Friday, March 6, 2009

The Green Cover Shuffle

And they’re off…

I suppose I could have started by, “And we’re off”, since this is just our 2nd post in the launch of our new blog, but what I’m referring to are the green covers. Yes, the covers are off, but don’t get too excited just yet, as unfortunately the cold is not quite gone for good. But, with the temperatures finally warming yesterday, and with the next few days looking to remain rather mild, the time is right to pull them off for now.

At this point in the early spring we begin the “cover shuffle”. It’s the term I’ve affectionately given to the task of repeatedly pulling the green covers off when it’s mild, and putting them back on when the temperatures again drop below freezing. You may ask, “Why not just wait until it stays above freezing and then pull them off just once”? Oh, I wish it were that easy!

The covers serve several functions such as:

· Protection against desiccation due to cold, brisk winter winds during periods of no or very little snow cover
· Minimize deer, geese, and other mammal damage
· Protection against foot traffic frost damage by uninformed players, dog walkers, etc
· Allow us to shift our aeration later in the fall - covers provide enhanced growth; therefore, improving recovery time and closure of the holes
· Enhancing early spring root growth and most notable, spring green-up.

Below are examples of the issues minimized by the use of our green covers.

It’s rather striking when we first pull the covers off (as shown below), and many of you may not have seen this before. Fortunately, the new blog makes it possible for us to post photos of this, and many other things, as soon as we see them.

As I stated, the green covers enhance spring growth and green-up. They do this rather well as temperatures, sunshine, and day length increase, and because of this, we must carefully manage their use. Left on too long the covers will lead to excessive growth of a weak, spindly, off- colored, and disease prone conditions. Removed too early, and frost and freezing weather will quickly negate the many benefits gained. So, until the temperatures moderate and the low temperatures remain above freezing we’re in “cover shuffle” mode.

This year we have an added challenge of trying to slow growth slightly more than in the past, as we plan to engage our full labor resources later than usual. We’re hoping for periods of mild days, where we can pull the covers for several days at a time, letting the greens acclimate slowly and gradually green-up and grow, opposed to periods of widely fluctuating temperatures.

Hopefully, this post gives you more insight about the benefits and management our greens covering practice. This is the 19th winter season I’ve used covers (they last about 8 -9 years), and I must say, they have proven very beneficial.

The winter is not over, but the greens should be off to a great start, as they look very healthy, with no disease or damage. Our late fall, deep tine aeration holes/channels are still visible at this point, but the cover will go back on early next week with additional recovery to follow.

We’ll keep you posted, so check back often! Thanks for visiting!


  1. I just want to be the first to comment! Great job Scott and Don, for getting this up.

  2. Very well done, Scott and Don. We may never have to watch the Weather Channel again.

  3. I played 9 holes on Sunday and had plenty of fun aiming at the temp flags. The new pumphouse looks good (the roof anyway!). Thanks for having at least one tee uncovered on every hole---the new back tee on 14 is terrific. Can't wait for the back on 13 to be done.


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