USGA Northeast Agronomist, Jim Skorulski, had this to say about courses trying to recover from winter damage this Spring...
Recovery From Winter Damage: What A Difference A Year Makes
The weather affects everything we do in the golf industry, and the record cold, wet, and gray weather in March and April (until recently) has made for a slow and difficult start. Growing-degree-day accumulations are a solid 14 days behind last season’s accumulations through April 25th. Cold and wet weather periods in a New England spring are not an anomaly, but this season’s weather has been especially hard to stomach for both turf managers and golfers.
Those dealing with recovery from winter injury are feeling the weather’s impacts most. The first reports of seed germination (covered greens) were heard earlier this week on coastal New England golf courses, but this is much later than last year. The warm nighttime temperatures of the past few days will help establishment, but expectations for early recovery of seeded greens are not realistic at this point. Here are a few tips when dealing with this situation:
• Keep the covers handy just in case a hard frost or freeze is anticipated in the next few weeks.
• Spike-seed areas where germination has been poor.
• Use soluble nitrogen sources to spoon-feed the establishing turf and begin lightly topdressing the damaged areas once the seedling plants have emerged.
Although tempting, do not be too hasty in abandoning the seeding approach in favor of sod, unless you have a good-quality nursery or other source of sod available on the golf course. The recovery from seed may seem painfully slow, but this method usually produces a more durable and consistent surface by midsummer. Commercial sod will provide faster results initially, but its establishment can be tricky and the effects on the playing surface may be noticeable long past the summer season.