A Frigid Opportunity

By Bob Vavrek, senior agronomist, North-Central Region
January 7, 2014

Frozen soils after a recent cold spell transforms roughs and fairways into highways that can support heavy equipment needed to remove problematic trees from remote areas of the golf course.

No one can predict what impact several recent bouts of subzero weather will have on turf survival at golf facilities across the upper Midwest. Fortunately, many of the areas affected by extreme cold possess a fairly deep layer of snow cover to insulate the turf from rapid temperature extremes. A repeat of last year’s winter injury could cripple many financially challenged golf facilities that struggled to stay afloat in 2013.

Last year, cool spring weather hindered the recovery of turf damaged by winterkill until mid-summer while several golf facilities with heavily shaded sites experienced considerable damage that lingered well into late August and early September. The direct association between dense tree shade and agonizingly slow turf recovery was crystal clear, prompting many superintendents to vow to cut down the worst offenders this winter.

This winter is upon us, so it will be difficult to use the excuse of a mild weather and soft, mushy ground to put off tree removal for another year. Considering the current temperatures, it is prime time to purchase a few gallons of winter-weight bar oil for the chain saws and start the process of removing problematic trees. More sunlight will benefit the turf regardless of turf species or playing area. Furthermore, the benefits will last all season long. Make the most of a frigid opportunity.

Source: Bob Vavrek (rvavrek@usga.org)

Information on the USGA’s Turf Advisory Service

Contact the Green Section Staff  

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