Wednesday, December 14, 2011
The greens committee and I have put drainage as one of our top priorities going forward. Many of our turf struggles are directly related to drainage and the lack of evacuating water efficiently. Two areas of the golf course that have been habitual problems for ponding and holding water are the top of #11 fairway and #18 North of the fairway. The picture top left is #11 and top right #18, notice how poor the turf quality is due to poor drainage.
The lack of snow and warm weather has allowed us to get most of the drainage in these two areas done. All that is left is sodding over the top of the drain lines, which will be done in early spring. This added drainage will help evacuate water rapidly and grow healthier, denser turfgrass plants.
Below the pictures show some of the work on #11/#18, most of the work was done by trenching and removing the native soil. Then 4" perforated drain tile was added with 3/4" stone and finally the top layer was back filled with soil, which is now waiting for sod. Also small 4" catch basins where added in low areas to remove surface water. The large tile shown in the pictures is 24" plastic culvert pipe that will act as a catch basin in the low area in #18 rough. We also install them in areas where a large number of tile lines meet like #11. We place these large catch basins in the rough in out of play areas. Once the drainage grate is installed, it will allow water in and not be a hazard for the golfer!
Other locations we are considering for drainage next year are: #18 approach/surround, #4 fairway low areas, #14 fairway/rough, and #16 fairway low area. As I mention these areas, we all know how bad they look and play, which is why we are making it such are large priority. We also are evaluating surface and subsurface drainage on our putting surfaces. The installation of XGD subsurface drainage on #9 and #12 is a great addition. In the future we hope to do more in realm of greens drainage both surface and subsurface.
Winter is a great time for tree management. Last week, I toured the course with the Greens and Grounds Committee as part of our ongoing tree management program. We analyzed nearly every tree on the golf course based on the following criteria: i) tree health; ii) effect on sunlight, airflow, and nutrients to fine turf areas; and iii) short and long-term effect on maintenance, playability, and design.
This winter, we will transplant 40-50 trees to more desirable locations throughout the property. Disturbed turf areas will be filled and prepared for sod so that course opening preparations are not delayed.
Monday, November 28, 2011
The checklist of items in chronological order:
- Winterize and blowout of the irrigation system and pump house.
- Winterize 5 & 13 building for the season.
- Fungicide applications for the prevention of snow mold on tees, greens and fairways.
- Removal of items from the course. This includes ball washers, benches, garbage receptacles, bunker rakes, hole signs, etc. Many of these items are painted prior to the upcoming golf season.
- Deep tining of greens to help prevent the build up of water on the surface of our greens. These holes go down 7-8" and move water off the greens surface during snow melt or rain.
- Moderate sand topdressing applied to greens, tees and approaches.
- Green covers put on holes #1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 17, and the putting green.
The forecast for the next week and half looks cold but no significant snowfall is expected. After we finish our closing procedures we will look to finish some items on the course. #11 drainage, seeding of #13 wooded area, #18 drainage are things we will try to tackle as long as weather permits.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
The early snow storm and heavy rain has delayed the installation of our new septic mound. As many of you have noticed there is a temporary truck path running across #18 fairway. Since we are going to be putting in drain tile in #18 approach anyway, this will give us a great opportunity not only correct subsurface issues but correct some surface drainage issues as well. By slightly re countering that area we can keep water out of the tiny pockets that used to exist in this approach.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Yesterdays early November snow storm dumped 2-3" of snow on the course. Prior to Wednesday's snowfall we received 1.75" of rain on Monday-Wednesday. Temporarily the course is closed until the snow melts which, may not happen until Saturday or Sunday. Sunday's forecast does look nice with highs in the 50's. We will keep you posted on when the golf course will reopen for play. Due to the heavy rainfall and wet snow carts will not be allowed until further notice.
Friday, November 4, 2011
Why is it important for the superintendent to suspend play until the frost is gone?
