Bargain Blanket Insurance November 3, 2017 By Bob Vavrek, regional director, Central Region

Fall projects often get seeded later than planned. When this occurs, covering an immature stand of turf throughout the winter months is a good investment.

Many have heard the expression, “The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry.” Considering how often plans go awry during golf course renovation projects it may not be merely a coincidence that this well-known line is paraphrased from the poem “To a Mouse” written by Scotsman Robert Burns.

Weather is always the wild card during golf course construction and renovation projects. In northern states, unfavorable weather can be especially disruptive to projects that are scheduled during the narrow window of time between the last surge of fall play and the arrival of winter. The fact that most irrigation systems are shut down and winterized prior to closing a course only complicates the challenge of establishing seed or sod on a newly renovated playing surface. Timely rainfall and unseasonably mild weather may extend the growing season, but it is never wise to plan on such an unpredictable and fortunate occurrence.

More often than not, golf facilities end up planting turf on a new tee or practice green later than originally planned, leaving many to wonder if an immature stand of turf will tolerate winter stress. When establishing turf late in the season, covering a newly planted surface may help to improve the odds of turf survival. There are plenty of cover options, but facilities on tight budgets should consider a simple, inexpensive germination blanket.

Germination blankets are made from natural or synthetic materials. Landscape products definitely are not as durable as commercial turf covers and won't trap as much heat during spring; but they will deflect winter wind at a fraction of the cost and are easily replaced if damaged.

Think of them as low-cost insurance to cover your new planted turf areas.


Central Region Agronomists:

Bob Vavrek, regional director –

John Daniels, agronomist –

Zach Nicoludis, agronomist –

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service 

Contact the Green Section Staff

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