One, Two, Tree…You’re Out!
By Bob Vavrek, senior agronomist, North-Central RegionApril 29, 2014
|By blocking valuable morning sunlight to the
green, the evergreen trees to the east of this severely damaged green slow the
rate of turf recovery despite the use of a cover to raise soil temperatures. Removing
these trees will accelerate recovery this spring and reduce the potential for
winter injury across the back portion of the putting surface in the future.|
Many courses affected
by winterkill have already spent considerable time and money to encourage rapid
recovery by seeding and covering severely damaged greens. Provided there is
ample sunlight to generate heat, covers have the ability to raise soil
temperatures above the 55 to 60°F threshold needed to initiate seed germination.
On the other hand, covers won’t help much during long periods of cool, cloudy
The detrimental effect
of dense shade from trees adjacent to a damaged green is often overlooked
during the recovery process. However, there really isn’t much difference
between dense cloud cover and dense tree shade, so any benefits of covering
greens during sunny weather will be wasted if tree problems are not addressed.
Evergreens are usually the worse culprits because they shade turf all year, but
large deciduous trees will become an equally serious problem once they leaf
out. Pay particular attention to pruning or removing trees adjacent to the
south and east sides of affected greens because they block morning sunlight.
Snowflakes are still
being seen in the northernmost areas of the region whereas the first flush of
turf growth in the roughs at some courses in the southernmost part of the region
has golfers experiencing difficult playing conditions. Ramping up the frequency
of mowing is probably a better option than mowing the rough shorter during
spring. The depth of rooting is directly related to the height of cut, so the
practice of scalping down roughs during the peak period of root growth may come
back to haunt your facility later this summer if hot, droughty weather occurs.
Now, if we could just
transfer the rapid growth of roughs in the southern portions of the region to
the damaged turf under covers in northern locales, we could make life a little
easier for everyone.
Source: Bob Vavrek (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service
Contact the Green Section Staff