Grass plants are made up of mostly water, this water turns into very fragile crystals of ice. Simply walking on turf with frost can cause damage, particularly on a green were the height of cut is around 1/8". Walking on a grass plant with frost is like breaking glass or cracking an egg.
Why not just throw the sprinklers on to get rid of the frost?
This method can work however many factors must be considered before turning on overhead irrigation. What is the air temperature? . . . What is the soil temperature? . . . What temperature is the irrigation water? . . . How heavy is the frost that is covering the grass? I have seen were turning on overhead irrigation causes more frost and in turn makes the delay much longer !!
As a maintenance staff we try to keep the proshop as informed as possible regarding the length of the delay. Keep in mind this is only a guess, and hourly updates usually keep the membership/proshop up to date as to the length of the delay.
Thank you and your cooperation in adhering to these policies is greatly appreciated !!
Here is a informational link to frost delays:
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
The new bunker left of #4 green is very pleasing, however a little to steep to climb into so we added some stairs. The stairs are a nice addition and will help those who had a hard time getting in and out.
The large cottonwood tree behind #7 green is beautiful to look at but tree roots invade the putting surface taking important water and nutrients away from the green. Because the tree is massive in size and has beautiful form we chose to root prune. Root pruning is the process of cutting off tree roots so that they no longer interfere with turf health. We used our trencher to dig down several feet to sever any tree roots on the south side of the tree. Then we simply back filled, tamped and sodded back over the trench. The trench is outside of the drip line so that it does not affect tree health. This is an important process especially in times of drought were turf health can be severely compromised. By doing it now we are better able to give the putting surface the right amount of water without having it taken by invasive tree roots. In the coming years we plan to do some more root pruning where important trees are affecting turf quality (i.e. #18 fairway etc.). Also areas like this will have to be root pruned again once the roots grow back to the green which will take several years. The pictures below show the tree in question and the finished product once sodded. The new sod lines are barely noticeable and one can hardly tell what was done here.
Cart Path Edges
And lastly we began sodding cart path edges that are worn and rutted from cart traffic. We began with areas of cart paths nearest tees and greens. Currently #4 green, #5-#13 tees and #14 tee areas have been sodded along cart paths. We will continue to tackle the worst cart path edges and stake them appropriately to keep cart traffic to a minimum. Below is the finished product along #14 tee, their is no longer any ruts and bare ground!
Also in the coming days we will be doing drainage work on #18 specifically around the green and in the approach. We have all observed standing water in this area after a heavy rainfall and adding drainage will be a big improvement in times of continual rain. This project will take days to complete and any areas related to the drainage work are to be played as ground under repair.
If weather permits we will also be draining the large low area on the north side of #18 fairway approximately 60 yards from the green. This area holds water for days sometimes weeks depending on how much rain we receive. We will be able to tackle that once the mound system is finished and weather permitting.
We will keep you updated on the status of these events in the coming days and weeks.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
For the remainder of the week we will be solid tining tees and topdressing with sand. This process is minimally invasive and should have little, if any affect on your round. Thanks!
Monday, October 24, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
These people deserve recognition for helping out and thanks for all the hard work!!
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Here again is a link to XGD systems for more information:
The fairway aerification is going well as I have stated in previous posts. There is some soil in some areas along with some small areas of weak turf on #4, #7 swale and right of #18fairway. These areas rose up and have a washboard look to them. When aerating 28 acres of turf it is not uncommon to run into small areas like this from time to time. Those small areas are being repaired today by our staff. We now have 5 holes remaining. Because of the weather forecast we will not be aerating fairways today or tomorrow.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The holes that have been aerated are healing in nicely and in some cases completely healed over. The pictures below are taken from #1 fairway, as you can see no aerification holes are present. Some holes however, still have some lose soil at the surface but should disappear with time or wash away during the up coming rains.
