Thursday, February 25, 2010

ICE: Plus 63 days and counting!

Winter injury and death is always a constant concern of golf course superintendents in the "Great White North" as is a concern of mine once again this year.  The clock started ticking with the Christmas Eve's day rain event.  We had a good layer of snow on the ground to buffer this two day rain event.  Another rain event over the last weekend of January added another inch of liquid with the potential of capping our turf with smoothering ice.  Research (there's that word again) proves that Poa Annua (annual bluegrass) can survive under ice for 60 days with substantial loss after 75 days.  I will be walking out to areas prone to ice and will dig down through the snow to check on the ice very.  I will be checking the depth and condition of any ice layer found and will pull turf plugs if I sense "the smell of death."  Those plugs will be brought into the shop and will be placed in a window in a modified green house like environment to check for life.

As with any winter, I brace myself for turf loss.  I've already place an order for seed to avoid last minute rush to purchase.  However, to date I have not seen the conditions of a quick warm up with a sudden snow melt creating large pools of standing water.  I've seen more turf loss under standing water than I've seen from under a layer of ice.

I'll keep you posted.