by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Bowls In Focus : March April 2011
46 Bowls In Focus Flood, Fire And Famine While preparing this article in the middle of February for the March/April edition it star ted raining again. Floods in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania added to major bushfires in Western Australia. Incredible. Many of our major food producing areas temporar- ily wiped out with the end result being a shortage of vegetables and fruit before an increase in prices. The changing weather pattern, whether it is temporary or permanent, has been beneficial for some but disastrous for others. Many of our state’s bowling clubs have suffered from water damage and this includes clubhouses, greens, sheds and machinery. I took the opportunity to contact Associations and individual country clubs affected by floods so that we could better understand the trials and tribulations some of our bowling fraternity have endured. Heavy rain inundating greens does not normally affect natural grass and synthetic surfaces, but when they are flooded by moving water there can be major problems. On synthetic greens water can shift the carpet and it is almost impossible to remove mud or silt, while the base has to be relevelled and if it is a sand-filled type a new carpet needs to be laid. Some of the carpet type surfaces can be re-laid if they are not clogged up with silt or mud. On grass greens it is possible to remove debris and mud or silt and have the surface playable in a short time. Talking debris, one club had to remove logs from the green and surrounds. The secretary of Creswick Bowling Club, Richard Hutton, still has a sense of humour despite the club’s greens being inundated three times so far! His comment was that they are in limbo waiting on whether insurance and Government grants are available, as this will decide their future. There is a move to have the club relocated, but at this stage it will depend on the cost and available finances. Benalla’s greens flooded twice because of water backing up through the drainage system. They were just recovering from the first flood and getting their synthetic greens re-laid when the second flood arrived and it is a case of starting all over again. Similarly, Bridgewater Bowling Club was flooded from the Loddon River and had both greens inundated. The clubhouse is a brick structure with a concrete floor and was originally a cordial factory. The main front green had been planted to Tiftdwarf couch and was almost ready to be opened when it was flooded. As it was a new green, it was a difficult task trying to remove the mud without damaging the surface. The couch was being scarified, groomed and fertilised to encourage a dense sward before growth slowed down in autumn. The club is most appreciative of the hard work Shane Harling from Bendigo has put in to make sure this green will be ready for next season. Its small back green was in operation by early February. All their machinery was ruined but the club was able to borrow the essential equipment needed to maintain the greens. It is not insured for flooding but is waiting on the Shire for more information. They will be celebrating their 75th Anniver- sary in March this year. Charlton was back in business after the second flood by early February thanks to volunteers from St Arnaud Country Club who cleaned up the front green, Wed- derburn Football Club members removed the clubhouse carpets, and Donald Golf members stripped the carpet underlay which was glued to the floor. Stawell Bowling Club lost their new front synthetic green but the old back green now has five rinks play- able. A major drain blew up with the extreme pressure flooding nearby areas as well. They were waiting on the local authorities to see who is responsible and to see if they can be compensated. Carisbrook Bowling Club lost all their fittings and fur- niture and came out with a dirty synthetic carpet. Again water backed up through the drainage system. Clunes bowlers were able to clean off their greens as the water subsided and the greens were playable when contacted and apparently rolling well with an even surface. Campbell’s Creek near Castlemaine with a sand- filled green had four rinks playable and were waiting on an inspection to determine the future of the carpet. Water spilled over from the levee bank and there was the question raised about the creek being clogged up with weeds and debris restricting the flow of water. Further north, Red Cliffs was the only green reported at the time as being damaged with no problems at Kerang, Swan Hill or Horsham. At all clubs affected, the work of volunteers, whether they were club members or from outside organisations was a clear sign that when others are in need there is always someone willing to help out. Turf Talk Turf Talk Victorian Greenkeepers Association Where was Summer? With the end of the summer bowls season I think all Victorians are asking the same question, ‘Where was summer?’ We usually have to endure weeks on end of temperatures above thirty with little rainfall, but this summer was extraordinary. Melbourne had only three days of over 35 degrees and received the most rainfall on record. Bowlers were disappointed with the wet season having six games of pennant washed out and green- keepers around the state, especially those with warm season grasses, were pushed to their limits. With the many years of drought saw more and more bowling greens being planted with warm season grasses, especially Tift Dwarf. However, this summer proved to be a real test. Did the tift greens past the test in arguably the hardest season on record? With debate still going on as to whether tift greens are suited in Melbourne; I wanted to get a snap shot from greenkeepers on how they went through the cool, wet summer. I myself have two tift greens, one of which was just planted this summer in late December. The new green jumped out of the box, then five weeks in slowed right down. I was fortunate enough to get full cover before dormancy. I had lucky timing, but there were new greens planted that got affected by the massive amounts of rain in mid January and unfortu- nately had to be re-sprigged. People think that the more rain, the better, but that is different when it comes to tift greens. Sure a good soaking every now and then is great, but every time the greens are under water, the soil temp drops dramatically and so does the growing. The warmer the soil, the better the grass grows, especially newly sprigged greens. The summer rains were higher than average meaning more wet days and less optimum growing days. Cooler days, and especially the cold nights, also played havoc with the growth of couch greens. Greens that tend to wear out and get bare areas due to heavy amounts of traffic had trouble recover- ing and were still thin after Christmas renovations. The small window greenkeepers get to renovate their greens over the Christmas and New Year break was hard going due to the weather. A typical renovation would include aerating the green by either drilling, coring or verti-draining, then a good thin out and finish off with a top dress. Nor- mally 3-4 metres of soil is added to a standard 7-rink green, but in some cases more soil has to be added if the levels need rectifying. The green should be back in action at a good standard after four weeks. When pennant started back in January there were a lot of tift greens that were still very sandy and hadn’t started to harden up yet, meaning softer, slow- er greens. A few weeks after that we started to see results with greens hardening up and running well. The slow growth this season also meant disease was a bigger issue than normal. Most leaf diseases are easily treated with a simple fungicide and with the rapid growth of the grass, the disease is cleaned up quickly. Greenkeepers were repor ting a lot more disease activity this year with the topsy-turvy weather and it would linger longer due to the lack of growth. Insect activity was also increased with black scarab, African black beetle and cutworm popula- tions higher than usual. It has defiantly been a testing season for green- keepers with couch greens. We have endured all weather conditions while trying to provide the best possible playing surface for bowlers. In stating that I think we have handled it well with many good reports of beautiful greens. This summer was one out of the box, all records were broken and even if we have more cold, wet summers, I think we are going to be better prepared and more experi- enced to deal with the problems that may arise. Green keepers will adapt and I think greens will also. Nominations are now open for the VGA’s ‘Green- keeper of the Year’ award, for details visit www.victga. com on the internet - Warren Maynard VGA Vice President • The Charlton club reopened in February thanks to the kindness of several outside organisations.