We applied our last application of sand to the greens this past week, finalizing our protective blanket which insulates the crowns (heart of the plant) on putting green turf. The insulation the sand provides has served us well in years past. We apply an average of 3 tons of sand per green, obviously relative to green size. The sand is not dragged into the surface because the abrasion would compromise turf health. Another plus to the sand application is that when spring arrives and new growth starts, we just perform a light dragging and the greens are firmer and smooth when opened. Soft spring greens would not allow us the opportunity to use the heavy, sand-laden equipment for fear of root damage and the depressions it would cause.
Notice in the article the removal of sod and re-grading on fronts of greens which allows for better surface drainage. We have done this on a few greens over the past few seasons with great success.
One more point... Tree issues. We continue to improve turf by reducing tree competition in primary turf areas by pruning, very selective removals and hopefully some root pruning this year (to be explained in subsequent blog entry). We love trees too! We exhaust every option before a tree is removed.
HERE IS THE USGA REPORT:
LAST MINUTE WINTER PREPARATIONS
By Adam Moeller, agronomist, Northeast Region
December 2, 2014
December 2, 2014
|Golfers and superintendents are hoping to avoid a repeat of the severe winter injury that was widespread across the region last year.|
Last minute winter preparations are underway at many golf courses throughout the Northeast Region. Severe winter injury occurred at many courses last year and everyone hopes a re-occurrence can be avoided. The Green Section Record articles “The Greatest Challenge and Winter Damage” are excellent references to learn about winter injury mechanisms and best management practices for prevention of winter injury.
Courses have scaled back mowing operations dramatically to save on labor and improve turf health as winter draws closer. Raising the putting green mowing height is a key factor in reducing winter injury potential. Many superintendents have raised their putting green mowing height to 0.150 inches or more (variable based on mower type and setup) to help reduce winter injury damage potential. Although the putting conditions may be altered, this program is in the best interest of the turf for next year.
Temporary greens have been installed in approaches at facilities that remain open throughout the winter. Golfers may not enjoy temporary greens, but they protect the turf on the putting greens so their use is encouraged. Any turf damage associated with playing on slow or non-growing putting greens is cumulative, and it may not be easy or fast to repair next season.
Winter injury is more severe on shaded turf; so many courses have removed trees that cast shade on putting greens. Trees may be important to some golfers, but when they create shade on putting greens they can cause severe turf decline. Donald Ross, famed golf course architect of Pinehurst and many other golf courses around the world said it best. “As beautiful as trees are, and as fond as you and I are of them, we must not allow our sentiments to crowd out the real intent of a golf course, that of providing fair playing conditions. If it in any way interferes with a properly played stroke, I think the tree is an unfair hazard and should not be allowed to stand.”
The elimination of collar dams or areas where surface drainage is blocked is another late season program being executed at many courses. If melting snow or ice cannot flow off the putting green, crown hydration injury potential is increased significantly. Correcting surface drainage problems could be an easy fix with a sod cutter and a digital level. In some cases however, a major facelift may be necessary to re-contour the putting green so water can drain off rapidly.