This is not an April Fools message... it is the 137th day of this snow blanket covering the golf course! Those of you that have been enjoying the great ski conditions this winter know all about it. Though this winter brought us our share of snow, the temperatures remained cold for the most part, which created an insulating snowpack for the turf... in addition to those bluebird powder days. So while it seems as if we received an extreme amount of snow this winter, the snow-water content percentages are not as high as one might think.
Given the favorable snowpack studies, but the unusual depth for this time of year (for example, we recorder 37 inches on March 1st), we waited until the third week of March to begin removing and melting snow on the golf course. The putting greens were treated with an organic soil amendment spread on the snow surface in order to speed the snow melt. This product and timing provides three benefits for the putting green; 1) a carbon rich soil amendment, 2) a flush of the soil profile from the melting snow, and 3) a gradual break from dormancy which will enhance the efficacy of plant growth regulator applications later in the spring.
It may still be too soon to tell, but it appears that our biggest issue from this winter will be the damage from voles, a.k.a. field mice. We will likely see some incidence of snow mold because most plant protectants claim up to 120 days of protections. However, because of product combinations and agronomic practices, early scouting shows no symptoms on greens and approaches. In addition, the elk migration did the usual number last fall, and likely because of the snow, it seems they are a little slow to get off the refuge. We anticipate the usual bunker damage and "elk duds" to clean up after the spring migration is finished.
In other news, our seasonal staff began arriving today. It is always great to be able to catch up with past employees and meet the new staff members. They are currently busy with employee orientation and spring cleaning projects. In the coming days, they will be helping us employ a couple tricks to remove snow and encourage spring.
Enjoy the skiing while you can, the golf season is not too far away!