The importance of organic matter in greens

Bowling News


'The Importance of Organic Matter in Bowling Green Rootzones'. That is the heading of the latest newsletter from Bowls Central, the greenkeeping advice and education website. If that title means anything at all you may be interested in reading the full newsletter which goes on to talk about the four types of organic matter there are and how important they have become in providing good greens for your club bowlers.


Sand is not one of those four types of organic matter and the newsletter goes on to condemn the past practice of adding sand at every opportunity which has created an unbalanced base for many bowling greens. If you are still reading this then you may be interested to learn what are the four types of organic matter.


The 4 types of organic matter found in a healthy green are as follows:

  1. Living Organic Matter including plant roots and soil organisms.

  2. Recently Dead Organic Material, mainly thatch, which ideally should only make up about 10-20% of the total Organic Matter content. Note the distinction between Matter and Material.

  3. Active, Currently Degrading Organic Matter is stuff that used to be thatch but is in the process of being degraded into Humus, which should ideally make up 30-50% of the total Organic Matter measure.

  4. Older Stabilised Organic Matter (Humus), which, again should make up about 30-50% of the total Organic matter measure. This is very low in actual organic content but is vital for healthy soil as it aids moisture and nutrient retention in the soil.

If you are still with me then well done and I really think you need to read the full newsletter now.

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