Friday, October 7, 2011
Also a reminder that the grass portion of the range tee will be closing for the season Monday October 10th. A communication was sent out by the golf shop regarding this closure. Keep in mind the range is not closed but you will be required to hit off mats. The putting and chipping greens however are going to stay open.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Because of the nature of the project we will need to temporarily close the hole that they are working on to allow them to do their work efficiently. They will be doing one hole at a time and once they finish that hole it will be open for play immediately. So in the 3 days of their visit only one hole will be closed at a time and we will keep informed as to which hole to skip. We are sorry for any inconvenience and we thank everyone for their support of this project!
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
And lastly, we will be slowly raising the height of cut on our putting surfaces. In the coming weeks we should expect green speeds to be slower. The higher the height of cut, the better and healthier the root structure. By preparing now we give turfgrasses the opportunity to utilize the nice weather to make itself healthy so that it can better withstand the stresses of winter and summer.
You can expect fairways that are completed to have a lot holes and some small areas of soil. Overall the fairways will be very playable and softer than we are used too. On the fairways that are aerified, play lift clean and place, this will allow you to clean any mud you may have picked up on your ball. With good weather and some timely rain the fairways should recover nicely, two weeks after they were completed. Below are pictures of #1 fairway once it was completed. As you can see fairways are clean and from afar (lower right picture) you would hardly know we aerated.
Core aerificaiton is an important process for all turfgrasses. It relieves compaction, helps elongate roots, removes thatch, improves soil gases, and helps with water infiltration. Core aerification is vital to improving the health and playability of our fairways.
Thanks and we apologize for any inconvenience.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Along with slit seeding we have been plugging areas on greens like #13 where we have some weak areas. The reason for plugging instead of seeding is because the areas are larger and will take longer to heal. The picture below is of Tony plugging areas of #13 green. By plugging we hope to get more uniform turf coverage and healing before winter.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Ridgeway Drainage Solutions by Stan Martenson
I have been on the Greens and Grounds Committee for 4-5 years. I am a Civil Engineer and work with drainage year round. In addition to normal G&G activities, I joined G&G to help solve drainage issues in 4 areas:
• Regular ponding on the north side of 18 near the fairway tree
• Regular ponding on 11 in front of the silver tee box
• Frequent ponding on 11 at the bottom of the range
• Frequent ponding in 3 fairway low area
After many flooding occurrences, I convinced Tom Wenzel to mark up a course map with the sprinkler system to show all drain tiles lines he was aware of as best he could. I finally got the map in late 2009, transferred the info to AutoCAD, and can reproduce, add to, or change as needed. Discussions in 2010 and early 2011 centered on “Do we have blockages caused by siltation or from damage caused by the sprinkler system installation?”
I found the answer this summer when the Saturday morning Red Coat was postponed. I knew we had heavy rain in the early morning. When I got the e-mail that the course was closed, I headed out to Ridgeway to walk around. AMAZING!!
I had known for a couple years that the Ridgeway Drive residential area SE of the maintenance building drains through the golf course in a 12” pipe. When I got to the course, I couldn’t find the pipe inlet on Ridgeway Drive, water was coming OUT of the manhole on the east side of 12 fairway, the drains on 11, and the drains on 3. The discharge west of 16 tee box sounded like a raging river. I now call it “Trying to put 20#’s of shit in a 5# bag.” Steve Blake and I spent a couple hours looking at various situations and monitoring water flow off the course.
Conclusions and Solutions
The main drain is not plugged. It is too small. Field survey work is completed and we are looking at preliminary sizing. We have good slope across the course. The Town of Clayton is looking at street improvements in the Ridgeway Drive area. We hope to work cooperatively with them to install a new drain across the course in fall of 2012 that is sized to serve both our needs.
The drain in front of 11 silver tee is just a stone sump. A new tile line will be trenched in when time and budget permits.
The ponded area on the north side of 18 can be tiled to existing tile on the south side by the treatment plant when time and budget permits.
The ponded area on 11 at the bottom of the range is drained by 2 – 8” tile to the #12 manhole. Additional evaluation will be made to see if more capacity is needed or if a larger main drain will solve the problem.
