As most of our regular customers know, Hilldale is open for play whenever possible…even during the winter months occasionally. There are many instances in spring and fall when frost (that dirty word) is present on the grass surface and we have to delay play until the frost is gone. Most everyone is aware of this condition and subsequent delay, but few know why. Frost on the grass blades indicate that the water inside the leaves is frozen. Because water is the primary component of plant tissue, when it’s frozen is when traffic on the turf causes the ice crystals in the cells to puncture through the cell walls, killing the plant tissue. Little damage is done to the crowns (growing points) or roots if only a light frost appears; however, when the frost is heavy, cell disruption may occur at the crown, thus killing the entire plant. Frost damage symptoms include white to light tan leaves where traffic has passed. Obviously it’s best to avoid traffic until the frost melts.
Now when the soil is completely frozen to the surface but the grass blades have thawed, then limited foot traffic will create little damage, if any. Because there are many instances of this during the winter months, Hilldale is open at certain times (obviously snow or ice can not be present).
I’d like to thank everyone for their cooperation during the cold months as we try to find that balance: allowing traffic on the golf course but minimizing excessive and heavy traffic (carts must stay on paths). Thank you!