Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Winter Time

January and February at Swope Memorial

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Winter could not get more wintry for us at Swope this year. With around 20" of snow fall throughout January and February, we have been a white, cold, winter wonderland since the new year.  The turf has been covered in snow for the majority of this winter, which acts as a great insulator and keeps the ground saturated with moisture. Once the snow melts and the sun sheds some light, the grass will break dormancy and be in a great position for immediate healthy growth. 

In between our winter storms, we had a few days where we were able to get out on the course. As I mentioned before, the majority of our turf is dormant right now, or hibernating for the winter in other words. Mainly, our zoysia turf is dormant. Zoysia is the turf on our fairways and tee's. When dormant, zoysia is a straw blonde color, and other grasses and weeds may grow and try to spread into the dormant zoysia. To keep our tees and fairways clean and healthy, we spray a pre- & post- emergent  herbicide that eliminates unwanted grasses from the zoysia by targeting the non-dormant species trying to spread into the zoysia, i.e. Poa, clover and other broadleaf weeds. The dormant zoysia will not absorb the herbicide where as the other grasses, still active, will absorb it.

(Spraying our #6 zoysia tee for unwanted invasive grasses.)

One of our first and worst winter storms this year brought snow, ice, and wind. Many trees on the course and throughout the city lost a large amount of limbs, big and small alike. Our winter plans always include tree trimming. The amount of limbs on the ground from the storm alone helped us make the decision to go ahead and try to trim every tree on the course. Trimming the low hanging branches will allow more sunlight to the turf, better course visibility, and all around better course aesthetics. At the end of winter, or tree trimming season, we plan to rent a wood chipper and truck to make clean up of limbs quick and easy.

(Downed limbs in #4 rough.)

Another small winter task we take care of each year is to burn the ornamental grasses around tee complexes. These plants are perennials, meaning they grow back every year. Burning off the dormant stalks and leaves will allow for new and healthy growth come spring.

(Burning the grasses around #10 tee box.)

While most people enjoy a summer vacation, we golf course workers are winter vacationers. Its the only time we can get away from the course without worrying about losing grass or setting up the course for golfers. Some could say we actually have a life during the winter. I myself took off to Colorado for a ski trip and my superintendent goes to Nebraska for his annual deer camp trip. Hand-watering greens is a blast, but we enjoy life outside of Swope as well. 

(The back bowl at Keystone Ski Resort.)

Enjoy the rest of this winter and we'll see you after the thaw,
Remember to fix your divots!