Last night we hosted the retirement party for Julie Brehmer after 39 1/2 years as a dispatcher for the City of Spencer at our communications center. Julie has served our community by operating the 911 system and helping protect the safety and well being of everyone. What a blessing and a big thank you to Julie for all the years of dedicated service. We enjoyed hosting your event!
The snow continues to pile up week by week. This has to be one of the highest recorded snowfall winters in a long time. Currently there is close to 6″ minimum of snow on the golf course greens. It is much deeper in some areas. There is approximately half an inch of ice underneath the snow due to multiple numbers of rain events this winter. The snow and ice are always good for insulation to the turf but they also leave a lot of unknowns as we inch closer to spring.
The University of Minnesota, along with quite a few other partners, started a winter turfgrass study several years ago. The depth of their study has grown annually to help collect data from all over the United States and a few sites in Europe. Spencer Municipal Golf Course has participated in this study the past three off seasons.
This year turf sensors were placed underground on the practice green to help record a lot of vital information to relate weather conditions with turfgrass damage during the winter months. I am able to track the sensors online with data updated every 30 minutes. It’s extremely interesting to follow and I’m very curious to see the data at the completion of the winter months.
Trying to understand the effect of ice and snow on turfgrass has always been a very difficult process. Information always varies depending on where the research was completed. A common theme used to be 90 days of ice coverage would lead to turfgrass damage on a putting green surface. Ice cover with snow cover on top is often thought to cause less issues because of the lack of sunlight hitting the ice.
At The Muni the majority of ice damage to turfgrass has been attributed to ice and air temperature. We have not experienced turf loss from extended ice coverage during the winter in the 29 years I have been at the golf course. We have experienced turf loss when the snow has melted and and formed large puddles on the green followed by severe temperature drop creating ice.
The winter months in Iowa are always a difficult pattern to try and determine what is going to happen to our turf when the springtime arrives. It is filled with personal stress along with stress on the turfgrass. However, we are unable to control the different variables Mother Nature throws at us any time of the year. This turfgrass study will hopefully provide us with a little better understanding as turfgrass professionals move forward each season.
It’s been a very long winter already. One positive is the moisture is definitely needed by everyone in our community. Enjoy the remainder of the weekend and think SPRING!
Brian C Mohr
Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer
101 W 5th Street
Spencer Municipal Golf Course
Spencer, Iowa 51301