Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spring 2014 Course Update

 As the brutal Winter of 13-14 ever so slowly turns to Spring we are all anxious to get out on the course. Many are wondering what the condition of the course is in and how much injury may be present. The purpose of this letter is to provide you with the latest information I have, photos of what the greens look like now, and our near future plans for recovery. This letter will likely precede the April Skokie News where I have detailed types of winter injury we may have received and our efforts to minimize these over the past few months.
A quick reminder for all, especially those whom resided in warmer climes the past few months, we have just been through one of the snowiest and coldest winters on record.  We received approx. 80” of snow, a few occasional warm periods which caused some snow melt, and many periods of well below freezing as well as, well below zero temperatures.  These occasional fluctuations in temperature and snow changing to ice periods are likely what led to some of the injury we are seeing and you can see in the photos below.  In spite of snow and ice removal on three separate occasions we apparently could not prevent some winter damage, to primarily the Poa annua grass component on our putting greens.
Our greens are a mixture of many varieties of creeping bentgrass and many bio-types of Poa annua and each of these have varying tolerances to cold and ice and right now these variances are clearly apparent. I feel that a fair amount of many of our greens will recover with time, sun, warmth, manipulating covers as needed, and many other cultural practices we’ll employ. In the most severe cases, and probably areas on most greens, we will need to reestablish turf and we’ll employ aeration, spiking, seeding, plugging, small sod patching, pigments and green sand topdressing to warm the soil, and covering to protect seedlings. We may have to begin the season with temporary greens on some holes and I will assure you now that where this is necessary we will provide good quality temporary surfaces.
Much more information will be forthcoming and again please look for more information in my  ‘Clippings” column and also by following me on Twitter @scc1897, or on this blog where my "tweets" are posted.
This is the worst winter kill I have seen in my twenty-four winters here at Skokie CC and thirty-six total years as a Superintendent. It would be a great time to have pure bentgrass greens and fairways, as bentgrass is much more resistant to winter injury, but we do not have pure bentgrass and so we have some work to do bringing our greens back to quality condition. We’ll get through this in time and we’ll get it done and hopefully with as little inconvenience as possible to you but I cannot say that there will not be some difficult times ahead and so I ask for your understanding and appreciate your patience during this very challenging and potentially lengthy recovery period. Thank you very much in advance.

Photos of each green follows and regular updates will be coming in the weeks ahead. Photo's of fairway areas will be forthcoming as weather warms and we can then ascertain extent of injury.

*WARNING - The images you are about to see can be Disturbing! Excessive viewing can lead to Insomnia, Hypertension, Depression, Anxiety, Irritability, Stress, Mood Swings, and other psychological and physiological conditions...all of which have been experienced by this author!  These will, however, hopefully all pass in a short time with no permanent lasting affects!

Note: You can click on images to enlarge. Then click X in upper right corner to minimize.

No. 1 Green. Significant injury across top portion. View across green rt to left. Many spots will recover, spot seeding will be necessary.

No. 2 Green. Half of left side injured. Most spots should recover.
No. 3 Green. Some ares will recover but large amount will likely need overseeding. This has been a ice / crown hydration injured green in the past.

No. 4 Green.  Swale area injured. Some areas will recover, some will need overseeding.

No. 5. Green. Looks worse than it will be after dormancy break. Most injury should recover. Photo really shows tolerance of bentgrass to winter extremes.

No. 6 Green. Potentially the most injured of all greens. Much of this will require overseeding & reestablishment.

No. 7 Green. Perhaps a close second to no. 6 in degree of severity of injury.
View back rt to front left.

No. 8 Green. Actually only this area beyond bunker injured. Should recover early.

No. 9 Green. These areas are severely damaged. Overseeding needed for sure!

No. 10 Green. Center portion injured. 
Most of this should recover with minimal overseeding required.

No. 11 Green. Injury throughout. 
All of our North facing greens injured even though we removed snow/ice repeatedly!
Significant overseeding work needed here.

No. 12 Green. Injury in swale areas at back of green. Most of this should recover.

No.13 Green. Not unlucky here! Very nice condition. No injury on green at all. This is the typical appearance of all of our greens most years.

No. 14 Green. Very nice also. No injury on green at all.

No. 15 Green. Very nice as well. No lasting injury here.

No.16 Green. Injury through swale running back right to front left. Most spots will recover.
No.17 Green. Off colored throughout. Much of this should respond favorably. Some areas will need overseeding.

No. 18. Back right is most injured spot on this green Other portions will likely recover but area lower left corner of photo will need overseeding.

So as you have now seen, I wasn't joking about the Disturbing Images! I also, as I mentioned several times, feel that many of these injured areas will recover in a short time. The most damaged areas in contrast, generally the lowest portions of swale or run-off areas, will require aeration, spiking, overseeding, frequent covering, and lots of TLC to restore to health, quality, putting surfaces.

We've had this happen before, though not nearly to this extent, but regardless we restored the damage in a reasonable amount of time. We can manipulate temperatures somewhat by covering, double covering, pigments, and colored sand & organic mixtures, but the weather still plays the greatest role in this regard.

In 2009 we had winter injury to a few greens, no.11 was one and is shown below:
 No. 11 Green, Mar.26, 2009 Severe ice / crown hydration damage

Approx. 1 month later, after aerating, spiking, overseeding, & frequent covering the area had significantly improved. Another couple weeks later (6-7 total) the area was completely recovered.

While past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance, based on our experience and with reasonable weather cooperation, we should be well on the road to recovery within a month and hopefully near complete recovery by mid-late May. 

I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

  1. Hi admin
    Its acutely awful, that is the blog you adore I absorbing it.
    What to attending for back selecting a tennis pro or adviser to apprentice the bold of tennis. The best way to apprentice the bold is to acquisition an adviser that has these qualities and qualifications.
    Best Regards
    Sheryl Garcia


***If you are a first time visitor to this blog and would like to view our Welcome Message, which includes the 2008 Year in Review slide show, click HERE.