What Is Going On Under The Snow?
By Darin S. Bevard, director, Mid-Atlantic RegionFebruary 19, 2014
|This picture from
Lancaster Country Club (Pa.) pretty well sums up conditions in much of the Mid-Atlantic
region. Repeated snowfall has put most on-course operations on hold.|
Cold temperatures and prolonged snow
cover have raised concern over potential winter injury.
Superintendents and course officials
increasingly are concerned about potential winterkill of susceptible grasses
such as bermudagrass, Poa annua and
perennial ryegrass. Snow-covered golf courses in much of the region have made
evaluation of problems difficult. Even in areas free of snow, frozen ground has
made removal of turf plugs for winterkill evaluation very challenging. If you
have winterkill concerns, remove turf plugs from sensitive areas as soon as the
weather allows to determine whether contingency plans for winterkill recovery
need to be developed. Hopefully, problems will be minimal, but not knowing is
unsettling to say the least. Prepare now by using turf plugs to obtain valuable
information. For a great step-by-step video, please see Sampling Greens for Winterkill.
the pending warming in temperatures, the removal of snow and ice from greens
has been a frequent topic of conversation: Should we remove snow and ice or
not? Regardless of the choice that is made, you have a good chance of being
wrong. If snow and ice are removed, and another period of extreme low
temperatures is experienced, grasses such as bermudagrass and Poa annua could suffer because of the
lack of insulation that the snow cover provides. Of course, leaving the snow
and ice could cause problems with low oxygen levels and eventual winterkill,
and the ultimate outcome will not be known until temperatures warm and the
grass resumes growth in late winter or early spring. Remember, if you do remove
snow and ice from a turfgrass area, make sure that there are ample channels for
surface water to exit affected areas. Allowing water to accumulate and refreeze
in cleared areas will almost certainly lead to problems.
a reminder, USGA regional meetings are quickly approaching. The first will be March
4, 2014 at DuPont Country Club in Wilmington,
Del., with the second meeting March 11, 2014 at Oakmont Country
Club in Pittsburgh, Pa.
These meetings are open to general managers, superintendents, course officials,
vendors and interested golfers. We hope to see you there.
Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service
Contact the Green Section