Winter Covering of Ultradwarf Bermudagrass Greens Freeze Protection
There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. Cold temperatures can damage Bermudagrass. History has shown that unprotected Bermudagrass putting greens are often the first victim of an all-Bermudagrass golf course to succumb to colder temperatures. Fortunately, turf covers can dramatically decrease the chance of winter injury. Golf courses with Ultradwarf putting greens in the transition zone (like NW Arkansas) need covers and must deploy them when conditions warrant.
We purchased green covers as part of the overall greens conversion project at Scotsdale in 2016. After the unusually cold winter of 2017-2018 we have purchased an additional set of tarps which will allow us to double cover under similar severe weather in the future (temperatures approaching zero or below or extended periods when temperatures remain below freezing). We also have covers that we have been using since the installation of the ultradwarf bermudagrass greens at Brittany. The following guidelines will be utilized this winter at Scotsdale. These guidelines are based on our experience with the greens at Brittany, guidelines provided to us by our Ultradwarf Bermudagrass supplier, winter of 2017-18, Champion Turf Farm, and recommendations from the USGA Agronomist.
Since our Scotsdale greens were replanted in June of this year, we will be utilizing a more conservative approach again this winter, deploying the new, thicker and darker covers when the temperatures are forecast to be below 27 degrees and trending down. When the forecast is for temperatures in mid-teens or expected to remain below freezing for an extended period we will install the second set of tarps. Under these conditions our original tarps will go down first, and the new tarps will then be placed on top and secured. It will be necessary to close the course the day before since it requires a minimum of 6 hours to complete deployment on all 18 holes plus putting and nursery greens. If we double tarp it may require additional time to complete deployment. Once temperatures allow for the removal of tarps an additional day, maybe longer if double tarped, will be required to remove the tarps as well. We will give as much advanced notice as possible to the Pro Shop personnel, Golf Operations Office and on Today’s Play on the web.
We appreciate everyone’s understanding and cooperation.
Kyle Soller, Superintendent, Scotsdale