radically reduce water wastage, by watering at night when the ground temperature is at its lowest, the wind speed is reduced, and by applying water evenly across the bowls green surface, will make much better use of this precious resource.
At Buy Irrigation, we hear many different opinions on bowls green irrigation, including the negative ones, like these: “Automatic watering is a waste of time, it puts on too much water”, “Bowls greens should be naturally brown during the summer”, “Watering makes the green too soft”, “Watering promotes disease”.
Ok. Some of these statements may apply to some situations. All of these may be true, for a handful of greens and clubs. But for most clubs, the watering system is an important management tool for the bowls green to attain the required playing surface. Like your mower, if the cutting height is set too low, the grass dies, if you apply too much fertilizer it may damage the playing surface, if you overwater you will damage the green. However, most modern bowls green irrigation systems allow very fine tuning of the system, ensuring this does not need to happen. An automatic bowls green watering system allows you to water your green as often or as little as you like, and allows you to plan your top dressing and fertilizer regimes, without reliance on the good old British weather.
No irrigation system is meant to be set at the start of the season and left to look after itself totally throughout the season. Good groundsmen assess the green on a regular basis checking for signs of disease, grass lengths, nutrient requirements, and also how the green is responding to irrigation. Is it too wet? Do the watering times need increasing? Are the sprinklers operating correctly?
There may be times when certain parts of the green need a spot of additional water. An automatic irrigation system works best in conjunction with the skills of the expert who maintains your green.
One thing is certain: installing a well-designed watering system to your bowls green really helps a club apply water efficiently and evenly, at the right time, and reduces the amount of time spent moving sprinklers and hoses during the day, when really it doesn’t work that well.
Buy Irrigation supply bowls watering kits for you to install yourself (with plenty of advice from us if you need it) or we can install for you. If you’d like some advice, specific to your club’s bowls green, give us a call on 08456 808168 or email here.