Demonstration trials with winter cover protection


Project objective
The intension is to conduct demonstration trials comparing eight different winter covers in Sweden and Finland. The covers differ in permeability and insulation abilities. Two golf courses from each country will take part. The trials and results will give more knowledge of winter protection possibilities for greenkeepers, improving the over wintering of the greens and extending the golf season.

The subject matter
The objective of these demonstration trials is to show the effect of winter protection covers on golf greens. A former study (Winter protection of Annual bluegrass golf greens in Finland, Sweden and Norway by Julie Dionne, 1997) has shown the possibilities of winter protection of greens in the Nordic countries. Due to the results of that investigation and the fact that only a few golf courses in these countries use winter protection covers today, it is important to demonstrate these methods again. One aspect of why so few courses have used this knowledge is probably because the methods with isolating materials (in this case with straw) are quite labour intensive. That is one reason why it is important to test winter covering with other materials and also without isolation.

Duration of the trials.
To get information from several years, the intension is to run this project during tree winters from autumn 2007 to spring 2010.

Boel Pettersson, SGF

Co-applicants: HAMK University of Applied Sciences
Lepaa Golf Course, Aulanko Golf Oy
Swedish Golf Federation, Timrå Golf Course
Bodens Golf Course

Category: Overwintering
Status: Finished
Project period: May 2007 – December 2010

Fundings (kSEK)

     2007    2008    2009    2010    Total   
STERF    100 45 40   185
Other 100 47 76 17 240
SUM 200 92 116 17 425

Project outcome

In Finland the winter covers that were in accordance with the original experimental plan were put in place on the first and ninth greens of Lepaa Golf course. The new trial winter covers were placed on the practice green of Lepaa Golf course.  The material consists of three different GreenJacket covers, GJ-Foam Insulation, GJ-AFS Insulation and GreenJacket Cover, and a control area.

The first and the ninth green were covered on 11 December 2009 and the practice green on 10 December 2009. The winter covers were removed from the practice green and the ninth green on 6 April 2010 and from the first green on 9 April 2010.

For the first time during the winter cover experiment, the covers could be installed in close to optimal conditions in the autumn of 2009. The ground was lightly frozen, air temperature sank permanently below 0°C immediately after installation of the covers, and a fungicide application had been carried out immediately before the covers were installed. On the first and ninth greens, the plastic film that had been spread out on top of three covers was not attached as tightly as in the previous year. In spite of all that, snow mould was widespread and turf condition was poor in the spring of 2010.

In Sweden the greens were covered between 2 Nov. 2009 and 16 April 2010 at Timrå GK and 4 Nov. 2009 and 4 May 2010 at Bodens GK. In the annual report for 2009, changes from the original trial plan are described. In this winter too, some dead areas occurred in low spots and some grass died in areas caused by leaking water. Only small differences in the snow mould situation were seen between sprayed and non-sprayed areas at Timrå GK. Compared with ‘usual’ winter (ice and thaw periods), fairly good survival occurred in the whole trial (including no covered area) at Timrå GK. At Bodens GK, the best survival occurred in areas with impermeable cover, but the area with permeable cover also survived fairly well. At both places the winter was long and with a lot of snow but no ice. Probably due to that, the differences were small between different covering materials and between covers and no covers.

The most difficult problem with covering is to cover as late as possible, but before first snowfall.  Another problem is to create enough ‘air space’ between ground and cover, which is especially important in areas with long periods of snow and/or ice. Finally, it is very important to avoid all possibilities of watering leak under the covers.

Below find reports and articles in PDF format