A frosty start to a beautiful weekend. Hopefully not the last!
Winterizing the course actually began a few weeks ago with nutrient applications targeted to extend photosynthesis (which improves energy storage) as well as strengthen the turf plants aiding cold stress tolerance. These applications were completed on all turf areas (greens, tees, fairways, rough) and while they are very important, our activities over the weekend were essential and included clearing water from the irrigation system, the tennis court sprinkler system, and drinking water lines, and applying plant protection products to greens, tees, and fairways to prevent winter disease activity.
The process of clearing the irrigation system and other water lines involves attaching an air compressor capable of producing a large volume of air to the main line pipe at the pump station and then actuating every head (nearly 2000 now) individually, until all water is "blown" free. Additionally, manual coupling valves are cleared and the pump station is thoroughly drained.
The big "Blower"...a 750 Cubic Feet / Minute Compressor
Adding some mist to the morning...an almost clear sprinkler
All clear...until next spring
Our other critically important "winterization" task is plant protectant applications to prevent two potentially damaging diseases. There are fungi that can cause disease at any time of the year, and the early winter through spring period is unfortunately no exception.
Plant Protection in Action
A very common disease active during our current cool and damp conditions (and continuing until warm temperatures return next spring) is a disease called Microdochium Patch.
Microdochium Patch (photo fortunately not from SCC!)
When snow cover eventually occurs, another less common but more destructive disease is called Typhula Blight, or more commonly known as Gray Snow Mold. Snow cover actually provides an insulating layer for this fungi, preventing it from drying out.
Typhula Blight (photo fortunately not from SCC!)
Microdochium Blight - (this one is from #17 at SCC -now treated!)These two diseases are generally our main off season concern and the primary targets of our late fall/winter preventive plant protectant applications.
Additional winterizing tasks include deep tine aeration and sand topdressing of the greens (which began today) and covering of the greens and several tees prior to freezing conditions. Hopefully these "freezing conditions" are still several weeks away!