The cost of implementing the solutions will be more than offset by saving one large event.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Saturday, September 10, 2011
We chose not to do any heavy hand-watering or use of wetting agents to push contaminates into the soil profile. This would only lead to severely hampering the recovery efforts because the soil would be contaminated making it hard to get grass to grow in that area. By keeping it in the leaf tissue we minimize the impact it may have on that area for the future. We will keep you posted in coming days to update you on the situation. Meanwhile here is an article on hydraulic leaks:
Sunday, September 4, 2011
I have a few helpful links that can further shed light on the subject. They relate to aerification and the need to aerify after the harsh weather we have experianced the past 2 seasons.
Overall the aerification went well except for a couple of mechanical problems that left blemishes on #2 and #16 greens. Both situations have been fixed and should blend in nicely over time. You may have noticed that we also aerified and topdressed approaches. This was done to allow for our approaches to mirror our greens in firmness, quality, and playability. Overtime with the same practice of aerifying with greens our approaches should firm up, drain better and produce more options around the greens.
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Friday, September 2, 2011
This morning at around 9:30 we lost approximately 12 trees and some large branches. 70 + mph winds and heavy rain pelted the course leaving behind a large mess of debris. Most of the damaged trees where between #5, #13, and #14. Many white pines, ashes and silver maples where affected.
Currently we are cutting up the trees that are the most in play. Currently the greens are clear for play and tomorrow we will continue to blow tees and fairways. Also this weekend we will be working on the trees that are out of play to get them removed from the golf course. Tonight and tomorrow is calling for more rain and storms, hopefully without high winds. If we receive a lot rain in the next couple of days it may hinder removing the rest of the trees from the golf course in an efficient manner. Please be patient while we clean up the mess. Thanks.
For those who are curious, this is the 4th storm of the season that has taken trees from Ridgeway!
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Below is the July and early August high and low temperatures recorded here at Ridgeway CC. I put in the days where the high temperature was over 85 degrees or the low temperature was over 68 degrees. In many cases during this period, both the high and the low temperatures exceeded both marks. In fact, we had a 10 day stretch where the temperature was never lower than 68 degrees and as high as 96 degrees. As you may recall we had many days of high humidity and dew points in the upper 60's and low 70's. In this time frame we also experienced 8.2" of rain which only made the situation worse. Excessive heat both daytime/nighttime, high humidity, excessive rain events, little wind, and dew points in the 70's in not a good situation for turfgrasses. Keep in mind that turfgrass roots die-off at 70-72 degree soil temperatures. Rainfall and high humidity kept the soil oversaturated and on certain greens we saw some decline. The combination of all of these weather factors, our heavy clay soil profile, lack of ability to evacuate water after rain events, our grass types (mainly Poa annua), poor air circulation, and weakened areas from winterkill all are contributing factors to turf decline. #6, #9, #12, and #13 green thinned out in areas and we took a conservative approach to managing these greens. Skipping mowing, high heights of cut on these greens, decreased rolling all kept these greens healthier. By simply mowing #6 green from .140" to .160" we saw rapid recovery in the low areas of this green.
Here is the days of note from July 1st-August 3rd.
July 1st 92/75
26th- 28th Nice
Aug 1st 86/72
What does this mean from the golfers perspective? It means you may have greens that are not mowed or rolled. Also some that are mowed, are cut higher than healthy greens, so some inconsistent speeds are to be expected. Overall the greens in these types of situations will be slower overall. The #1 priority is to maintain turf health, not green speed! Being as conservative as we have been, we still had areas of decline but luckily the areas were small.
The weather has been great lately and we have not had hot, rainy weather; so why have green speeds and firmness not reflected what we are used too despite the nicer weather? It would seem that once the weather gives way we could go back; pick up speed and firmness on the putting surfaces. But in reality, the roots we had at the end of June are nonexistent. In some cases we have roots that are less than 1" in depth. This means we still need to be conservative with greens heights and water more frequently than we would like too. A higher height of cut, in the long run, will equal deeper roots. The recent dry weather has been good but we must keep things wetter because the roots are at the surface. Last Sunday and Monday we core aerified greens and this process will bring much needed relief to Ridgeway's putting greens.
