Whistler Golf Club Snow Mold Trial Project


By Stuart Carmichael, Assistant Superintendent

This fall at the Whistler Golf Club we partnered up with the Western Canadian Turfgrass Association, Syngenta and TerraLink in a research project on the effect of snow mold on putting greens. It is not often that a golf course does not apply any fungicides on their greens going into the winter season. Due to our very exciting project of re sodding our greens this spring, it allowed us to try a variety of different ideas to control snow mold over the winter months.

However it did not take long before we saw Fusarium moving in; these pictures were taken on Oct 6th.


Over the next seven days we received just under 2” of rain with a average low of 6 degrees Celsius and an average high of 13 degrees Celsius. In the pictures below taken on Oct. 13th you can see how much more disease showed up under these conditions with no fungicide application.12.05.02-Whistlertrials3.jpg

By Oct 24th we were ready to put down the first application of the project. By this time we had received an additional 2” of rain with the average nightly temperature of 4 degrees Celsius and the average day time temperature of 13 degrees. From the picture below you can see even more disease had shown up.

12.05.02-Whistlertrials4.jpgWe picked three greens all with 6 plots on them. Plot 1 is the control with no product at all. Plot 2 received two applications of Instrata at the label rate of 9.5oz/1000sq ft Oct 24 and Nov 1, Plot 3 received two applications of phosphite at 4oz/1000sqft on Oct 24 and Nov 1. Plot 4 received 2 applications of Civitas plus harmonizer at 8oz/1000sqft with a half rate of Instrata at 5oz/1000sqft. On Oct 24 and Nov 1. Plot 5 received two applications of phosphite at 8oz/1000sqft on Oct 24 and Nov 1. Plot 6 we split into three sections. This plot only received only one application on Oct 24. In the first section we put down Instrata at the label rate of 9.5oz/1000sqft, the second section received 8 oz of phosphite/1000sqft and the third section received the Civitas plus harmonizer at 8oz/1000sqft with a half rate of Instrata at 5oz/1000sqft. The picture below shows the sixth plot split into three sections after the application on Oct 24.

12.05.02-Whistlertrials5.jpgOn Nov 10 we received enough snow on the golf course that we could not spray any more. From this date on the greens were covered in anywhere from 1 to 4 feet of snow for the duration of the winter.

By March 7th our first round of snow blowing the greens was complete. This is the first time we had seen any of the plots all winter.

12.05.02-Whistlertrials6.jpgThese photos below show turf conditions on the individual plots described above prior to plugs being taken.

12.05.02-Whistlertrials7.jpgPlot 2 - 9.5oz/1000sqft Instrata12.05.02-Whistlertrials8.jpgPlot 3 4oz/1000sqft phosphite12.05.02-Whistlertrials9.jpgPlot 4 8oz/100sqft Civitas plus Harmonizer with 5oz/1000sqft Instrata

12.05.02-Whistlertrials10.jpgPlot 5 8oz/1000sqft phosphite

12.05.02-Whistlertrials11Due to the greens re sodding project we did not have enough time to watch the plots green up on their own. On March 18th we brought in plugs from #8 green to a warm sunny location inside. By April 1st the plugs had already started to show signs of life.

12.05.02-Whistlertrials12The plugs on the far right are from the plot that was divided into three sections that only received one application . The plug at the top we put down Instrata at the label rate of 9.5oz/1000sqft, the middle plug received 8 oz of phosphite/1000sqft and the bottom plug received the Civitas plus harmonizer at 8oz/1000sqft with a half rate of Instrata at 5oz/1000sqft. 

12.05.02-Whistlertrials1312.05.02-Whistlertrials1412.05.02-Whistlertrials1512.05.02-Whistlertrials1612.05.02-Whistlertrials1712.05.02-Whistlertrials1812.05.02-Whistlertrials19The last pictures speak for themselves. Plug 2 showed us the best results for winter control with the quickest green up and the most dense turf. Plug 4 was a close second, a notable difference here was the growth spurt related to this plug as the turf started to green up there was more shoot growth than on plug 2. There really was not much difference between plug 1 the control and plug 3 the single rate of Phosphite. Plug 5 the double rate of phosphite did show a little more control over the control plug.

There was also not much difference between the plugs that received the two applications of product compared to the plugs that only received one. We only had short window of weather to get the applications down in the fall and by Nov 10th the rain had turned to snow and we were covered with snow the whole winter.

For more information on this project please contact Stu Carmichael at stu@whistlergolf.com.  The original article can be found at http://blog.whistlergolf.com/2012/05/02/wcta-project/

For more information on our resodding project visit the Whistler Golf Club You Tube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/theWhistlerGolfClub

The WCTA would like to thank Stu, Dave and the Whistler Golf Club for their efforts with this project.  Note that the opinions and conclusions expressed in this editorial material do not necessarily represent the views of the Association nor does this article reflect any endorsement by the WCTA of products used in the trial.