Photo Quiz: Uneven greens, dead turf

Rolling mounds and stripes of dead turf make up this month's mysteries.


GCM’s Photo Quiz is presented in partnership with STEC Equipment.

STEC Equipment

Problem A: Uneven greens surface with rolling mounds

strange brown marks on golf course
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Turfgrass area: Putting green
Turfgrass variety: Bentgrass

Problem B: Dead turf and green turf in parallel lines

strange brown marks on golf course
Location: Superior, Wis.
Turfgrass area: Nursery green
Turfgrass variety: 007 bentgrass

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Close-up of green, muddy and dark with grass rhizomes visible above the ground

Problem A: Uneven greens surface with rolling mounds

The cause of these uneven surfaces with rolling mounds on this golf green in Anchorage is a bit of a mystery. The superintendent had been having this problem each year in the early spring when the greens started thawing out. The probable cause for this phenomenon is that after the snow melts off the greens, the freezing temperatures are not finished for the season. Since the snow has melted, there is a saturated state in the greens’ profile in areas located between the internal drainage pipes, which in turn freezes and heaves the greens’ surface up several inches. Since water is not accumulating over the drain lines, that part of the green is staying at grade, as you can see in the photo. The heaved areas eventually come back to grade, but in the meantime, it makes it impossible to mow the greens and get them ready for the spring.

Photo submitted by David Phipps, GCSAA’s field staff representative in the Northwest. Jake Seabolt is superintendent at Moose Run Golf Course in Anchorage, Alaska, and an 18-year GCSAA member.

SeaDwarf paspalum putting green

Problem B: Dead turf and green turf in parallel lines

The dead turf and green turf in parallel lines are the result of snow mold damage. Last winter, the superintendent finished applying a preventative fungicide treatment for snow mold consisting of a four-way mix of chlorothalonil, iprodione, thiophanate methyl and tebuconazole, tank-mixed with a pigment. To run out the remaining liquid in the tank, it was applied to the 3-year-old nursery green until the tank ran dry. Continual snow cover over unfrozen ground endured in this area from Nov. 29 through April 14, which meant heavy disease pressure. This area, with the lines on the turf, is from where the last tank of preventative fungicide treatment ran out two-thirds of the way through the last pass. You can see where the nozzles sputtered at the end. This is a great test plot, showing the effectiveness of a good preventative program.

Photograph submitted by Vincent Dodge, CGCS, at Nemadji Golf Course in Superior, Wis., and a 33-year member of GCSAA.

Editor’s note: Have a photo of an on-course anomaly? GCM would love to have a look! Email it to Photo Quiz author John Mascaro.

John Mascaro is the president of Turf-Tec International.