With one of the coldest and snowiest winters in the last 25 years, the golf course and ground looks more like the frozen tundra of the Arctic. No fear, spring is right around the corner, along with some much anticipated warmer weather. In fact, historically we are mowing the putting surfaces by St. Patrick's Day, I expect the same this year!
Last update, I discussed the threat of winter kill to zoysia grass because of the extreme cold temperatures and lack of snow cover to insulate the turf in the early part of January. Many Golf Course Superintendents have expressed concern across the Midwest and Southeast of potential damage to warm seasons grasses including Zoysia and Bermuda grasses. After the first cold snap, we brought inside several plugs of turf into the warmth to see if the Zoysia would green-up. With 23 acres of zoysia, several plugs are not representative but it is a starting point to plan for potential damage. Thus far, many of the samples are greening up, however samples taken from the right side of nine fairway are in poor condition. (Figure 1.)
Figure 1. Right side of the 9th fairway where turf is shaded
Green up! Sample taken from 6 fairway.
As noted in the last update, areas where turf is weak from: shade, cart traffic and exhibit poor drainage will be the most susceptible to winterkill. Also, any Zoysia sod laid in the renovation on 13 has a increased chance to be damaged.
After the next thaw we will bring in more samples and continue to monitor the status of turf.