Monday, February 22, 2010

Monitoring Winter Soil Temperatures

Since the winter of 2005 we have been monitoring soil temperatures on three greens throughout the winter months. We have been using the Watchdog Data Logger 450 series system. There is one sensor located about 2 inches into the soil profile of the green, one sensor located between the green and the cover and then we also record ambient air temperature. This year we are recording temperatures on greens 6, 7, and 12.

Substantial snow cover in December has provided ideal conditions for maintaining consistent soil temperatures. The coldest recorded soil temperature this year has been only 25.5 degrees. Temperatures have never reached above freezing. It is an ideal situation once the soil temperatures reach 32 degrees and we are able to maintain below freezing temperatures until the spring thaw. Additionally the greens covers along with the snow provide ideal insulation from extreme cold temperatures. If left uncovered for long periods the sub-zero temperatures will have a detrimental affect on the poa annua plants. With the consistency in this years temperatures we are optimistic the finer sward of turf should emerge from winter in fine condition.

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