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Wantage Bowling Club are celebrating their centenary year with a green that is denser and healthier than it has ever been, thanks to the switch to Johnsons Sports Seed. Volunteer Greenkeeper Dean Gibbons has praised the combination of Johnsons J Green and J Rye Green for delivering exceptional germination and a smooth playing surface that is fit for a series of special events marking the club’s 100-year anniversary. 

Since Dean took charge 10 years ago, he has successfully adapted a number of mechanical and nutritional programmes to achieve a pesticide and fungicide-free approach to his green’s maintenance. To assist with that, specifically to help prevent weed ingress, Dean reviewed his choice of seed three years ago after suffering several seasons of sparse coverage. “I knew we needed to introduce some different high-quality cultivars to improve the density of the green so I referred to the BSPB guide and spoke to some other greenkeepers who all highly recommended the J Green mixture from Johnsons.” 

J Green incorporates top-rated fine fescues and bent grass cultivars to deliver fast, sustainable and disease-resistant greens suitable for bowls and golf. Dean has used J Green for the club’s end of season renovations, together with localised seeding of rink ends and other high-wear areas throughout the playing period. For some particularly problematic areas, he’s used Johnsons J Rye Green – combining perennial rye, slender creeping red fescue and browntop bent for fast establishment, exceptional recovery and tolerance of wear. 

“The first and main thing I’ve noticed is the quality of germination achieved with J Green and, importantly, the survival rates of the seedlings. While several inputs will of course influence this, the quality and purity of the Johnsons mix, together with the fact the seed is coated with GroMax biostimulant seed treatment, appears to be a massive factor and has resulted in a visibly denser, thicker and healthier sward.” Dean continues, “Since we switched to Johnsons, I have also had regular visits from DLF’s Regional Technical Manager Ian Barnett, that always bring insightful and helpful advice to help in the objective of improving the green.” 

He adds, “The work to date hasn’t gone unnoticed. The improvements in our bowling surface have been recognised around the county and beyond, with lots of positive feedback and requests to use our green to host prestigious games so we must be doing something right!” 

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