Over the last few weeks The Course and Grounds staff have been working on putting the golf course to bed for the winter and preparing it for spring. Golf Course putting greens that have a mixture of Creeping Bentgrass and Poa have three main threats that can damage turf over the winter.
Anoxia- occurs over extended periods of ice cover. 30-45 days are the maximum length of time poa annua can survive without oxygen. Management strategies include removing water and snow from greens before the formation of ice. Remove ice prior to the 30 day mark. Unfortunately weather conditions do not always cooperate when attempting either of these methods. Removing snow and ice can sometime expose the turf to desiccation.
Desiccation- occurs when turf is exposed to wind and cold conditions for prolonged periods of time. Desiccation removes the moisture from plant cells resulting in damage to turf by drought. Management strategies include tarps and snow cover.
Crown Hydration- occurs in spring during snow or ice melt. This form of winter damage is the most common form of winter injury. While temperatures are warm enough to melt significant snow and ice, subsequently a sudden drop in temperature to below freezing can burst plant cells causing turf loss. Management strategies are removing snow or ice prior to re-freezing. Surface drainage is critical during these freeze thaw events to get water off the green surface.
Winter surface drainage with heating coils
At Cutten fields the greens have a number of areas that collect and hold water during spring melt. In an effort to minimize the potential of crown hydration damage we have installed small drainage outlets through some of the low laying areas that are typically damaged. In addition, a heating coil has been installed in the trench to melt any ice that may accumulate in the trench. Course and grounds staff will monitor the trenches periodically through the winter and clear the trenches as required. This is an innovative technique and has not been utilized at any known golf course. The effectiveness will be determined in the spring. Please stay tuned throughout the winter season as updates to course conditions will continue.