COURSE CARE
Cold And Blustery Means There Is Work To Be Done! February 27, 2015

Cold And Blustery Means There Is Work To Be Done!

By Keith Happ, Senior Agronomist
January 12, 2010

 


The Mid-Atlantic Region is currently under a firm winter grip. The northern tier is blanketed by snow and the entire region is in a deep freeze. This does not mean that all work stops, in fact there is a great deal of preparation that is needed for the upcoming season.

Frozen ground provides the opportunity to get out on the course and complete a great deal of necessary tree maintenance. During the winter, the sun is low in the southern sky. Shade problems will be the worst during the middle of the winter. Correcting problems now will provide a great jump start to the spring. Allowing for greater sunlight exposure (minimizing early morning shade) help produce healthier grass. Examine all areas and complete what is possible this winter. Remember, even completing one or two tree maintenance projects is progress.

Without question, a great deal of planning and preparation takes place during the winter months. Many superintendents develop several different plans for the maintenance on their course. Many, "what if" scenarios are put forth and these are often dependent on the resources available to complete the tasks at hand. To plan and budget realistically it is imperative that every effort is made to communicate with the golfers to clearly identify and then document the course set-up for the season. The most important outcome of course set-up should be the production of healthy turf. When the turf is healthy (above and below ground) many grooming tactics can then be employed to achieve the desired level of sustained playability. Having a defined course set-up allows turf maintenance programs to be outlined and realistic budgets developed. If the budgets are perceived to be too large, then course set-up (playability standards) may have to be altered. This is where creativity, flexibility, and imagination factor into the plans for the upcoming season. The Green Section agronomists can help a great deal during the planning and budgeting phase of the season. Don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Finally, a few questions regarding the winter weather and potential for damage have been presented. We have not been snow covered very long, but it is always good to inspect the greens and any low lying areas of concern. Darkening agents may be needed to melt ice accumulations if the conditions persist for 4 to 6 weeks. For the short term, monitor the weather patterns and be ready to take advantage of any thaw that occurs. Standing water and slush should be removed promptly to reduce the potential for crown hydration damage.

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