The big melt two weeks ago exposed a lot of turf to view and inspect. The St. Patrick's day storm last week covered our turf once again; but the turf on both courses seem to be doing very well this winter. The crew is still very optimistic about an early spring and good turf conditions.
The following pictures will show just how important fall fungicide sprays are in the Queen City of the North near the shores of Lake Superior.
A view down number 1 Heritage from behind the tee.
The Greens-Tees-Approaches all looked fantastic. Our 4 to 6 active ingredient (a.i.) fungicide sprays in these areas survived the fall rains and still performed against Snowmold fungus all winter long.
The fairways are a different story, the heavy fall rains after fungicide applications had a dramatic effect of their performance. We use a reduced rate two a.i. spray on the fairways and they simply did not last all winter after the rains. A large outbreak of Pink Snowmold was the end result. On a positive note the fall sprays took out the first growth of this fungus so most of the Snowmold growth happened within the last month. The turf looks worst right at the snowmelt edges because the fungus is most active in these areas. Once the snow melts, temps rise and the surface drys the fungus will stop growing. The fungus growth is on the surface so a quick spring drag will expose the plant crowns and the fairways will recover.
This is a great picture of the spray line on number 9 fairway Heritage. The 4 a.i. spray on the left performed very well even after all that fall rain. The reduced rate 2 a.i. spray on the fairway did not last all winter. Note the tire tracks leaving the area on the left; enough fungicide was on the tires to make two fungus free lines for about 10 feet.
Very active Pink Snowmold on number 4 fairway on the Heritage course.
Here is a picture of 18 fairway. You can see the green steps in the rough from boom overspray as the fairway was treated. Snowmold-no Snowmold
A reduced rate 4 a.i. Spray was used on 15-16-17-18 fairways on the Heritage course as a test. Those 4 fairways typically have more winter fungal growth so they are always a good test location. The exposed portions of those fairways looked very good last week.
The reason we only use a 2 a.i. spray on the fairways is simply cost; we do not have the monetary funding within our budget to treat large areas like fairways with more products at the max rates. The survival rate of grass maintained at 1/2"-5/8" is also greater than grass maintained at 1/8" like our greens.
16 green Heritage looked absolutely beautiful and flawless after the big melt.
4 fairway Heritage with Fungal growth. The putting surface in the back ground looks wonderful.
This is a picture of 11 fairway Heritage. The University of Wisconsin conducts Snowmold fungicide research at this location. They love fungus down there and we never seem to disappoint. We are UW's Northern test location; the information learned through their research is critical for turf everywhere in Northern climates. We are very proud of our relationship with the turf team at UW.
9 Green/Approach on Greywalls.
A similar situation can be found on the Greywalls course. Exposed Greens-Tees-Approaches looked Snowmold free yet the fairways had pink Snowmold growth. As can be expected the predominantly fine fescue/Bluegrass fairways on the Greywalls course does not have as much Snowmold as the Heritage course. The grasses planted on Greywalls are more naturally resistant to Snowmold than the old mix on the Heritage fairway; which has a very high poa annua population.
Pictured above is the approach/fairway line on number 10 Greywalls.
The Approach (to the left) is Snowmold free, the fairway (to the right) has Snowmold growth, the untreated rough (to the bottom) is completely covered in Snowmold.
Pictures do say a thousand words.
17 green Greywalls looks fantastic!! This green along with 16 and 11 on Greywalls have historically been more susceptible to Snowmold; Adjustments were made from past experience and an added granular fungicide was made to those greens after our spray. Viewing this green free of fungus is a positive sign that our adjustment are working.
As stated before Snowmold growth on greens is usually detrimental because the turf is maintained at 1/8" leaving the crown/growing point more vulnerable.
A focus is always concentrated on the green because of their importance to the great game of golf.
Close up view of Pink Snowmold on 13 fairway Greywalls. Note the growth started on two poa annua plants (as seen in the middle of the fungal growth) and spread out from there. A fine example of why we planted, manage and encourage fine fescue and bluegrass.
Exposed area on the Greywalls putting green suffering from winter desiccation from the cold wind. With rain and warm weather this area should recover. These areas are seen everywhere the wind blows the snow off the turf exposing it to temperature extremes. They usually take an extra week or two to recover once temperatures rise.
6 green Greywalls
Again the turf looks dynamite. You can see some winter desiccation on the front of this green where the snow depth was minimal.
Our most desiccated area on Greywalls is the peaks of 1 fairway and the back tees on 8. The 3 back tees on 8 traditionally lag behind the other tees a good 3 weeks (after the initial spring green up).
Hole 5 on Greywalls
This fairway (like most on the front 9) has a much higher poa annua population growing on it. The micro climates and soil on the front 9 favors a wetter growing condition; which is favorable to poa annua growth- because the poa population is higher we see more Snowmold at those locations.
It is hard to tell what the entire course will look like after all of the snow has melted, but the view we received two weeks ago give us a promising outlook.
We will be teeing it at MGC soon!