COURSE CARE
Mid-Atlantic Regional Update February 27, 2015

Mid-Atlantic Regional Update

By Darin S. Bevard, Senior Agronomist
January 8, 2008

The holidays are over, the conference season is in full swing, and winter is upon us. Well, at least the calendar indicates that it is winter. As this update is written, temperatures in much of Pennsylvania are in the 60's, and in the southern part of our region, the low 70's. This mild weather pattern is expected to last approximately five to seven days before more seasonal temperatures return. Golfers will be eager to take advantage of the mild weather to try out that new club received as a gift!

• Golfers should keep in mind that it is still winter. In spite of warm temperatures, when soil moisture levels are high fine turf areas may need to remain closed to prevent damage from occurring. This case is especially true on greens where foot printing can be more severe under wet conditions, which create surface irregularities. Golfers should expect less than perfect conditions and not press for mowing or rolling on greens at this time of year. Although this can create controversy during these short periods of warm winter weather, the golf course potentially will be better for it in the early spring.

The weather forecast calls for rain followed by colder temperatures. Do not allow standing water to freeze on greens. Ice encasement may result in significant winter damage if temperatures remain cold.

• Disease activity has been noted on greens. Cool temperature brown patch (yellow patch) has been reported. Additionally, extended periods of cloudy, cool and wet weather prior to this warm spell have promoted pink snow mold ( Michrodochium patch) in some locations, although the disease activity has been limited. If snow mold protection has not been applied, take advantage of the break in the weather to complete this important work. As for cool temperature brown patch, the impacts are more aesthetic than anything. Fungicide applications will suppress symptoms for the short term, but the yellow rings will return under conditions that favor the disease.

Exercise caution at this critical point in the winter. Decisions on opening and closing of the golf course vary depending on the winter closure policy of a particular course. Adhere to the policies set forth for the golf course to minimize potential damage. It can be difficult to quantify the impacts of winter play on fine turf areas. However, if there were no potential harm to be done, there would be no controversy over frost delays and course closures during the winter months! After all, green closure is implemented to prevent potential damage to the course's greatest asset, the greens.

As always, if the Mid-Atlantic Region's agronomists can be of assistance, contact Stan Zontek ( szontek@usga.org ) or Darin Bevard ( dbevard@usga.org ) at 610/ 558-9066 or Keith Happ ( khapp@usga.org ) at 412/ 341-5922.

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