WINTER DESICCATION

The arctic like weather we experienced a week ago took its toll on some of the greens on the course.  It was the first time in many years that the temperature was below freezing for so many days without a snow cover.  This caused some winter desiccation damage to the greens.

During this time, the greens were frozen down several inches.  The frozen moisture was not available for uptake by the grass plant.  We had a few windy days during this stretch that caused the exposed leaf blades of the grass plants to dry out.  Had we had a snow cover, this would not have happened.

The damage varies from one green to the next.  The greens facing into the sun aren’t as desiccated as those that were shaded or facing away from the sun.  This is because those facing the sun were warmed a little more on the surface during the day, allowing a little thawing on top.  This made a small amount of moisture available to the grass plants on those greens.

The older greens that have a little more organic matter (such as #17) don’t exchange heat or cold as much as the newer, sandier greens.  These greens didn’t freeze down as far and so more water was available for the uptake into the grass plant.

It appears as though the damage is mostly just “tip burn” and the greens should grow out of this condition.  Unfortunately, growth is slow this time of the year so the recovery may take some time.  We’ve recently fertilized the greens in an effort to speed the recovery time.  I will keep you informed of any further developments.

See you on the course,

Bill Swancutt

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