Thursday, February 20, 2014

Snow removal from greens

I took a tour of the course today to evaluate the conditions underneath the snow.  The few areas that I uncovered on the fairways are looking good so far.  When you have extended periods of snow cover, the risk for "snow mold" is high.  We sprayed a preventive application for this in November and so far we have not had a break through in the small areas I sampled.

The fairways looked good when uncovered.

The greens on the other hand have a significant layer of ice built up underneath the snow.  poa annua can live around 60 days under ice cover, we are currently at 40 days of ice cover

Therefore we made the decision today to uncover all the greens (or as many as we can).  In doing this, we hope the temperatures are warm enough to melt the ice layer that has built up.  We are also allowing the melted snow a place to escape and run off.  If we did not uncover the greens the snow would continue to melt, the water would move down to the current ice layer and freeze - creating an even thicker layer of ice that would last most likely for the next 3 weeks.

This method is not "guaranteed"  I have seen clubs remove snow and end up worse off than if they hadn't.  There is no scientific trigger that says if you have "this" and it's "this" temp, than you should do "this"  Rather is becomes a feel thing for the Superintendent and doing what they think is best at any point in time.  At certain times snow cover is a good thing, it acts as an insulator and protects the crown of the plant.  My feeling now is that we have too much ice and can't afford more to build up, therefore we are taking the risk of removing the snow.  I am confident this our best option in a challenging winter.