Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Quick Update

Well I think 99% of the snow and ice are gone (for now anyway). The warm weekend and the first couple of days this week have taken care of any ice cover we had on our greens. Dave and I have been out that last two days moving the softened ice and pooling water off the green surfaces. Even with 4 solid days in the 50+ range of temps we still had to chip through about 3 inches of ice on the front of number 18 yesterday. The whole exercise has given us a great understanding of the drainage issues some of our green complexes have. Thankfully we only have a couple of greens with spots where the water will pool if it can not drain through the soil profile. And we have also taken care of some drainage problems with the continuing bunker project.

Nice weather and little snow always creates excitement for the season to start and the course to open. During weather stretches like the one we are having now I always get asked by a few when the course will be opened. Well, if we can get a good couple weeks of this weather and dry things out good, it could be sooner then later. I think most agree there is still more snow to come, even if short lived, and that just means it will take longer to dry out. We are all hoping for an early spring this year and definitely a warm one, so we'll see...

Monday, March 9, 2009

March Melting

Greetings everyone, I hope your winter has been good and our spring is soon to come...

We have been monitoring the ice that has been around since January on some spots. There are a couple of areas that concern me, #2 being the main one. The ice has built up in the front of the green and caused some water back-up during the 2-3 days we have had in the 40's. We have chipped channels through the ice so the melting water has room to escape and not continue to pool up. It is the only green where this major ice dam has occurred, for the most part the rest of the ice on greens is an inch or so and when it does melt it has places to run off to. We will continue to create openings and places for the water to go so it does not sit on the green surfaces.

We have taken in a couple of turf plugs, from #2 & #4. The one taken from #4 is in fine shape and green-up has been quick. The one from #2 (pictured above) is in ok shape, the poa annua is slower to start which is normal and the bentgrass appears to be similar to #4.

With ice build up we are concerned with two major things, one being suffocation if it covers the turf for extended periods of time (which I have discussed before) and the second is during the freeze/thaw cycles we are now experiencing. If the turf warms up enough the plant can take in water, known as crown hydration. Our concern then is a hard freeze and the water in the plant freezes and shatters the cells. What we do to prevent that is to make sure the water has a place to go as it melts and does not sit on the green. Shovel snow, chip ice, squeegee water, and anything else to help get the ice & water off is what we are doing.

Obviously if there is any damage from the winter we will take all steps in making sure we get turf back as soon as possible. Aerify, topdress, verticut, seed, and even cover in plastic to create mini-greenhouses are just a few of the things that can be done to encourage quick recovery.