Winter 2016 has been quite mild thus far compared to our last two seasons. The winter has lacked any significant snow events and produced only small amounts of snow followed by rain and freezing temperatures, conditions perfect for making ice. Fortunately, temperatures quickly rise again clearing any ice, and avoiding periods of prolonged ice cover. Course and Grounds Staff have cleared greens 3 times so far this season in an attempt to avoid any ice from forming on the green surface. During our most recent snow/slush clearing event the channel drains with the heating coils that were installed during the fall were quite useful in quickly removing water from poorly draining areas on greens. This strategy of creating temporary channel drainage may prove to be critical during certain climatic conditions in winter.
The 2016 removal portion of the Tree Management Program is nearing completion. The majority of the removals this winter will add many hours of sunlight to the green surfaces. The additional sunlight will improve turf health by maximizing photosynthesis and increasing the plants carbohydrate/energy reserve. These benefits will assist in creating an environment where turf can better perform under environmental and mechanical stresses. The remainder of the 2016 Tree Management Program will be focused on preservation and new plantings. Many of the new planting locations have been selected. Additional research is currently underway to ensure the right species are selected for the right locations. As part of the preservation plan the Sugar Maple on the 18th green along with other selected trees will be cabled early this spring. Cabling will be completed utilizing a synthetic, rope-type, non-invasive tree cable. Tree cabling can improve tree safety and increase their longevity by offering structural support while allowing the tree to continue flourishing and growing.
Spring is not all that far away and before we know it we will be dusting off the clubs after a long winter. It’s a little premature to comment on spring conditions of the greens as we still have a few weeks of winter to navigate. At this point we are in good shape and the chances of turf suffering damage from anoxia (prolonged ice cover) are highly unlikely.