After the long winter I think everyone is happy to be outside dealing with turf issues, but depending on where you are, those issues could be quite extreme. I’ve seen excessive Bermuda loss in the South (and North) and equally significant cool season turf loss up North. Turf managers are working their magic to recover, and over the next 60 days golfers will have long forgotten the damage caused by winter.  Everyone knows the fact that you’re only as good as the greens putt today.

Be sure to document your damage with pictures and keep a detailed record of expenses to repair. The good news: There are steps you can take this fall to reduce damage next year. I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of the damage, North and South, and here are a few things that seem to make a difference.

In the South

Bermudagrass that was over seeded with annual ryegrass is in much better condition. Walking on side-by-side fields, the Bermuda within the rye appears to be green and ready to make a move. Unfortunately the Bermuda on the adjacent field (not over seeded) is going to need seed or springs in the near future.  Another noteworthy observation appears to be that fall applied molasses will help the plant store more carbohydrates and help fight off winter damage.  It also helps the plant come out of dormancy quicker when applied in the spring. Foliar-Pak Amperage is a great molasses product, and the rest of Foliar-Pak line has been excellent for recovery.

The photos above were taken last Friday. This Bermudagrass was treated with two applications of L-18 Activator and Micros Plus and four applications of Holganix last year. It also received a spring application of L-18 Activator and Micros Plus about a week ago. The superintendent says the overall turf loss is less than 1%, and while about 15% of the turf is weaker than the rest, it will recover and should have no issues within a month.

In the North

Turf managers who used a late fall surfactant combined with a late aerification came through winter much better. Wetting agents are normally considered summer products, but that’s not the case. Wetting agents are broken down and consumed by microbes. As the temperature drops so does the microbial activity, allowing the wetting agent to hang around for a long time. Having a wetting agent in place for the early spring freeze/thaw can help move water away from the crown. Obviously the late aerification will create more pore space for water movement. As water gets into the aerification holes over winter, it will freeze and expand, further fracturing the soil and making more room for roots in the spring!  Last thing, don’t forget the late heavy topdressing is critical and acts like a winter blanket for your turf.