Monday, March 3, 2014

The Winter That Won't Go Away..

#4 green during ice removal

     Greetings from what seems to be the frozen tundra of Northern Indiana.  It has been quite the roller coaster of a welcome for me here at Elcona.  It is truly an honor to be a part of a club with its traditions and great members and staff.  I come to Elcona after spending the last 7 years as the Golf Course Superintendent at Plymouth CC, about 50 minutes southwest from Elcona.  In 2005 and 2006, I was an assistant here at Elcona, so it is nice to have some familiarity with the staff, members, and golf course.  I am a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Turf Science.  My wife and I have two children aged 4 and 2, and we are excited to become part of the community. 
Plug samples at various stages of thaw (clockwise from top left):
small PG, holes 5 and 14, hole #2, and a close up of #14
      From Greg's last post, you know that we have been busy clearing the ice layer that had formed on our greens, in an effort to prevent suffocation of the turf and some possible winterkill.  We also took a few samples from select greens and brought them inside for observations.  To the right, you see samples at various days of thaw.  The bottom right is a sample from hole #2 pulled on 2/21/14.  The rest of the samples were pulled on 2/28/14, and they are already showing signs of progress.   While we are not out of the woods yet and may have some repairs to do, we are not seeing widespread damage from the ice cover or exposing the turf to the frigid nights we had last week.  Seeing good signs in these plugs helps justify our actions in the time consuming clearing the staff and I performed the last two weeks.

     Our focus will shift now to ensuring any snow that melts during spring thaws is removed from the green surface so that it does not re-freeze.  This would create crown hydration injury, where the plant rapidly takes up water during a thawing day, and when the temperature drops below freezing at night, freezes internally to the point that the crowns crush themselves, killing the plant.  We have a plan in place to battle this, and any other scenarios that may come up.  Overall, I am optimistic on the health of the golf course.  Greg and his staff prepared the turf nicely ensuring it be the healthiest possible going into the bear that was our winter this year. 

     At this point, we will continue to monitor conditions day by day.  I am pleased with what I see so far, but as you all know, we still have some winter to go.  Think Spring!


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