COURSE CARE
When To Cover Bermudagrass Greens For The Winter October 6, 2017 By USGA Green Section

The University of Arkansas is evaluating which predicted low-temperature threshold is best for covering ultradwarf bermudagrass putting greens to prevent winter injury.

Video Description: Ultradwarf bermudagrass provides excellent playing conditions during summer, but it must be protected from low temperatures during winter. Covering ultradwarf bermudagrass putting greens reduces winter injury; however, installing covers takes a considerable amount of effort and often results in temporary course closures. To reduce the need for covering, researchers at the University of Arkansas investigated temperature thresholds used to predict the need for covers – their results could help golf courses save time and money.

 

Ultradwarf bermudagrass putting greens are typically covered during the winter in the transition zone to prevent injury from low temperature exposure. The current recommendation is to cover ultradwarf bermudagrass greens when the low temperature is forecast to drop to 25 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it may be possible to lower this temperature threshold, resulting in fewer covering events, reduced labor costs and more days open for play.

Scientists at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville evaluated different predicted low temperatures to determine when to cover ‘Champion’, ‘Mini-Verde’, and ‘TifEagle’ ultradwarf greens. The researchers used covers composed of permeable, black woven polypropylene and were placed on the greens when low temperatures were forecast to reach 25, 22, 18 and 15 degrees Fahrenheit. The study also included an uncovered control. The covers remained in place until the temperature for the following day was predicted to exceed 45 degrees Fahrenheit. A late-season wetting agent treatment also was evaluated within each covering temperature threshold.

Important conclusions:

  • The Mini-Verde and TifEagle cultivars experienced less winter injury than Champion.
  • The use of protective covers enhanced spring greenup and recovery for all cultivars.
  • The uncovered control plots did not survive the winter.
  • Reducing the temperature threshold for covering led to fewer covering events without increases in winter injury.
  • Reducing the number of covering events would reduce labor costs and increase the number of days a golf course could remain open for play.
  • A late season wetting agent improved spring greenup.

 

Source:  Eric De Boer, Mike Richardson and Doug Karcher, University of Arkansas

 

Additional Information:

Using Covers to Reduce Winter Injury on Ultradwarf Bermudagrass

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