#12 @ Wild Horse

#12 @ Wild Horse

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Ice damage

Just starting to green up and can begin to see some of the anticipated ice damage to ryegrass in our low areas on fairways.  Ryegrass is pretty susceptible to this kind of occurrence but we rarely have winters that contribute to it.  Last time we had much significant ice damage was probably 15 years ago.  Much of what we have this year is not very severe and may cause some thinning in most spots, but a couple hollows might get some seed to help recovery.
 Here is a large area on #17 that iced up as the snow was melting.  In the middle of this brown spot you can see the patches of green which is all bluegrass.  That occurred from the last icing event that killed the ryegrass in this area.  On our sandy soils the ryegrass actually thrives better in the lower hollows that hold more moisture, until we have ice and then it is vulnerable to winterkill.

Here is another example of a small depression that has had ice damage in previous years indicated by the predominance of bluegrass.  But you can see the patches of ryegrass that have started to regain a foothold here until this winter.  It's a bit early to tell if these patches will partly recover or not.  I am expecting that some plants will survive and the bluegrass will expand and many of these areas will be unnoticeable in a month.

It is interesting how each species finds its' sweet spot in the differing microenvironments.  On our exposed mounds bluegrass really dominates the sward as it can handle both the droughty soils and winter exposure better than ryegrass.  Cart path entries and exits are dominated by ryegrass that can withstand traffic better than the blue.  So there is a definite benefit to having a mix of species and varieties as each has its own strengths and weaknesses.  This is the time of year when you can see the varietal differences more so as they green up quicker or slower or growth habit is more easily detected.  Once they have greened up and begin growing the ryegrass and bluegrass are nearly indistinguishable resulting in a more uniform turf.

More on ice damage in this previous post:

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