Monday, February 8, 2010

Dead Or Alive

Over the years I have always said that in Colorado I think it is harder to keep the turf alive in the winter versus the summer. Some of the reasons being that durring the winter we experience some of our lowest humidities in addition to high winds. These two factors combined rapidly dry out turfgrass as well as other plant materials found on the golf course.

Another key factor that effects winter turfgrass viability is exposure. Throughout the course there are many different exposures that leave the turf either fully exposed or completely under snow cover for several months.

It is not uncommon on any given hole to have to water only areas of southern exposure throughout the winter in order to keep the turf alive. This fact was utilized durring the design of the new irrigation system, in which I specifically located the new mainline on each hole in the southern exposure. The placement of the mainline in addition to frost free hydrants every 110 feet make the difficult task of winter watering far easier than it ever was.

Winter can be a scary time when looking at turfgrass because at first glance many times it appears to be dead, but upon closer inspection all is well. Throughout the winter we actively scout known problem areas for desiccation and proactively water them before a problem occurs. One of our favorite techniques in determining the health of the turf is "the foot rub". A simple rubbing of the turf with your foot removes the dead leaf tissue revealing viable green leaf blades below.