Early Season Worlds Collide
By Darin S. Bevard, director, Mid-Atlantic RegionMarch 19, 2014
|Cleanup of debris
from multiple snow and ice storms is ongoing at many golf courses, but wet, and
in some cases, snowy conditions are delaying this work at a time when turfgrass
maintenance practices also need to be completed.|
in much of the Mid-Atlantic region continues to linger. Although the first day
of spring is upon us, heavy snow across much of the region earlier this week
brought maintenance operations to a halt once again. This creates small issues
that, pardon the pun, snowball into bigger problems as winter cleanup and
turfgrass maintenance efforts collide due to weather delays.
snow and ice storms brought down several tree limbs and, in some cases, large
trees on golf courses throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Removing the debris will be a
slow process. The snowfall, and resulting melting, means equipment cannot go
out on the golf course without causing damage to the turf. Therefore, equipment
must remain on cart paths, or cleanup must be delayed until drier conditions
are present, which extends the time necessary for course cleanup. Recent
travels show there is still a lot of debris on many golf courses in the region.
and wet conditions make it difficult to prepare fairways and greens for play.
Several courses opened up over the weekend only to be shut down again by more
snow and rain. Furthermore, many facilities do not have their full complement
of workers, and the lost days for course cleanup and preparation are adding up.
Several courses that had spring aeration scheduled for March 17 and 18 were
unable to aerate because of the recent snow. To compensate for adverse
conditions and staffing constraints, superintendents are being forced to alter
the scheduling of routine maintenance practices. The rescheduling of important
maintenance practices, such as core aeration and topdressing, may affect the
early-season golf schedule. Therefore, it may be common for golf courses in the
region to remain littered with debris from damaged trees and have less than
optimal playing surfaces as golfers play early-season rounds.
a positive note, most reports from the field indicate that turfgrass plugs
removed from Poa annua greens and
brought inside have quickly greened-up. This includes areas in far northeast
Pennsylvania that have been snow covered for several weeks or longer.
Hopefully, this trend will continue.
feels like one of those springs where a rapid transition from cold to mild
temperatures will occur. The golfers will come quickly, but course conditions
may lag behind. It will take some time for maintenance crews to play
catch-up. This is the product of a winter
that just doesn’t want to end.
Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service
Contact the Green Section Staff