What are the solutions to our problems?
There are many solutions to the problems that plague Ridgeway's greens. The weather is one solution that is out of our hands. But there are many other long-term solutions that can help us combat turf decline in adverse weather situations. I break down good greens in 3 main categories: drainage, sunlight, and air flow. They include:
1.) Improve the internal drainage on our problem greens. Examples would be #4, #6, #9, #11, #12, and #13. Internal drainage on these greens would allow for the evacuation of water thus making them more like our other greens. They would be healthier because excess water would not be trapped at the surface and allow for greater root growth. The likelihood of scalping and higher/different height of cuts on these greens would be greatly diminished. Stay tuned for more details . . .
2.) Continue to core aerify, deep-tine, and frequent sand topdressing. These processes will diminish the presence of organic matter which holds water at its surface. Other benefits are deeper roots, increased soil oxygen, firmer greens, smoother greens, thatch dilution, and less overall water holding capacity. These processes are vital to good greens health and playability. They are however invasive to the playability of the course and the benefits of a consistent program are not realized till years down the road! But those who adhere to these practices are healthier and more playable. Skipping these practices means we revert back to shallower roots, poor soil oxygen, more organic matter, and we lose the ability to condition the golf course in a manner that people have come to expect at other clubs.
3.) Environment: Air Circulation and Sunlight. We have done a great job of changing the environments of some of our putting surfaces by selectively cutting down trees. That being said we could do a little more to improve air flow and sunlight on some of our problem greens (i.e. #12). Also the addition of fans in certain areas of the golf course would help tremendously.
4.) Sound water management. This means deep and infrequent watering supplemented by hand watering when necessary. By going deep and infrequent we allow roots to dig deeper to search for water. Deeper roots=equals healthier plants. Over watering causes shorter roots, soft conditions, slower greens, disease issues, poor soil oxygen, and an increase in organic matter.
If Ridgeway continues to have a consistent program of topdressing, aerifciation, and water management we can slowly improve turf health and playability. Drainage and selective tree management will help curb turf decline in periods of stress. Lastly a little luck from mother nature would be nice too!
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Monday morning at 9 AM we experienced a severe storm that produced 70 MPH wind gusts that knocked down several of our trees, most notably the beautiful Hickory tree right of #1 fairway. With the hard work of my assistant’s and our seasonal crew we were able to clean up the trees Monday. We expect to remove the stumps in the near future… Thanks!
We have sprayed our tees, greens, fairways, and green banks for the disease however because of the enormous cost of spraying rough it has been left untreated. The past several mornings we have noticed Pythium in our roughs. If you plan on playing golf in the early morning hours (i.e. before 8 AM) you may experience delays because we are diligently scouting the golf course for the disease. Your patience is needed to allow us to better keep the golf course out of harm’s way. If ropes are on the golf course please abide by them and do NOT under any circumstances walk into that area. If you need a ball please ask Jason Hogue, Bill Verbrick or myself to rectify any lost ball. You patience and understanding is greatly appreciated!
Thursday, April 28, 2011
There are many factors that encourage winter kill to occur they include: grass species, lack of drainage, over abundance of trees near the putting surfaces, and weather. Poa annua is much more susceptible to winter kill than any other grass. At Ridgeway, we have about 80-90% Poa annua on our greens while many other courses have much higher populations of bentgrass. This is why courses in close proximity many have winter kill while others may not. That being said, there are also differing varieties of Poa annua. Poa annua var. annua is a truly annual species of grass while Poa annua var. reptans is a perennial that seeds out in spring and lives on as a perennial. The truly annual species of Poa is obviously weaker and more susceptible to stress. Bentgrasses are much hardier against winter kill and are one of the main reasons golf courses renovate greens to make it the dominate species.
