How is the big freeze affecting turf maintenance?

We polled professionals attending a joint Syngenta/Scotts product launch last week.

"The main thing affecting us is finance because obviously the course is closed and we are not open for business.

"That's a major factor and also the jobs we do are slightly different because we are used for the jobs we wouldn't normally do. We are kept busy clearing the snow and gritting the paths and we have the opportunity to get up to date with training.

"It certainly puts the club under a great deal of financial pressure. Also, snow mould can develop under the snow and we cannot see what's happening until the snow has disappeared."

Derek Hunter, golf course superintendent, Marriott Worsley Park Hotel

"The grass does tend to slow right down at this time of the year anyway and different grass species grow at different temperatures.

"In some areas we have had up to 14 inches of snow, and our main problem is getting back on to the greens.

"People don't understand that you start to get a freeze before the grass surface and if permafrost comes we have the problem with the disease underneath, and that affects when the snow clears. It's all fairly little problems like that."

Mick Garrett, head greenkeeper, Canterbury Golf Club

"It's completely brought it to a standstill for us and we have been closed for the past two weeks.

"We have had a fair bit of snow but not a huge amount. The most dangerous time for us is when it starts thawing because we want the snow to clear up quickly so we don't end up with ice.

"But even when it does thaw we still have to remain closed so that we don't do any damage. There's also the chance that diseases like snow mould and Fusarium could flare back up."

Ian Morrison, course manager, The Barcham

"There's not a lot people can really do at the moment. I mean, it affects us from a sales point of view, apart from selling salt and grit and a bit of fungicide just in case there's disease underneath the snow when the thaw does happen.

"The sales of fungicides right now are really for 'just in case', after the snow and ice melts, so they have something in stock to spray on Fusarium and snow mould, especially over the Christmas period when a lot of companies are closed."

Gary Ogilvie, senior technical sales manager, Avoncrop Amenity Products.

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