We will soon be coming to and end to the month of March and for the first time since 1878 the Minneapolis/St.Paul area will have received not even a trace of snowfall. This is quite unusual since March is typically one of the snowiest months of the year for us. At this point in the season the lack of snow and rain as well as the loss of frost in the ground has translated into us not only thinking about pressurizing the irrigation system, but actually doing it as well as breaking one of Rick Krause's (Irrigation tech) first rules, never pressurize on a Friday.
March 28th is extremely early for us to be even considering pressurizing the system let alone watering greens. But one thing that needs to be considered is the type of cover that we use. We are placing a plastic impermeable covers on the greens to not allow water to make contact with the turf throughout the winter. Water forms ice and ice kills poa. So while the covers are accomplishing their goal of protecting the turf from winter damage, unfortunately in the spring when the snow melted and we received .50" of rain, that free water is not making it's way into the subsurface of our greens. Thus in a during a dry spring season such as this one, with no rain or snow fall, our greens are left in a difficult situation with little to no moisture. During a typical spring we usually begin to utilize our irrigation system around the 17th of April. By that time we have had time to bring in some labor, clean the golf course and usually have the course open for play. Thank goodness we checked a few greens last week, since this weather is so unusual it is very easy to get caught off guard and not realize how much the plants are in need of water, at least the poa annua plants that is.