Lack of drainage is a huge factor that affects winter kill because melting snow and water can more easily get trapped on the greens surface. Because it gets trapped, subsequent cold temperatures freeze the trapped water and form a nice layer of ice. Ice, as I will mention later is detrimental to turfgrasses especially Poa annua. Improving drainage will greatly help in minimizing turf loss due to ice formation and crown hydration problems.
Trees that border or in close proximity to the putting surface can increase the likely hood of winter kill. Spruce trees and other conifers are especially detrimental because of the dense shade it casts over the putting surfaces during the short days of winter. Conifers that are to the south and south-east are problematic because the greens are virtually covered in shade for the entire day in mid-winter. Shade inhibits the sun from melting any ice cover and keeps the temperatures colder than that of greens in full sun. Selectively removing trees particularly south of the putting surfaces is a smart idea to allow for more sunlight in winter months.
The most important factor and one that Superintendents have yet to control, is the weather. Some years are better than others for winter kill and some areas get hit hard while others are left unscathed. For instance, the Milwaukee-Chicago area was hit hard by winter kill last year, however just north of the Milwaukee area was seemingly unaffected at all. This year at Ridgeway we received a lot of snow and a lot of melting. This can be problematic because melting snow pools up and refreezes over and over again. This type of scenario usually produces ice cover that sits on the green for extended periods of time. Having talked to several superintendents they have also experienced winter kill this spring. Golf courses with more Poa annua and poor drainage are more affected this year than courses with higher populations of bentgrass and better drainage. Other forms of weather can also be problematic. Winter weather that produces no snow and bitter cold is problematic, it causes dessication. Other scenarios are times when mid-winter thaws are followed by extreme temperature drops that shock turfgrass plants. And in some cases regardless turf species, drainage, and trees the weather causes extensive winter kill to the point nothing could have been done to prevent it.
There are many types of winter-kill, they are as follows: extended ice cover, crown hydration, direct temperature kill, desiccation, and snow mold diseases. In a year where winter kill is present anyone of these factors can cause turf death. Again Poa annua is the most susceptible to all of these forms of winter-kill while bentgrass is almost rarely affected.
Snow mold diseases affect turf over winter and are usually not an issue for Ridgeway because we spray tees, greens and fairways with the proper fungicides that protect the plants over winter. Both bentgrasses and Poa annua are highly susceptible to snow mold diseases thus requiring the same fungicides for proper control.
Desiccation is winter kill that is associated with very cold winters with very little to no snow cover. The plant is then exposed to cold temperatures and high winds. This has an effect on the turf similar to putting your hand on dry ice. There are many ways to protect turfgrass plants from desiccation, one way is by putting out covers over the putting surfaces that help protect the plants from cold and wind. The other method is by applying moderate amounts of sand that act as a blanket and protect the crown of the plants from extreme cold. Both methods are successful against desiccation, we chose to cover our greens, tees and approaches with sand. We have enough covers to use on 8 of our greens at Ridgeway, by putting sand over our greens we were able to cover all 18 greens instead of just 8. The other side benefit is that we are able to incorporate the excess sand into our greens profile. Increasing the amount of sand in our greens profile is one of our higher priorities that our staff and greens committee feel is very important. Burying greens with sand in late fall is a common practice that many golf courses use to protect the plant overwinter while adding sand to their greens profile. A couple of months ago there was a blog post about this exact topic and reading it will give you more insight on why sand and not covers.
Direct temperature kill is another form of winter kill that happens typically when warm mid winter thaws leave the plant unprotected and large swings in temperature shock the plant causing it to die. This happens usually on exposed turf in a short time frame when temperatures go from lets say 45-50 degrees to sub-zero in a matter of hours. Usually sand and covers do an excellent job of protecting the greens from this type of injury. However, in extreme cases nothing can be done to prevent this type of turf loss. Again Poa annua is most susceptible to this type of turf loss.
