Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Winter greens are just that, winter greens which in most cases means we do not do anything to them until the end of February or early March. Our temperatures in December were well above normal. We continued to mow and applied growth regulator that would stunt the poa annua and does slow the growth of the bent grass as well. We normally quit mowing the greens once the long range forecasts predict colder weather. It is important to allow the greens to come to rest. Growth slows and the plants begin to harden off which basically is the way the plant protects itself going into the coldest time of the year. Growth all but stops or slows greatly.
Plant growth usually occurs not because of warm air temperatures but elevated soil temperatures which is what we had in December. The warmer air temperatures helped to slow the loss of heat in the soil. Just before Christmas we had quit mowing in anticipation of colder weather arriving. Winter did finally come in January but the warmer soil temperatures probably extended into the new year creating some additional growth of our turf.
A beautiful last weekend brought a lot of people to the course but we were still in the process of greens completely thawing. The last thing I wanted or was going to do was put a riding machine on the greens or make an attempt to mow off the ends of the plant and possibly encourage them to wake up and grow. The plant that would wake the quickest would be the poa annua and to encourage it to begin growing is something I don't want to happen, sans the growth regulator applications which have a tendency to slow the plant way down coming out of winter. Another slight warming trend this weekend but more cold expected so I do not anticipate anything happening on our greens surfaces except changing holes and maybe possibly a roll which will help smooth the surfaces a little.
There are a number of clubs in town that are now playing on temporary greens in the approaches and do not let members play their regular greens. I understand the greens are a bit shaggy right now but its winter and any mowing could possibly have the turf break from dormancy prematurely.
In 2013 it was shaping up to be an early spring until temperatures fell 8-10 degrees below normal which hammered our turf. The long range forecast is not showing this type of trend but we will not take any chances. I hope everyone can remain patient, its not about ball roll out this time of year, its about enjoying a nice walk, swinging your clubs and spending time with your partners.
I would recommend that if you want to work on your putting over the next few weeks, the rug in your office would probably be a more appropriate spot but I assure you by early April, our greens will give you all the challenge you might want for the next 6-7 months.