Winter Weather Continues To Confound
By David A. Oatis, director, Northeast RegionMarch 5, 2014
Removing plugs of turf from frozen putting greens is
difficult, but it can be accomplished with a hole saw.
Most areas of the region dodged
the most recent storm, but snow and ice cover remains in place at most courses
in the region. Northeast region agronomists Jim Skorulski and Adam Moeller each
addressed the topic of winter injury in our most recent updates, but the
subject remains uppermost on the minds of many turf managers. We are continuing
to receive numerous calls regarding the duration of ice cover and the merits of
removing it. Many variables affect the decision, so the purpose of this update
is to recount what we know at this point in time.
- The duration of ice cover ranges from 20-30 days
in some parts of the region to over 50-60 days in other areas.
- Superintendents are continuing to remove and
incubate plugs of turf from their putting greens, but thus far, damage has been
fairly minimal. However, odors are being detected under ice layers, and this is
the telltale sign that anoxia could become a problem.
- Some of the damage that has been identified
likely occurred in late December and is not necessarily a result of extended
- It is advisable to continue to check plugs from
representative areas of greens every week or two, checking for turf health and
- Some courses have already removed some of the
snow cover in order to speed up the clearing process once warmer temperatures
arrive. However, removing snow and ice layers is very difficult, and it can be risky.
If toxic gasses are building up under the ice to the point that turf is
suffering injury, it may be the best course of action. However, removing snow
cover too early and subjecting the turf to bitter temperatures or more freeze
thaw cycles can also guarantee damage.
The truth is that, for some golf courses, there may not be a
good option. Leave the ice on longer and suffer damage from anoxia; or remove
it and risk physical damage from removal and injury from low
temperatures or crown hydration. Since conditions vary widely throughout the
region, it is impossible to make across-the-board recommendations. Feel free
to call our office if you’d like to discuss what your best options might be.
The final education opportunities of the
winter are approaching.
- A USGA Regional
Meeting will be held March 13 at the Country Club of Rochester in Rochester,
N.Y. To learn more about the conference and to register, click here. The event code is 0311.
- USGA Green Section
Winter Injury Webcast. Held online on March 14 at 1:00 PM EDT. To register for
this webcast click
- The Adirondack
Regional Conference takes place March 19 at High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid,
- The Metropolitan Golf
Association /USGA Green Chairman Seminar will be held March 20 at North Hills Country
Club in Manhasset, N.Y.
- The New England Green Section Seminar will be held March 25 at the Andover Country Club in
We have worked hard to put educational
programs together that will appeal to superintendents, general managers, golf
professionals and course officials. We hope to see you there!
Best of luck for a successful
2014 season, and as always, give us a call if we can help you and your
Source: David Oatis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service
Contact the Green Section Staff