CDGA Turf Scouting Report, April 11th

It's a record folks - NOAA has reported that this was the coldest winter on record by 0.4 of a degree for the Chicago area - the last previous record was set in 1903-1904.

I am guaranteeing that nobody was managing golf courses in the area at the time and I am also fairly sure that there are no notes on the recovery process - which means, one day at a time and no panicking. Seeding, watering, fertilizer and covers are the order of the day - of course if you have bentgrass greens then you may be just fine.

Further reports have come in of dead grass of course (Picture 1 and 2), but also further reports of timing of issues have come in. Recent conversations indicated that one course manager knew he had the 'smell of death' on February 16th when he broke ice. This is remarkable as this was right on the border for Poa annua as he had counted ice cover to be at 42 days. The smell was not a nice sweet hay smell that is preferred, but the bitterer version and now famous line 'smell of death'. The impact on his course has been particularly harsh.

Recovery times of course can only be estimated and are everyone's focus going forward - mild damage may see recovery very soon but from some of my visits I would expect that optimal conditions may take an extended period of time. A call to the USGA is recommended as well as signing up for their free recovery webinar here.

The other issue at hand is that our current temperatures have not been ideal - some warm conditions have come through but with lows predicted to return back in the high 20's / low 30's, that is from ideal for warming up soil temperatures and getting seed germination.

Click here to view the April 11, 2014 Scouting Report

As always if you have a question or query please do not hesitate to ask and you can call or email.

Ed Nangle PhD
Director of Turfgrass Programs
Chicago District Golf Association
Follow us on Twitter @TurfResearch
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