It's That Time Of Year!

By Keith Happ, senior agronomist, Mid-Atlantic Region
January 25, 2011

It’s that time of year when we get glimpses of sun, blue sky, and warmer air.  In this region, winter has set-in, with most areas experiencing colder and snowier conditions than usual.  Even though golf is on television, we won’t have consistent golf weather conditions for awhile.  We often experience thaws in January and February, but no matter how much we wish for a rapid return to spring weather, we are still in the heart of winter. 

This time of year can be very productive.  Take the time to walk the course and observe sunlight and drainage patterns.  When freeze and thaw cycles occur, track the water movement so drainage placement intercepts can be most productive.  If the grass is exposed, look at the above- and below-ground plant structures.  Take a sample indoors and thaw it out to monitor the condition of the grass.  Cool-season grass should exhibit green/white crowns, with new white adventitious roots.  Warm-season grass should have white rhizomes that snap when they are broken.  While we still have a lot of winter weather ahead, it is not too early to take a walk and check on plant health.

Tree work has been high on superintendents’ winter work lists.  The fact is, any tree work that can be completed this winter will have a significant impact later this season.   Allowing as much sunlight as possible to reach fine turf areas will help to produce a stronger stand of grass for years to come.    

The other hot topic that has been discussed this winter has been drainage.  While many drainage problems may exist, completing one project is far better than not doing anything at all.  Progress can be made in small steps, and any level of investment in your property will make a difference.  As they say – the three most important aspects of good turf management are drainage, drainage and more drainage.

The Mid-Atlantic Region agronomists will conduct two regional conferences this season.  The first is at the Country Club of Virginia on Tuesday, March 8th, and the second at Woodholme Country Club on Tuesday, March 15th.  We have a great slate of speakers that cover a wide variety of topics.  We look forward to seeing you.   

It is not too early to schedule a Turf Advisory Visit for the upcoming season.  Take full advantage of the early discount pricing.  The discount is valid as long as the fee is paid by May 15, 2011, and the visit can be scheduled for any time during the year.  Investing in a Turf Advisory Service visit (or two) for the coming year will be money well spent. 

The Mid-Atlantic Region agronomists are part of your agronomic support team.  Questions or concerns should be directed to Stan Zontek, ( or Darin Bevard ( at (610) 558-9066 or Keith Happ at ( at (412) 341-5922.



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