Stow Acres Turf

Golf Course Maintenance News & Live Updates from @stowacresturf


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The first significant Fall frost…

Frost delay is a term that will become common as the season starts nearing to an end.  These delays can sometimes be brief, but can also last as long as 3-4 hours depending on how quick and warm the atmosphere gets.  Frost is something that can be very damaging to grass especially when it is driven on or it sees a lot of traffic.  Frost forms even when temperatures are not necessarily at 32F.  If the sky is clear at night or early in the morning, a process called radiational cooling takes place.  This is when the earth loses heat and moisture trying to balance the earth’s energy.  Through evapotranspiration, the plant also loses moisture to the atmosphere.  If the temperature is cool enough, the cells inside the plant tissue start to freeze.  If the plant is walked or driven on, the cells can burst and potentially kill the plant.  This is why black tracks are typically seen in late Fall going across a fairway, tee, or even sometimes, a green.  Thanks to the GCSAA for this published article.  Please click on the link for more information, GCSAA Frost Delay Announcement

I understand that frost delays can be very frustrating, especially if you typically play early in the morning.  However, I ask for your patience and cooperation during these delays. It is definitely for the health and playability of the turf. We also ask for your cooperation in obeying the signs on both practice greens. I understand that walking is still allowed on the courses during a frost, but the practice greens typically see almost 50x the amount of traffic than regular greens. Practicing on these greens during a frost delay could result in severe turf injury or even death. We aggressively monitor the conditions and allow carts and traffic to resume on the turf as quickly as possible. Thanks for your understanding! See you on the course!

Lower Practice green under a frost delay. Please stay off until the sign is removed. Thank you!

Lower Practice green under a frost delay. Please stay off until the sign is removed. Thank you!

-Jason VanBuskirk, Superintendent

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Early morning tee times…

“Frost delay” is a term that can be very common on a golf course in the spring months.  These delays can sometimes be brief, but can also last as long as 2 hours depending on how quick and warm the atmosphere gets. Frost is something that can be very damaging to grass especially when it is driven on or it sees a lot of traffic. Frost forms even when temperatures are not necessarily at 32F.  If the sky is clear at night or early in the morning, a process called radiation cooling takes place.  This is when the earth loses heat and moisture trying to balance the earth’s energy.  Through evapotranspiration, the plant also loses moisture to the atmosphere.  If the temperature is cool enough, the cells inside the plant tissue start to freeze.  If the plant is walked or driven on, the cells can burst and potentially kill the plant.  This is why black or orange tracks are typically seen going across a fairway, tee, or even sometimes, a green.  If you are using a pull cart during a frost delay, please be mindful as to where you travel on the course. Thanks to the GCSAA for this published article.  Please click on the link for more information, GCSAA Frost Delay Announcement.

TMF10-night-radiate

I understand that frost delays can be very frustrating, especially if you typically play early in the morning.  However, I ask for your patience and cooperation during these delays. It is definitely for the health and playability of the turf. We aggressively monitor the conditions and allow carts and traffic to resume on the turf as quickly as possible. Thanks for your understanding! See you on the course!

-Jason VanBuskirk, Superintendent

frost damage

This is a perfect picture of what simple foot traffic and a pull cart can do to grass during a frost. These tracks will be seen for 2-3 weeks depending on how aggressively the grass is growing.


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Two pins and Winter Green…

The winter season is upon us, or is it?  We can only hope that the snow falling across the blog screen that you are reading right now would be falling on the actual golf course some time soon.  Both courses are fully winterized, well, minus the snow accumulation.  The irrigation systems have been blown out, drains have been flushed/open, accessories have been removed for refurbishing, snow mold applications have been applied to greens/tees/fairways, Winter Green has been applied to all 39 greens, and two pin positions have been cut on the front 9 of both courses.  Yes, two pin positions.  I got this brilliant idea from Russ Heller,  a fellow Superintendent here in Massachusetts.  Russ also has a great blog seen here: William Devine Golf Course at Franklin Park.  Well, the theory behind it is to divert foot traffic on frozen/dormant greens surfaces.  Closing the greens or providing temporary greens is not something we do at Stow Acres.  This is where snow is helpful in covering the greens, but, in order to preserve playing conditions for the Spring season until snow falls, we cut two pins.  We will leave pins in both hole locations allowing the golfer to pick whichever hole location they desire.  Once on the green, traffic will be split between both hole locations.  We’re doing this primarily because we suffered minor turf damage last season from repetitive foot traffic around one hole location pictured below.

Foot traffic damage during winterThe turf does heal once the weather gets warmer, but as you can imagine, these spots took quite a bit longer to recover.  Our assistant superintendent, Kevin Bracken, had a great idea to place modified greens covers over the trampled spots once we could cut the cup in a new position.  This certainly accelerated recovery.

modified greens cover over hole

Currently, there is no “real” snow in the immediate forecast.  However, with the cold temperatures becoming more consistent, we will be covering both practice greens tomorrow to ensure great putting conditions for the Spring.  If you plan on playing until it snows, please be mindful of the frozen turf.  Greens are most susceptible, so keeping pull carts in the rough and walking on the greens as little as possible will help preserve the surface.  I will leave you with a picture of what even foot traffic/pull-cart can do to fairway turf during a frozen morning.  Stay warm, play well, and have a great holiday season!

frost damage

-Jason VanBuskirk, Superintendent


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Frost delays will be here soon…

Frost delay is a term that will become common as the season starts nearing to an end.  These delays can sometimes be brief, but can also last as long as 3-4 hours depending on how quick and warm the atmosphere gets.  Frost is something that can be very damaging to grass especially when it is driven on or it sees a lot of traffic.  Frost forms even when temperatures are not necessarily at 32F.  If the sky is clear at night or early in the morning, a process called radiational cooling takes place.  This is when the earth loses heat and moisture trying to balance the earth’s energy.  Through evapotranspiration, the plant also loses moisture to the atmosphere.  If the temperature is cool enough, the cells inside the plant tissue start to freeze.  If the plant is walked or driven on, the cells can burst and potentially kill the plant.  This is why black tracks are typically seen in late Fall going across a fairway, tee, or even sometimes, a green.  Thanks to the GCSAA for this published article.  Please click on the link for more information, GCSAA Frost Delay Announcement

I understand that frost delays can be very frustrating, especially if you typically play early in the morning.  However, I ask for your patience and cooperation during these delays. It is definitely for the health and playability of the turf. We aggressively monitor the conditions and allow carts and traffic to resume on the turf as quickly as possible. Thanks for your understanding! See you on the course!

-Jason VanBuskirk, Superintendent