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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Golf Green Soil and Crown-Level Temperatures under Winter Protective Covers


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 91 No. 2, p. 227-233
    Received: Sept 13, 1997

    * Corresponding author(s): julie.dionne@crh.ulaval.ca
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  1. Julie Dionne ,
  2. Pierre-André Dubé,
  3. Marc Laganière and
  4. Yves Desjardins
  1. Ctr. de Recherche en Horticulture, Dép. de Phytologie, Université Laval (Horticultural Res. Ctr., Plant Science Dep., Laval Univ.), Québec, G1X 4N1, Canada



Winter protective covers are currently used in northern climates to mitigate winter damages on golf greens. Despite the critical importance of soil temperature on winter survival of golf greens, little information exists on the effects of commercially available protective covers on soil temperatures regimes during winter. This 3-yr (1993–1996) field study was conducted to determine the influence of different winter protective covers on golf green soil temperature under two northern climate conditions (thick or thin snow cover). Six winter protection treatments were tested: permeable covers; impermeable covers; curled wood shavings mat, straw mulch, and 5 cm air space (each under an impermeable cover); and a control treatment without any protection. Daily climatological data and soil temperatures under protective covers were recorded at two experimental sites (Quebec City and Si-Lambert, Montreal, Canada). Throughout the winter seasons, soil temperatures under protective covers and control plots remained around 0°C under a thick and stable snow cover (average of 42 cm during experiment). Under .thin snow cover (average of 6 cm during experiment), minimum crown temperatures were markedly influenced by winter covers and reached a minimum over all years of −20.6, −19.5, −18.2, −11.1, −6.6,and −1.0°C for control, impermeable, permeable, curled wood mat, air space, and straw treatments, respectively. The insulating material covers (curled wood mat, air space, and straw) reduced soil temperature variation ranges, minimized the impact of freezing air temperature and thin snow cover, and consequently enhanced winter survival of golf greens under thin snow cover. Thus, depending on local conditions, and particularly on snow cover, the characteristics of specific protective covers can influence golf green soil temperatures and turfgrass survival during the overwintering period.

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