We have over 100 acres of Bermudagrass growing on our tees, fairways, rough, and practice areas, and there are reports of winter injury and winter kill surfacing throughout North and South Carolina again this spring. This article by the Carolinas Golf Association (CLICK HERE) was released less than two weeks ago as an alert to golfers and owners to help everyone better understand what conditions they are currently experiencing on their golf courses. Granted the article focuses more on recent ultra-dwarf Bermudagrass putting green conversions, but Bermudagrass grown at any height of cut can be subject to the whims of Mother Nature.
|No. 1 Fairway|
This past Monday we assessed the overall health and condition of our 100 acres and determined about 1 acre, or one percent suffers from significant winter injury requiring replacement. There are some additional areas although injured with enough healthy plant material present they will heal with a little extra management (fertilizer and water) as soon as Mother Nature agrees to provide appropriate growing conditions (but that's a different topic). Today I want to talk a little about the areas needing replacement, and how we plan to repair them. But before we get deep into those details let's take a closer look at the golf course from above to gain a better understanding of the types of winter injury we've encountered and why.Team cleaning up course following yesterday’s storm while we assess winter injury & survival of all Bermudagrass areas. Will detail in blog post later this week, overall less damage than 2015. #CGCturf pic.twitter.com/zIUe6uflr2— Matthew Wharton (@CGCGreenkeeper) April 16, 2018
|Google Earth Image of Carolina GC|
|Hole No. 1|
|Holes No. 11 & 12|
When I was growing up in VA my grandparents lived in a ranch house that faced due north. In the winter months there was either frost or snow lingering in the shadow of the house long after it was gone in other portions of the yard. In the two photos above you notice the trees located to the south and west (in the case of 11 & 12) of the respective golf holes and thus it's easier to understand why the turf in this area of the property may be subjected to more winter related injury than others.
|Hole No. 9|
|Hole No. 16|
Holes 9 and 16 are also not immune as they both possess large trees growing on their southern sides that create cooler micro-climates throughout the dormant season. Even the practice tee located at the back of the range is at risk, as those same trees that provide comfortable shade in the summer provides too much shade during the coldest of winters.
|Back Range Tee|
|Tale of Two Halves|
So now you understand why the injured turf on the golf course is located where it is on property, and you want to know what we are going to do about repairing it. I have reserved two truck-loads of new sod to be delivered in the next two weeks (one truck each week). This will remedy the injured turf on the golf course. We will give a little more patience to the practice range areas before committing to new sod. The plan next week is to replace all the injured turf on the collars and tees before proceeding to other areas in need. What doesn't get completed next week will be repaired the week after.
SIDEBAR - I know some of you read "injured turf on the collars" and your heart sinks as that is an issue we battled quite extensively for several years. I can tell you the amount of turf damage this year is far less than experienced in 2015 and I'm certain the impact to your golf activities will be as minimal as can be.
One other important piece of the ever mystifying winter injury puzzle is varietal differences. If you're confused by what I'm referring to, I mean the different types of Bermudagrass present on the golf course can have different tolerances to winter extremes. Wait, you mean you didn't know there are more than one type of Bermudagrass on the golf course. Well, let me ask you a question, do you like tomatoes? If yes, what's your favorite type?
That's all for now, time to get back on the course and continue to give our Bermudagrass the TLC it needs to get the course where we all want it. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please don't hesitate to email me directly. I am always happy to help.
See you on the course,
Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG