October 25, 2012

Let 'Er Blow!

The process of putting the course to bed for the winter officially kicked off today with our blowout of the irrigation system.  Compressed air is pumped through the pipes of the golf course with a massive 900 cfm compressor.  And of course, since I am a numbers guy, I estimate that we blew water out of close to 13 miles of irrigation pipe through our 650 individual sprinklers.

Looks like winter is close.  The trees are all bare and air
is blowing through the irrigation lines.
 Next week sometime, depending on the weather, we will be spraying all of our snow mold protecting fungicides on the turf to protect the course from this very damaging disease.  Last year, even with our complete lack of winter, we managed to sneak out 73 days of snowcover.  Our disease pressure was pretty low.  However, if we get a typical, or even a long winter, and see snowcover start in them middle of November, and last all the way through early April, that would put us at 135 days of snowcover, which is well into the "extreme" category of snomold potential.  Here is a little refresher picture I took in the spring of 2011 when I got here after we experienced about 125 days of snowcover to remind us how bad snowmold can be if not protected against....

snowmold on 16 tee (try not to look at the floodwater in the
background, let's not even think about that yet....)
 For you regular readers of the blog, you may remeber a few of my posts referencing a product called Civitas.  We are spraying Civitas with a combination of a few other fungicides on all 30 acres of the high maintenance turf (greens, tees, and fairways) on the course this fall.  Not only does Civitas help other products act more effectively combating snowmold, but since it is a mineral oil based product it also acts as an anti-dessicant.  After the extremely dry and open fall and early winter we had last year, I am hoping this product will help give us a little bit of extra protection in case the same thing happens again this year.

Furthermore, we will also be topdressing the greens in a heavy layer of sand, probably sometime next week or the week after.  This will act as a blanket, helping to insulate the turf, as well as protect it from the drying winter winds, again, in case we have a dry and open start to the winter. 

Lastly, the snowfence will be going up on the greens again to try and help hold snow on the high backs of them.  Snow of course is also a great insulator, helping to protect the turf from cold temperatures and drying winds....

Another refresher pic from this spring.  After we endured all of Oct, Nov,
and Dec with only .25" of moisture, and no snowcover until the last day
of Dec, this is how much Poa died.  Let's be honest:  if we had to choose
between the two evils, we'd definitely take a little snowmold over this.
We can spray and protect the course from snowmold, and we can TRY to protect the turf from drought and exposure, but in the end of the day we really need some cooperation from mother nature.  We are off to a much better start this go around as we have received close to 3" of much needed moisture in the month of October.  That already puts us a few steps ahead of where we were at last year at this time.  But a few more cards still need to fall into place in the next few months in order for us to have effectively "put the course to bed"

Basically we try to protect the turf in case we don't get any snow, and we also try to protect the turf in case we get some snow....what a ridiculous business turfgrass management is in the northern plains.

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