Don’t Over React – Time To Consider All Options
By Keith Happ, director, North-Central RegionFebruary 19, 2014
is a lot of winter weather still to come, so removing snow cover now may not be
wise. On the other hand, if significant thawing is likely to occur, consider
creating channels for surface water to drain from putting greens to reduce the
potential for crown hydration damage once freezing temperatures return.|
have been coming in from every portion of the region expressing concerns about
the possibility of winter injury. Fortunately, consistent snow cover insulates
turf and buffers the damaging effects of rapid drops in temperature. In fact,
temperature sensors positioned in the soil of greens have demonstrated this
effect. While air temperatures have been in single digits or even below zero,
soil temperatures at two- and five-inch depths are 20 degrees warmer. Research
has demonstrated that Poa annua can
tolerate temperatures to -6°F while bentgrass can tolerate lows down to -30°F.
There have also
been questions about snow removal from greens. We still have significant winter
weather ahead and late winter freeze and thaw cycles can wreak havoc with turf.
The cold tolerance of Poa annua can
be reduced by five to 10 degrees if turf is exposed to temperatures of 40°F or
more for more than eight hours. A thaw followed by a sudden freeze is a recipe
for crown hydration damage.
be absolutely sure how the turf will tolerate the weather we have experienced
this winter. Time will tell. It is difficult to not react and do something when
there is concern about how the grass is surviving cold, snow and ice. Most golf
facilities have prepared very well to protect against the potential for disease
as well as insulate for cold with topdressing or geotextile covers. Greens were
topdressed (using black sand and/or regular topdressing) and these programs can
have positive long-term agronomic effects. Diluting thatch is never a bad decision.
In the short term, don’t inflict any additional stress by reacting too soon to
Source: Keith Happ firstname.lastname@example.org
Information on the
USGA’s Course Consulting Service