Wednesday, December 28, 2011

At First Look

With a little over three weeks of snow cover on the golf course, today I took my first peek under the snow to see how things are doing. The area of greatest concern is always the greens and as of right now they look great. The snow is more than one foot deep and is all still powder which allows for great air and light movement to the turf below.

All turf managers biggest fear is the formation of a lasting ice layer under the snow which will over time suffocate and eventually kill the turf. Poa Annua is the most vulnerable to this problem and fortunately for us our Poa populations are not terribly high. Damage to Poa can occur in as little at 14 days whereas Bentgrass can withstand prolonged cover of more than 30 days with out problem.

The snow is still very light and powdery with a thin crust on top which is actually holding the snow cover in place against the strong winter winds. Another side benefit from using fencing to keep the elk of the greens has been the fact that the snow on the greens has been untouched. All of it remains light and fluff and not packed down by foot traffic which also can lead to ice formation.

The seven day forecast looks to be warm with high winds, so a great potential for significant snow melt exist. We will be closely monitoring the melting and take any necessary actions to protect the greens from ice forming. This could include complete to partial snow removal and making sure no excess water freezes on the greens surface.

There is no off season when it comes to managing turf, the only thing that changes are the situations that create a different set of  problems for turf loss.