Maintenance tasks for March
Spring renovations will be carried out during March and April where the greens will be prepared for play this season. Roll the greens, brush and switch the greens on a daily basis and use an approved carbendazim-based product to control worm activity.
Mowing: Mow weekly or as it is required. As soil and air temperatures will increase during the month, this will stimulate grass growth. Start to cut when the weather is agreeable enough.
Regular mowing from now on will develop an even sward and keep the surface uniform. Remember to lower the height of cut gradually until you get to the optimum height for match play at the start of the bowling season.
Cut at between 10 and 12mm at the start of March and gradually reduce this to 8mm by the end of the month.
Aeration: Aerate when conditions allow. Do not aerate if there is any possibility that doing so would smear or damage the surface.
Scarifying: Pre-season scarification is vital to remove moss, thatch and decaying matter that may have formed during the winter months.
Fertilising: Hopefully you have conducted a soil analysis of your soil profile and have the nutrient status of your green to hand. This will assist in deciding what fertiliser products to buy and then apply. Make sure you apply at the recommended rates and don't overdose the green or overlap when applying the products - there is wide range out there to suit your specific requirements.
Particle Size Distribution (PSD): Now is a good time to take soil samples and send them off for analysis so you get them back in time for the new year's maintenance. You should have a full PSD soil analysis done to tell you the actual make up of your soil profile.
Soil is made up of clay, silt and sand and the percentages will vary. PSD analysis will identify the ratios of these in your soil type so you can better understand what soil you are working with.
Soil ph: You can also establish the amount of organic matter (OM) content, as well as the soil nutrient status and soil pH. This information will help you identify what your soil needs.
These tests can also help you check other physical conditions of the green, such as root depth, levels of compaction and aerobic state of the soil.
Some clubs apply wetting agents to improve and enhance soil performance. These agents reduce the surface tension of a liquid, with the result that the liquid spreads across or penetrates the soil profile more easily. They are usually applied on a monthly basis.
N:P:K: Keep a balance of N P K nutrients within the soil profile to ensure the plant grows healthily.
Weeds, Pests & Diseases
Keep brushing and switching daily to continually keep the greens clean and remove early morning dew. Keep the sward dry, particularly in the spring, to minimise the chance of disease attacks.
Keep your eyes open for fungal disease attacks and use approved fungicides to treat any areas which are infected. At this time of year, you could come across Fusarium Patch, Red Thread, Fairy Rings or Anthracnose.
Use appropriate fungicides to control any further outbreaks but as the grass is now beginning to grow it won't take long for the scars to grow out.
Machinery & Materials
Your mower should have been serviced by now and have been sharpened ready for the new season - it is always worth investing the money in a winter service.
Always check the condition of your machinery and plan to get it repaired and serviced over the winter months.
Keep your machines overhauled and clean, inspect and repair any watering or irrigation systems, for example checking that pop-up irrigation systems have been drained down for winter. Inspect, re-commission and calibrate the system.