Is Winter Over Yet?
By Adam Moeller, agronomist, Northeast RegionMarch 17, 2014
|Winter injury is
frustrating because there are many complex variables involved. Recovering from
winter injury can be equally frustrating, but the use of temporary greens and
open communication with golfers on what to expect will yield the most
Mother Nature brought
a good old-fashioned winter to golf courses in the Northeast Region this year,
and many golf courses in northern locations are still covered with snow and
ice. There is continued concern for winter injury given the weak, frail state
of turf that has been subjected to prolonged ice cover. However, it is still
too early to tell the true extent of any damage caused by the severe winter
weather, but planning for the worst and hoping for the best has become a common
theme at many facilities throughout the region. Here are a few tips going
- As the snow and ice clear, charge the
irrigation system as soon as possible. The turf is extremely low on
carbohydrate reserves at the moment and low soil moisture, even in cool
temperatures, can be lethal.
- If damage is observed, the first and
most important step is to limit traffic as much as possible. Temporary greens
are never welcomed by golfers, but they will dramatically improve the speed and
success of recovery from winter damage.
Snow and ice have
cleared from most golf courses in the southern part of the region, but the
soils remain saturated, in most instances, and will partially dictate course
opening dates. Debris cleanup from the winter storms has also begun, but this
work is far from complete at most courses. Golfers can expect courses to open
soon, but expectations should be adjusted given the amount of work needed to
clean up after the brutal winter the region just experienced.
From a maintenance
standpoint, the agronomic calendar may have to be adjusted based on the weather.
This will most noticeably affect the scheduling of spring core aeration and could
cause delays in the completion of course projects. Forcing projects or
agronomic inputs during less than ideal weather is a risk with serious
long-term consequences. Golfer inconvenience should not be a major factor when
weighing these types of decisions.
The final Green
Section educational opportunity in the region is rapidly approaching. The New
England Green Section Seminar will be held March 25 at the Andover Country Club
in Andover, Mass. If you would like to attend this educational seminar, with
specific topics related to golf course management for club officials and
here. This year’s Schedule
of Events will run from 8:20 a.m. through 12:40 p.m. and includes a
light breakfast and a buffet lunch. Educational points will also be awarded to attendees.
Adam Moeller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
on the USGA’s Course
Contact the Green Section