11 Feb Why are there snowmobile Tracks on the Golf Course?
Greetings from Golf Course Maintenance!
Winter started off slow here at Frost Creek, but thanks to an abundance of snow in late December/early January, the golf course has a great base which means uniform coverage of the turf. Good winter snow coverage provides protection from winter desiccation, as well as plenty of snowmelt to flush the root zone. Natural rain/snow water has a pH of around 5.5 and that is ideal for growing healthy turf, so we will take all of that we can get, come Spring.
As most of you noticed last year, the golf course sustained moderate vole damage over the Winter. In the winter voles tunnel around under the snowpack and are fond of eating our healthy turfgrass. We do our best to mitigate this each fall by mowing the native edges to remove winter vole habitat. An additional, new action we have implemented this year, is to pack the snow along native edges with a snowmobile. We do this to create somewhat of a barrier of dense snow that these rodents have a hard time burrowing through. Though, this isn’t a fail proof practice to prevent vole damage, we decided to give it a try this winter so that we can analyze the results once the snow melts. Studies have shown that voles have a 3-4 year population cycle. It is my hope that last year was the peak, however, we won’t know until the snow begins to melt.
So if you see someone out on the course in the winter on a snowmobile it is our maintenance team trying to reduce voles. Snowmobiling in Frost Creek is not a new winter activity so don’t get any brilliant ideas!
In the meantime, enjoy what is left of Winter, get some fresh air and we will see all of you in a few short weeks!