By Nicole Wise on Feb 18, 2014 9:34:00 AM
The Holganix Blog:
Beware of Winterkill in the Carolina and Georgia Market
As Holganix Representative, Scott McCrary lectures about the Carolina and Georgia region, the television flashes a picture of a snowy and messy Atlanta. Cars are abandoned in the middle of highways and children are being kept overnight at schools. “The whole region is a mess and it’s probably going to affect turf health,” drawls McCrary in his charming Georgia accent.
McCrary is a green industry veteran and has dedicated 30+ years to the industry. “It all started with my passion for golf, which eventually led me to an undergraduate and masters degree in ornamental horticulture and design.” To this day, he still enjoys playing golf in his free time.
McCrary is worried that the cold weather will affect his fellow green industry leaders, especially those in golf course management. “I think there’s going to be some winterkill this year on our golf courses.” When winterkill strikes, the turf dies and doesn’t come out of dormancy in the spring. One cause of winterkill is cold temperatures in the soil (see the above picture from Michigan State University).
It used to be that the Carolina/Georgia market would see winterkill every 2-3 years but with high temperatures over the past decade, green industry professionals have been awfully spoiled.
“The Carolina and Georgia market hasn’t seen weather this cold for about 10-15 years. This kind of cold weather scares the Bermuda golf course guys and for a good reason. Superintendents won’t know if their courses have been affected by winterkill until later in the spring,” states McCrary. “When the turf doesn’t come out of dormancy, they’ll know what hit them.” Because superintendents won’t know if their courses have been a victim of winterkill until April, it will take a lot of time and effort to get courses ready for play time. Superintendents will also have to re-sprig their courses. “It’s like there’s a tornado coming through and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Golf course superintendents aren’t the only ones affected by the winter mayhem. For both golf course and lawn care professionals, the cold weather could also push back operations this spring. That means larger lawn care companies will have less time to get their round-1 applications down this spring.
But there is a silver lining! Although cold weather can be a menace for the Carolina and Georgia turf professionals, it can also be a blessing in disguise. “Typically, there are less insects when our market sees this kind of cold weather.” Furthermore, it will be a good year for sod farms catering to their superintendent counterparts.
The winning question is: will Holganix help? According to Holganix inventor and scientist Stephen Lange, Holganix may help protect against winterkill and winter injury over all. “Winterkill occurs when the plant is freeze dried. The cell walls in the exposed foliage go through cellular explosion. Ultimately, the moisture in the tissue is released into the atmosphere as humidity. Ingredients contained within Holganix like yucca extract will help the plant retain more moisture.” Those that have used Holganix for at least one year and have applied Holganix in the fall will have a much higher tolerance to winterkill than those that have only just begun using Holganix or do not yet use Holganix.
“At the end of the day,” says McCrary. “We’ll just have to sit tight and cross our fingers that winterkill doesn’t strike.”
Winterkill photograph by Michigan State University Turf Sciences Department: http://turf.msu.edu/assets/ArticlePhotos/_resampled/LargePhoto-wintdamage01.jpg