Monday, December 21, 2015
Today marks the winter solstice – the shortest day of the year with only 9 hours and 32 minutes of daylight. With the warm temperatures that we have been experiencing I am not sure if a real winter will ever come, but just in case it does, we have been getting ready.
Over the past few weeks our staff has been doing their best to prep the course for the cold. Some of these preparations are:
Winterizing the irrigation system, or “blowing it out”. Using two air compressors we push the water out of the pipes and irrigation heads to prevent freeze damage. We also winterize the pump house, draining the pressure regulating valves, the system control cooling system, etc.
Needle –tining the greens which will help with surface drainage, air exchange, and will promote root growth while the soil temperatures remain above freezing.
We applied a fungicide to the greens to suppress cold weather diseases which can be very hard to control. Most likely we will follow this up with another application in four to six weeks, depending on the weather and disease pressure.
A light topdressing was applied to the greens to help protect them from winter desiccation.
We filled divots on tees and fairways, adding seed that will break dormancy and germinate as soon as the temperatures warm up in the spring. We also completed dormant seeding to areas on a few fairways.
A specialized turf cover was put over the Bermuda grass driving range tee. The cover will add a few degrees of warmth. A few degrees may not seem like much, but when you think about it, one degree is the difference between freezing and not freezing, so it can really matter. As the days lengthen in the spring, the cover will create a difference of up to ten degrees or more. Overall, the cover will help moderate temperatures, protect the turf from winter desiccation, and help the turf green up weeks earlier than it would if it was not covered.
We finished verti- quaking the fairways, tees, and areas of the rough. This of course isn’t just for the winter, but loosening the soils does provide better drainage through the winter, lessens the chance for disease, and helps with root growth come spring.
For the same reason, we ran the verti-quake over the lower practice green. If we have time and weather permits, we may also do the few greens that have heavy soils and poor drainage.
There have been a few other preparations, such as readying the tunnel pumps, bringing in tee and green accessories, etc.
We feel that we have done the best we can to prepare the course for the winter and in doing so, have also gained a head start on this coming spring!
With the season almost over, we want to take this time to wish all our members a very safe, happy, and joyful Holiday Season! Thank you for giving us your support this year – our staff appreciates all of you!