Friday, March 21, 2014

First Glimpse At Turf Conditions

1 White Green From Rear
7 Red Green From Rear
The warmer temperatures over the last few weeks have provided us an opportunity to finally view turf conditions below what had been a thick blanket of snow.  While I was confident that the turf was well insulated and protected from the cold weather, I was pleased to see that my prediction was accurate and the golf course putting surfaces have handled the winter well and are in great condition.  Avoiding any freeze/thaw cycles and winter rain certainly played a key roll in the turf's condition, as ice formation was minimal over the winter.  In past years when we have seen significant winter damage, major ice accumulation had occurred and remained for an extended period of time.

8 White Green From Year
 Over the last few days I have walked the entire course and viewed each green.  While a couple of greens still remain snow covered.  The majority are clear of snow and appear very healthy.  As seen from the clubhouse, the putting surfaces appear unnaturally green compared to their surroundings.  This green color is not due to any photosynthetic activity, rather the dark coloration is due to the pigments that were applied in conjunction with our late fall plant protectants.  These products provide protection against cold weather fungi, which if left untreated, can be devastating to the turf over the winter.  Even though these snow molds are clearly visible in home lawns throughout the area and untreated rough on the course, the preventative products applied last fall have kept all greens, tees, and fairways free from these pathogens.  We will likely make follow-up applications of dark pigments over the course of the spring to foster growth. The dark color of the pigment will allow for greater absorption of solar radiation, leading to an earlier green-up and leaf growth.

8 White Right Side
Even though most turf appeared very healthy, there were a few areas of concern.  One example is pictured on the right.  The right side of 8 White green appears mottled.  The light brown patches are annual bluegrass, Poa annua.  Poa is much less hardy than its more desirable counterpart, creeping bentgrass.  Due to its questionable appearance, samples were taken from this green and brought indoors for further examination.  After watering and warmth, all turf on the sample responded by growing and turning green.  Based on this sample, I anticipate the brown patches of turf to be mostly superficial.  With the onset of warmer temperatures and a resumption of maintenance practices, I expect the putting surfaces to quickly outgrow any imperfections.

8 White Sample From Right Side

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