What's Under All That Snow And Ice?

By Stanley J. Zontek, director, Mid-Atlantic Region
February 4, 2011

The phone is ringing with people asking the obvious question, “Should we be concerned about ice and snow melt?”    

In all honesty, none of us will know until we can see the ground.  One thing is certain; there are some concerns about both types of snow molds that affect the grass when it freezes and thaws, and is damaged in low spots where ice often forms.

A recent e-mail from Dr. Peter Dernoeden, University of Maryland (and Green Section Committee member for the Mid-Atlantic region) stated, “Gray snow mold and Microdochium patch will appear as temperatures rise above freezing, promoting melting snow, standing water and puddling.  As always, shaded and/or tree-lined areas, where snow melts more slowly and where it stays wet for longer periods, will be most severely affected.  Golf courses using preventive applications of appropriate fungicides will likely sustain little damage in sunny and well-drained areas.”

Additionally, if snow mold controls were applied, and if you have a concern about snow molds or you have a history of pink snow mold (Microdochium patch) in an area, a re-treatment in the spring may be appropriate.  This recommendation is especially true on high value turf areas like greens, tees, and putting green approaches.

Once the snow does clear, it is always a good idea to take a few plugs of turf inside, place them on a windowsill and see what sprouts.  This is one of the best early indicators of whether or not the turf may have been damaged.  As always, if you have any questions, give our offices a call or send an e-mail. 

As this update is being written, programs and registration information for the two regional meetings in the Mid-Atlantic Region are being sent out.  You can register and pay online.  Pre-paid registrations are less expensive than having to pay at the door.  Our half-day meetings are as follows:

Tuesday, March 8th, Country Club of Virginia, Westhampton Course, Richmond, VA

Event Code: 30811

Tuesday, March 15, Woodholme Country Club, Pikesville, MD

Event Code: 31511

Register on-line: https://www.usga.org/register   (Credit Cards Accepted)

Finally, invoices for Turf Advisory Service visits should be sent out next week. Payments received by May 15, 2011 allow you to save $600 or 25% off of the full price, while your visits can be scheduled anytime during the year.  It is a discount not to be missed!

The Mid-Atlantic Region agronomists are part of your agronomic support team.  Call or email us with any questions or concerns.  Stan Zontek (szontek@usga.org) and Darin Bevard (dbevard@usga.org) at 610/ 558-9066 or Keith Happ (khapp@usga.org) at 412/ 341-5922.


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The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

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