COURSE CARE
Has Spring Arrived? March 18, 2010 By Stanley J. Zontek

By the calendar, spring HAS arrived, and this fact seems to be supported by the weather. Temperatures have been above average, which is quite a change from the cold and snowy weather experienced over the winter.

For many turf managers, this is the first opportunity to observe the turf and determine if winter injury occurred. If so, corrective actions need to be implemented, while scheduling work to clean up golf course debris. The snow and ice damage to white pines and cedars has been unbelievable. Golf course cleanup will be a major undertaking for most golf courses this spring.

Complicating this process is reduced winter staff levels, and in some cases, delays on returning staff due to budget restrictions. These are interesting times!

Of special note may be the need for extra work to get the grass growing! Turf that was aerated late last fall has not grown, and aerator holes are open as a carryover from last year. Here again, this complicates spring maintenance: the need for extra topdressing to fill aerator holes; extra spring fertilization for recovery; grow out snow mold/winter disease scars; and just get the grass growing!

Each golf course will have to formulate its own maintenance and management plans based on its unique circumstances. "Let’s get going"…golfers have incredibly short memories and no doubt will be expecting great conditions, which truly may be unrealistic for most golf courses early this spring. Be patient. Conditions will improve quickly, but it is still March!

As always, if you have questions, please feel free to contact your Green Section agronomists in the Mid-Atlantic region of the country. Have you considered taking a spring Green Section visit? Our fees remain the same in 2010 and we continue to offer our early payment discount, which can save $500. That is good value any way you look at it!

On behalf of the staff of the Mid-Atlantic Green Section region, we would like to thank the nearly 300 people who attended our Green Section regional meetings at Oakmont CC and DuPont CC.

The Mid-Atlantic Region agronomists are part of your agronomic support team. If you have a question or concern, give us a call or send an e-mail. Stan Zontek (szontek@usga.org) and Darin Bevard (dbevard@usga.org) at 610/ 558-9066 or Keith Happ (khapp@usga.org) at 412/ 341-5922.