With the colder weather here, we have taken extra precautions out on the golf course. Anytime the temperatures are below freezing for an extended period, we are concerned for the turf health. One of the most common things we do are frost delays. Most golfers are aware of and are used to this process. This is where we will delay the start of play on cold mornings, until there is no frost or ice on the greens. With the moisture levels of the shortly mowed putting greens, the plant can freeze and become brittle. This includes but is not limited to, above the ground leaf blades. Sometimes with cold nighttime temperatures and wind there is no frost on top of the ground, but the crown and upper root system of the plant is still frozen. When we put equipment on or just walk on the greens during these time periods, there is damage. During extreme cold temperatures 24 degrees and below, there can be damage also. The main concern is wind desiccation from dry windy air. When these temperatures occur for an extended period (several nights/days in a row) we take extra precautions. At night or when the temps get below 24/23 degrees, we will be freezing our greens by running several irrigation cycles on them. The irrigation cycles start to form an ice layer. This layer protects the crown on the plant from wind and from drying out. Some courses north of our area use covers to protect their greens. This is a different process with a similar result.
Studies are constantly being done by universities on the effects of covering vs not covering; this re-sult is clear that covering your greens in some form is better than not. What is not so cut and dry is when to cover/freeze or at what temperature and for how long. Therefore, we closed over Christmas holidays to protect our greens from any extra damage that might occur. Ultra-dwarf putting greens are some of the most susceptible types of putting greens to cold weather. In the transition zone, where we are located there is no perfect grass. It is either too hot for some varieties or too cold for others. Good thing for us we don’t see these types of temperatures very often, making Ultra dwarf Bermuda the best option for our course. Thank you for your understanding and I hope this information helped inform you on our process.