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.