Extended ice cover and crown hydration are the last two forms of winter injury that I would like to discuss because they are main reasons for turf loss at Ridgeway this year. Continual snows and several thaws left solid ice cover for many days on our Poa greens. Initially, we were able to remove ice with black sand and milograinte (see recent blog post). Poa annua greens can only with stand 30-60 days of ice cover before carbon dioxide reaches toxic levels. The plant then dies from a lack of gas exchange a term called anoxia. Bentgrass can survive 90-120 days of ice before it has issues with an excess of carbon dioxide. As you can see Poa annua is much weaker and can succumb to winter kill due to ice cover way before bentgrass. In fact, it is rare to see bentgrass affected by ice because 90+ days of ice cover is very, very uncommon. Crown hydration is somewhat related to ice cover because can be caused by poor greens drainage. Crown hydration is when melting snow or rain water is taken in by the plant and a sudden change in air temperature causes the plants to burst. This would be similar to taking a plastic soda bottle at room temperature and putting it in your freezer, after a few hours the bottle bursts. This is a good analogy of what happens with crown hydration and turfgrasses. Once again Poa annua is more susceptible to this type of winter injury. Bentgrasses are more resilient and can withstand this type of injury better than Poa. This scenario was the case in late March when the golf course was water logged and free of snow. A wet late season snow storm dumped 10" of new snow. Standing water underneath was exposed to 4 days in a row of temperatures in the single digits. This scenario in combination with excess ice cover early in the winter provided a situation in which the weak Poa annua was unable to fight against winter kill.
Here is an article about crown hydration:
For more information about ice and winter injury look at past blog posts about some of the issues we encountered last winter. There you can also find professional articles related to ice and other forms of winter kill. Also in the next couple of days look for blog posts the show what steps are being taken to bring the greens back from winter damage.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Link to Bob Vavrek's article:
Thursday, February 3, 2011
What does this mean? Ice cover on a green can cause considerable damage if left on the putting surface for long periods of time. The duration of ice cover, before damage will occur, depends on the species of grass that is under the ice. Ridgeway Country Club's greens are predominately (80% +) Poa annua and the duration of ice cover before damage will occur can vary from 30-60 days depending on the what research article you read. Bentgrass however, can withstand 90 and in some cases 120 days of ice cover. Ice cover produces a scenario where gas exchange is greatly hindered and the grass plant suffocates to death. Anoxia is the term used to describe this phenomenon and is basically turf death due to a lack of oxygen. In order to minimize turf loss due to anoxia, ice cover must be removed to allow the grass plant to breath and receive the oxygen it needs to live.
The above pictures are of the greens after the snow was removed and only the ice was showing.
These last two pictures are after black sand and milogranite was applied to the surface of the ice. The last picture shows melting of the ice after black sand and milorgranite was applied.
Many important factors must be taken into account when removing or melting ice from greens. One factor is the temperature that is being forcasted immediately following the removal of snow and ice. If snow and ice is removed with cold temperatures or high winds, this can cause other forms of winter injury due to desiccation or direct temperature kill. Snow is a good insulator from the elements, which is why we only removed as much snow as needed to melt ice. A few snow storms since Friday have helped cover the greens to keep them insulated against the wind and cold. Another factor to consider is, what turf species predominates our putting surfaces and what action if any is needed to protect your greens. Because we have a large Poa annua population it is imperative to get the ice off before the 30-60 day window. If we would have mostly bentgrass more than likely no action would be taken because 90 + days of ice cover is needed for problems to arise.
People have asked: why not just use greens covers and we won't have ice? In my experience green covers do little to combat ice coverage. Simply put, if we had green covers we would have ice on top of covers and would have to go through the same process as I explained up above. Green covers work well for other types of winter injury, that being said so does burying greens in a nice layer of sand. We chose to bury our putting surfaces in sand because we could protect all 18 greens, tees, and approaches from dessication. Conversely, we only have enough covers to protect about 8 greens. Applying a nice layer of sand has some nice side benefits as stated by Bob Vavrek in an article written in the USGA green section record, titled "There Is No Time Like The Present."
Vavrek states this about late fall topdressing,
Monday, January 31, 2011