15 NOV 2022
With the cold and frosty temperatures our grass is slowing its growth and will soon enter winter dormancy. Just because we have stopped cutting our grass does not mean we are on holidays! We are actually quite busy and trying to work quickly to beat the first snowfall.
Once all the leaves have finished falling the first step is to get rid of all the leaves. While we continue this every day to help you find your golf ball, we also go into winter with as minimal leaves as possible. Any clusters of leaves that sit on the grass overwinter create areas favourable for snow mould, rodent nesting and we try very hard to have things neat and tidy to wake up to in the spring.
Once we get rid of all the leaves, we can then spray our winter fungicide application to protect our fine turfs from snow mould (greens, tees, fairways). We have to get this product down before the grass goes into dormancy, the little bit of growth will allow the fungicide to make its way through the plant for protection. Timing is everything!! We have approximately 100 acres of turf to spray, that is about 17 spray tanks to put out. We cannot spray with excessive winds, frost or during any precipitation so it takes over a week for this process.
We have already completed blowing water out of our irrigation lines, a process that takes an entire week of working dark to dark to get through the entire property 2-3 times. It’s crazy as this is the first year that we were wearing shorts...it’s usually winter coats, hand warmers and lots of hot drinks!
We have begun the verti-drain process. Verti-drain is a deep tine aeration on greens that does not pull a core. The purpose of poking these 12-inch-deep holes in the greens is to give melting snow and winter rain water a place to drain quickly. The worst thing for our greens is flooding from melting snow or heavy rain followed by a flash freeze. This causes a solid ice layer on top of the green and suffocates it. About 30 days under ice and the poa on greens will not make it out of winter alive. Other spin off to the deep tine aeration is compaction relief and nice deep holes for root oxygen.
Many golf courses tarp their greens for the winter. At RattleSnake we do not. Instead, we blanket our greens with a heavy top dress to protect the crowns of grass leaves from the frigid winter winds. In total we put down about 40 tons of topdressing sand amongst the 10 acres of greens we have. We will also be topdressing some par 3 tees and the odd apron.
To kick start our 2023 fertility program we begin our first application this month. Once our grass has reached its dormant state we apply a fertilizer to all our greens and tees. Over the winter the fertilizer will make its way into the soil and as soon as the grass starts growing in the spring, the fertilizer we applied in the winter will kick in right away. This helps for early green up and to help our grass outgrow any winter damage faster.
In addition to on course winterization we have a lot to clean up around our shop, storage areas and yard. All of our mowing equipment and utility vehicles are getting power-washed and ready for winter service and cosmetics. Our north shop gets a fall cleaning and swapping out winter equipment and storing summer equipment. Our shop gets a good deep clean and painting. We have slowly started bringing in some of our course hardware and begun refurbishing. We will be continuing some of our on course projects cutting down fescue and trimming down our tributary crossings. Small tree work projects will also continue. Our bunker project will soon be wrapped up until next spring. And we are hoping to find some time to get back to the starter hut to finish off the walls, windows, and electrical. With all that being said, we are still busy to say the least.
We hope you enjoyed your 2022 golf season! Have a great winter and stay in touch!