Golf course maintenance after a harsh winter

March 20, 2019 by Milliken Chemical

Golf season is about to start in the U.S., but after the above average freezing temperatures many of the states experienced this winter, turf grass managers may experience some challenges in getting their course up to par. This is especially true in the Southeastern states were the cold weather lasted much longer than normal and some parts got snow for the first time in 20 years.

The result of these harsh cold conditions has been moderate to severe winter damage to some courses. Even if your course is looking weathered, there are several actions you can take as turf manager to overcome these issues quickly.

Manage the moisture in your soil

Although it may sound counterintuitive, irrigating overnight just for a few hours if freezing temperatures are forecasted could help. The irrigation helps increase the soil temperature to protect the grass from the freezing temperatures.

Once the spring thaw has started, applying specialty wetting agents, such as Syn Fac®, can also enhance soil moisture management, and improve sustainability performance for turf managers. Because every course is unique and weather and soil quality vary, Milliken partners with course superintendents to design products to solve their specific needs, whether that involves reducing water usage, treating localized dry spots or delivering critical nutrients to plants.

Multitask and tackle weeds

Take control of your course with liquid colorants that work overtime by adding color and fertilizer at the same time. A water-soluble liquid colorant like Blazon® is designed for convenient and high-performing spray pattern indication in managed turf grass applications such as herbicides, pesticides and liquid fertilizers. Plus, the high visibility and easy handling provides visual assurance that active ingredients are applied with minimum overlap so there is a reduced chance of over-spraying or leaving gaps. It also helps to alert operators of improper equipment operation, such as connection leaks and clogged nozzles.

Improve turf appearance with color enhancers

Grass and plant tissues are easily bruised during frosty weather – especially if the course is being used for winter golf. Once spring arrives, it’s often possible to see brown footmarks in the turf especially in the putting greens. One way to eliminate the discolored grasses is with color enhancers. Evergreen® Viva Turf paint works well to conquer the long-term coloration of dormant and discolored grasses on golf courses and other types of athletic fields and municipal/industrial lawns. An environmentally conscious green pigmented formulation, it will not harm the turf and resists fading from ultraviolet light.

Course managers using this product can realize reduced maintenance and input costs and lower irrigation requirements due to winter over-seeding. And to look your best for opening day, boost the color of your turf with Evergreen® Jade Turf Color Enhancer. The colorant enhances turf color and quality by improving turf appearance prior to tournaments and special events, while also helping to mask discoloration due to phytoxicity of chemical applications, disease, and seasonal transitions, like this year’s harsh winter.

Add sparkle to your water features

Decorative water features on the course help make the game interesting and add challenge. After a long winter, many of these will be filled debris or murky especially if the snow melt has drained into your pools. Mirage® Blue and Black Lake & Pond Colorants are Milliken’s proprietary, water-soluble colorants designed for aesthetic applications in lakes, ponds and decorative water features. While your grass might take some time to recover from the damage caused by winter, at least your water features will be clear and blue.