Turf Covers Meant to Protect Against Winter’s Wrath


If you drive by the golf course on a regular basis you may have noticed that a number of the golf course’s greens were covered prior to the first snows of the season. 

These turf covers are meant to protect the golf greens from the wrath that winter conditions can sometimes bring. The covers provide protection from both Crown Hydration and Desiccation.    

Crown Hydration typically occurs during a day or two of daytime warm up causing the melting of snow or the water from rainfall to rapidly refreeze during cold night temperatures. 

When these events occur ice crystals can form in the crown of the plant; and then rupture the plant cells which can ultimately cause the plant to die. 

The turf covers have also been effective against Desiccation, caused by drying winds when the ground is still frozen and there is little snow cover. This most often happens on exposed or elevated areas and can injure or kill the plant.

During the 2010/2011 winter, many of the greens at the course sustained winter kill from the effects of Crown Hydration and Desiccation. The covers are being used to experiment with their effectiveness, in our specific winter conditions, to combat these types of winter kill. 

They were put down for the first time last winter and the greens that were covered came through the winter in good condition. This year, two additional covers are being used for a total of six greens that are covered. 

The greens with the covers have been roped off. The golf course staff is asking for those that are out for recreation in the area of the golf course to assist in helping them by staying off these areas to eliminate possible damage to the covers and turf. 

“We appreciate the cooperation of those that are out during the winter months to assist us in minimizing winter kill to the golf courses turf by limiting their travels to the carts paths or walking trails around the perimeter of the course during this time of year,” Golf Course Manager Steve Wickliffe said. “The more traffic we can keep off all of the turf areas the better chance we have of limiting the damage from winter kill and foot traffic. This will assist the golf course maintenance staff in providing the best playing conditions possible earlier in the spring and throughout the golf season.”        

Green #12 showing effects of the winter of March 2011 at the Los Alamos Golf Course. Courtesy/LAGC

Green #12 shorty after turf cover was removed in March 2012 at the Los Alamos Golf Course. Courtesy/LAGC


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