Thursday, January 28, 2010

From the Golf Course, January 2010

From the Golf Course

As we all know this winter weather has really been something to contend with this year in Iowa.

On the golf course I do have some concerns about the condition of the golf course turf. The ice storm that we received this week has done some damage to trees. The accumulating ice has made some branches break off and we may not see the full effect of the ice storm until the trees try to leaf out in the spring. Right now there were no major trees that fell.

The heavy snow that we received on December 7th has really insulated the turf. I have checked several places the last week on the golf course and there is very little frost in the ground. Good news is as the snow melts, the water is going in the ground and does not seal the turf off as an ice layer. The grass has been respiring all winter and it is very green. I do think that we will see a higher incidence of snow mold which is a fungus that affects the turf. We do spray for it and hopefully our treatments will hold until the snow melts.

Here at the club I do have some soil moisture and temperature sensors that work all winter. We have been watching these sensors all winter. The chart that I have included shows the soil temperature at a 2” depth. You can see that in the last 2 months we have not been below the freezing point very much.

I have seen this type of condition before during the winter. Sometimes spring flowering bulbs will suffer. They require a frozen period and if they do not experience sometimes they will rot in the ground. Also insects have a higher survival rate if the ground does not freeze, so you could possibly see some higher survival rates of certain species of insects.

On a brighter note, last week the Iowa Golf Course Superintendents Association held it’s annual conference and show. During their annual meeting Greg Willman our South course superintendent was awarded 2009 Golf Course Superintendent of the Year for the State of Iowa, quite an honor. Greg was also elected to the IGCSA Board of Directors.

Rick Tegtmeier, CGCS