|Laying down special covers before winter.|
"Ice, Ice Baby" and I'm not referring to Vanilla Ice. The term "winter kill" usually refers to turf damage caused by ice formation on the playing surfaces. While there are other forms of winter kill (mainly snow mold fungus, crown hydration, and wind damage) the main cause of serious winter damage is ice. In previous posts I have discussed how ice damages turf. In short, the ice forms an impermeable layer that eventually suffocates the turf. Snow on the other hand allows the dormant turf to breath. Simply put, snow is good and ice is bad... Just like the current skiing conditions.
|The black cover has melted the ice and is showing through|
The agronomy team at Stowe Mountain Club and Stowe Country Club walk the courses multiple times in the winter to assess the snowpack and ice levels. We use this information to predict the spring conditions and properly prepare. Due to the extreme weather fluctuations at Stowe Mountain Club we have instituted certain practices that mitigate the potential for ice injury. Specialized turf covers are placed on the greens in the fall that help prevent winter kill and then removed in the spring. These covers are used in areas that have historically received a significant amount of damage. A common example of an unwanted ice formation on greens is caused by collar dams. A collar dam is created due to the turf height of the collar being higher than the height of the putting green. When snow melts, the change in height allows water to pool creating a natural dam blocking water from draining. When the temperatures fall below freezing the pooling water forms unwanted ice along the perimeter of the green. To assist with the melting process, a section of the sod from the collar around greens is temporarily removed for the winter months and then repaired in the spring.
|Example of a collar dam creating ice on a green|
|Notice the water that froze in the collar channel during melt|