COURSE CARE
Give Thanks January 12, 2012 By Stanley J. Zontek

Winter scene, Sixth Hole, James River Course, Country Club of Virginia.  It has been a good winter (so far) for grass and for golfers.  

How are things going? I would wager that most who read this first 2012 Mid-Atlantic regional update would answer, “pretty well” for the following reasons:

  • Great Weather.  The past two winters have been cold and icy with much of the region covered with snow. If there wasn’t snow, it was too cold to play golf and barely warm enough to complete winter projects. This year is totally different. Statistically, the Philadelphia metropolitan area has had the 10th warmest November in history, which is now carrying over into December and January. Our area gets more than its share of bad winters so when a decent one comes along it is a welcome change.
  • Great Weekends.  This fall and winter, our warmest days have been on the weekends.  It is amazing how much golf is being played, and this benefits everyone. With temperatures being as moderate as they are, even concerns about winter traffic and winter injury are less of an issue. Some turf managers are still mowing grass, although at higher mowing heights. So, enjoy the weather, but remember that winter damage could become an issue in the future, and that winter traffic is never good for grass and soil when the grass is dormant and the ground is semi-frozen.
  • Winter Protection.  Of course the winter is far from over so it is important to keep in mind the possibility of low temperature diseases. Some low temperature diseases, including snow molds, do not actually need snow to become active. In fact, more diseases are active during this type of weather pattern than if there was ice and snow on the ground. It is always good to consider re-treating during a January/February period of open turf, and, as winter moves into spring, we will enter the next period of disease development.

    Fortunately, there are many good fungicide options.  Note:  as of January 1, 2012, Turfcide (PCNB) has received (49-states) re-registration from the EPA. This is good news for turf managers who must treat large acreages like fairways and who like to use traditional contact fungicides.  
  • Education.  The seminar season is in full swing. With the good weather there is no excuse not to attend winter turf conferences in order to keep up with the industry’s current events. There continue to be unanswered questions about bacterial diseases, how best to manage the Hyperodes Weevil and some exciting new approaches to Poa annua suppression and control.  Also, it is good to walk through the trade shows and evaluate the various products and services on display.

    Of special note are the two scheduled Mid-Atlantic Green Section Regional Meetings:

 

March 20th (Tuesday)           Oakmont CC Oakmont, PA 

March 27th (Tuesday)           DuPont CC    Wilmington, DE 

Stay tuned, the information should be sent out within the next few weeks.

  • Green Section Turf Advisory Service.  January is the month when invoices are sent for our on-course Turf Advisory Service (TAS) visits. If you choose to take advantage of the early payment discount (paid by May 15th) the fee for a half-day visit remains at $1,800.  This represents a 25% discount over the 2012 half-day fee of $2,400.00. The early payment fee for full-day visits is $2,800.00 discounted from the $3,400 full-day visit fee. Unlike others, all travel expenses are included in our fee. Use us - we are here for you and your course.   

 

Let’s all begin 2012 with great hope, optimism and an attitude that after two record-breaking years of weather extremes, we may actually have a normal year to grow grass and to play golf. 

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. You can reach 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.

 

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