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Thursday, February 17

February Thaw

I know most of us are getting a little spring fever with these 50 degree temps, but we still have a long way to go until opening day.  I took a tour of the course this morning to see what the turf is dealing with.  First, we still have up to 3 feet of snow in some spots and other areas like 16 white tee are snow free. As I walked on 15 green the first thing I noticed was how slippery the surface was under the snow.  The picture above shows a half inch of ice on the putting surface.  This isn't the first time superintendents have encountered this issue.  There is plenty of research available through the MGCSA, GCSAA and most universities.  Injury exists when a few days of warm daytime temperatures in late winter is followed by a rapid freeze. The most common time for winterkill associated with crown hydration and refreezing to occur is during the late winter and early spring when there is snow melt or rainfall and then refreezing of the water that has not drained away.  Some universities site that carbon dioxide accumulation under ice cover is a major contributor to the death of plants.  Most research says Creeping Bentgrass can handle 75 to 120 days under ice cover and Annual Bluegrass (Poa annua) can take around 60 days.  As of today we sit at 89 days with at least an inch of snow since the snow season began on November 13, 2010.   In years past the Bentgrass has been under ice cover for longer periods and little winter kill was evident.  I am not writing this update to scare you, but to make you aware of the conditions of the turf at this time.  
15 Green Ice
16 White Tee
Snow Mold on bluegrass.

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