Saturday, March 2, 2013

Here we go again?

Curiosity got the best of me.  I knew I would find ice once again on putting surfaces, but the question was "how much?"  So I grabbed my snow shoes from my garage, bolted them on my feet and went for a walk.  (I had forgotten how tiring walking in the snow could be so I managed a little exercise to boot.)

I figured I would find ice on the first green but what kind of ice?  Would I find solid clear ice, milky white ice (preferred) and at what thickness would I find it?

Snow depths over most open areas of the golf course average about 12" in depths.

Point confirmed, ice present! (But it is present like this every year.)  I'm guess estimating that the ice layer formed the 10th of February when all day rains turned my driveways into a sheet of ice.  (For some reason our onsite weather station did not record any rain for that day and needs to be checked.)

While the picture doesn't show real well, the depth of the ice is approximately 1 -1.25 inches thick.  Touring other greens adjacent to the first reveled .25 inch of ice cover on #10 and ice to a depth of 1 inch in the drainage pattern on #8.

What are we going to do about it?  Right now, nothing.  The ten to twenty five day forecast is calling for seasonal temperatures.  Nothing too warm.  This might be a good thing.  What we need is a nice slow melt. A fast quick thaw might trigger the plants to break dormancy and then the possibility of death occurs when temperatures fall back into the teens, which we know they will.  The ice this winter formed late enough in the year that I'm not at all worried about ice suffocation.  (60 days for Poa; 150 days for Bent.)  Our snow melt in mid January found unfrozen soils and the water drained away leaving behind no harmful puddles.  Also, aerification holes will allow for faster drainage and drying of putting surfaces when snow melt does happen.

What we have going for us this year is the benefit of a late season deep tine aerification coupled with a second solid tine aerification and a heavy topdressing to protect the plants.  The aerifications will improve surface drainage and oxygen exchange.  The topdressing will protect the crowns of the plants.  Also I allowed the greens to "shag out" like the winter coat on horse to allow the plant additional leaf surface to maximize food production and storage.  (Plant health.)  Also, the extensive work regrassing putting greens that thinned out or succumbed to last years drought should pay dividends too.  Your greens were as healthy heading into winter as I have seen them for some time.

With that said, today I will be looking into pricing out a snow blower that will fit on our tractor to help us remove snow and ice as quickly as possible, if needed, when the time comes.  _Mk